Walking your cat on a leash
Meowmies around the world have dedicated themselves to providing their cats with the best quality of life. This includes the satisfaction of their physical and mental needs that they consistently crave for, and what better way to do this than bringing them on frequent outdoor adventures?
That’s right! Those days of cats being indoor, stay-home pets are long gone. Cat owners are often seen bringing their furry companions out on exciting new adventures such as hiking activities!
You may be thinking of jumping on the bandwagon yourself but, to fully enjoy the experience for both you and your furry pal, he has to first learn how to walk well on a lead.
As it is with every type of training, cat leash training is easier when exposed to your cat at a young age, as kittens tend to be more receptive to training compared to adult cats.
Before you get all excited, owners have to take into consideration the personality of each of their cats and evaluate if they are suitable for leash walking. Cats that are too timid may not be a suitable candidate as the stress would cause them more harm than good.
An important point on cat leash training is to always start indoors before moving to the great outdoors. This helps your cat to adapt better to their harness and leash first as they are doing it in a familiar setting. If you were to start the training outdoors straightaway, they would be too overwhelmed with the different smells and distractions from the environment.
Besides the smells and distractions, outdoor conditions pose more threats and dangers to our furkid. Hence, it is vital for us to ensure that our cats have the following safety measures in check first before stepping out:
- Microchip and/or ID tag
- Flea & Tick prevention
- Core vaccinations are up to date
- Light weight cat harness and lead (of the right size!)
- Poop bag (in case he does his business outside)
*Word of caution*
Starting this activity might result in some unwanted behaviours like constant meowing at door or associating open door as an invitation to run out for a walk. So, remember to leash up and associate walks with a simple command. Or let your cat know that you are the one in-charge of the walk schedules by carrying her out and back in the house.
By now, it should be of common knowledge that cats are not big fans of change and get startled at the slightest sounds. Hence, we must make it a point to be patient with them throughout the whole process and start slow.
Without further ado, let’s begin the training!
- First place the harness on the floor and allow your cat to explore and sniff it. When comfortable with its presence, attempt to put it on your cat’s body loosely when he is doing something he enjoys like eating. (teehee) Remove it after a short while and slowly increase the duration while tightening to fit your cat’s body.
- Next step is to clip the leash on and hold loosely as she walks around. Or just let your cat drag the leash around but, make sure that it does not get caught in anything. Remember to reward good, calm behaviour with treats!
- When your cat has grown accustomed to the leash, try and get him to walk beside you by placing a treat at his nose level just a slight distance away. Wait for him to walk to it.
- After successfully luring him towards the treat to eat it, repeat Step 3 again. Take note that as his tummy fills, his willingness to cooperate fades. So, always keep the sessions short and treats in small quantities.
In the situation that your cat stops budging totally, or drops to the floor when the harness is placed on him, use treats to tempt him to get up. If all else fails, remove and leave the harness on floor in the area for a while and try again after. Ensure that there is plenty of treats on hand and his favourite interactive toy available to keep him distracted from the weight of the harness.
Keep in mind that cats are unlikely to walk on a leash properly like how most dogs do so, always be patient with them. Pick the right timing and location where it is most quiet and has less dangers (*ahem less kids and dogs) to start with and use a harness instead of a collar (they tend to slip off easily)!
Lastly, it is important to constantly monitor your cat’s stress levels and keep the training short, positive and fun!
Dont forget to check our Zolux’s awesome range of harness and leash here!