Can you teach a cat to walk on a leash? And should you?
First, a Word of Warning
When we’re talking about walking a cat on a leash, you must use a harness with the leash. Never a collar. A cat can easily get out of a collar and run out in front of a car.
Always use a harness.
But back to the questions…
Yes, you can, and it’s actually a good idea to train your feline friend as early as possible.
Here are a few reasons why:
- When you can keep your cat on a leash, you can easily bring him with you almost everywhere.
- Driving a long trip in a car? In each break, you can take your cat outside to do his business. No smelly cabin.
- Your cat can enjoy being outside and still be in safety from wild cats and lose dogs, because you’ll be close, holding the leash.
We’ve taken our cats with us to a hotel (with the owners’ permission beforehand) and to a camping place where we rented a bungalow. They loved it.
We had funny incidents when walking the cats on our way to our holiday when a dog on a leash wanted to sniff that other “dog” – only to find out it was a cat.
And one cat came to fetch me when he wanted to go out and do his business.
So How Do You Teach Your Cat to Walk On a Leash?
Your first step is to put the harness on your cat.
He will most likely react to it and fall flat on his stomach, believing that he cannot walk with that horrible thing on.
Just let him be, or give him a treat. Tell him how nice he looks and what a good cat he is.
After a while, he’ll get used to wearing it and will walk around naturally.
Remove the harness and repeat the following days.
When he feels completely at ease when you put it on, it’s time for your next step.
Your second step
is to put the leash on the harness.
Stay inside with your cat. Just put the leash on and stay within an area he feels at home and safe in.
Walk him around a little, and let him guide you. He might refuse to move with the leash on, and that’s fine. Just give him time.
Repeat this exercise daily until he walks around freely with the harness and the leash on.
Now you can carefully take him outside.
Stay close to your home. Don’t push him – although a little dragging might be necessary.
Respect your cat. He will most likely walk closely to walls and bushes because it’s in his nature to hide and not be vulnerable out in the open.
Take him out for a small walk every day until he walks more freely and shows signs of being comfortable.
Once he’s reached that level of confidence, you can start taking him to places he hasn’t been before. And he should still feel confident. Because he’s close to you and he knows his harness and leash.