Walking cats on a leash is not something many people are familiar with, but it is a growing trend. Furthermore, more people are finding that teaching their pet to walk this way allows them to spend more time together. Just as dog owners can take their fur babies for day trips to the beach or to the mountains, cat lovers are now discovering a way that they can do it as well.
However, before you put a cat harness on your pet and head for the hills, there is much to think about first. The good folk at Voyager Harness say that walking on a leash does not come naturally for cats, and they do need to get used to it before you venture outside. They say that while it is best to train a cat to walk in a harness and leash from a young age, you can train older cats to be comfortable in them.
Training Your Cat
While dogs can usually be trained to walk outside of the home, it is preferable to get your cat used to it indoors before you even consider heading outside. This is because cats can be quite skittish, and they often flee when they become frightened. A loud sound or an approaching dog could be enough to send the cat running. If connected to a leash when this happens, it could easily result in an accident.
You also need to be aware that cats generally do not like having things put over their heads. So it makes sense to get your cat used to the harness before you attempt to put it on her. To do this, all you need to do is leave the harness lying around and allow her to smell it and move it about if she wishes. If you put it close to her bed, she will soon get used to the smell and will not be fearful of it.
When you attempt to put the harness on her the first time, it is a good idea to have treats to hand. Distracting her with these treats may enable you to get the harness over her head without too much resistance. Leave it on her for a couple of minutes and then remove it, all the while praising her and giving her treats. Continue placing the harness on her every day for a couple of weeks, increasing the length of time you leave it on each time.
When she is used to the harness, attach the leash and let her pull it around. Once she is comfortable with this, you can start walking her about the house with the leash.
When the time is ready to take your cat outside, you should be prepared to take things very slowly. Stay close to your home initially and be alert to dangers or things that may have your pet on edge. If you see a dog coming or notice that your cat has sensed something and seems fearful, pick her up. Start off with a couple of minutes outside. If your cat seems to enjoy it, you can extend the walk each time.
Walking a cat is something that you might be considering. If so, it is important that you train the cat to wear a harness attached to a leash. Remember, not all cats will enjoy walking on a leash, so if your cat seems overly stressed in a harness you should not force her to wear it. Some cats simply prefer to be indoors.