4 Steps to Learn to Walk Your Cat on a Leash
All cat owners would like to see their little fur ball follow them on a short walk. And many house cats would like to discover the outdoors for their own good.
Did you know that it is quite possible to teach your cat to walk around on a leash to get some fresh air? But a cat outside doesn't behave like a dog, he'll prefer to hide, climb trees.
Learning to walk on a leash requires a lot of sensitivity and patience. In the following, you will find all our tips and tricks to walk your cat on a leash without breaking your head, and especially, without traumatizing him.
Walking your cat on a leash: a long learning curve
Because of the cat's nature, a walk on a leash with him is an activity that must not only be well prepared in advance, but also requires a lot of patience. Some cats even develop an extraordinary walking ability worthy of a dog.
Kitten walking in a parkIn fact, in order to avoid doing more harm than good to your little feline, you must first carefully select the equipment that will be used for the ride, including a harness and leash. Then, you will need to familiarize yourself with these equipments.
Finally, the most difficult and which will require a lot of patience: you must gradually get your little ball of hair used to going outdoors. Needless to say, you will have to go gradually, at your cat's pace, without trying to force or pressure him.
Of course, don't forget to reward him with a treat every time he behaves well. You will have understood it well, it is a long process!
How to learn to walk your cat in 4 steps
To be able to walk your cat without too many difficulties, it is important to respect and apply these 4 steps with patience and gentleness:
1. Choose a harness and a good leash
Compared to the collar that could cause pussy injuries if it pulls on it or wants to get rid of it, the ideal is to opt for a cat harness. Attached to your cat to hold it over most of its body, the harness evenly distributes the tension of the leash, limiting the risk of over-panic and then injury.
As for the leash, choose a model long enough so that the cat can move easily and feel free, start with a leash of at least 1.2 metres and then extend to a maximum of 5 metres if the cat is well used to it.
2. Get the cat used to harnessing
The ideal approach is to create visual, tactile and olfactory contact between the cat and the leash harness. To do this, leave the harness and leave it in the places your cat frequents, so that he can see them, smell them, play with them and soak up his scent.
Thereafter, it will be necessary to put the harness on so that he gets used to the presence of the latter on him. Attach the harness to your cat for a few minutes or even 1 hour (depending on how he reacts to wearing the harness) per day, for several days, preferably when he is relaxed. Feel free to reward him, which will further enhance his ability to get used to the harness on him.
Once your little feline is used to the harness, you can add the leash. As you go gradually and patiently, let him move as he wishes, until he gets completely used to the presence of the leash.
3. Start in a quiet place
With your cat familiar with the harness and leash, it's time to move on to the initiation to walking. For a start, start in a quiet place like your verandah, then in the garden or yard of the building, etc.... The goal is to gradually familiarize your little feline with the outside world while protecting it from noisy areas, because the slightest unusual noise it will face could terrorize it and traumatize it for life. And because of that, he'll never want to go outside again.
4. Increase the time and number of walks
Once your cat is well acquainted with the outdoors, you can gradually increase the time, number of walks and places to go for a walk. For example, you can evolve from one 5-minute walk per week to 3 15-minute walks per week.
2 golden rules to avoid frustrating the cat during the walk
The worst case scenario would be for your cat to be terrorized, or even traumatized for life, and no longer dare to walk outside. Thus, here are 2 rules to respect to avoid such a situation:
Do not force him to move forward and out
Not yet used to the outdoors, the cat may show some reluctance to leave the house or once outdoors, it does not move forward and remains to be observed around it.
Just don't force him, because if he gets scared after an event on his first outing, he will fully integrate this frustrating event, and know it, he will no longer repeat it as easily or as easily and will prefer to stay in his corner at home, despite your efforts.
Never pull the leash.
As the cat is an independent animal, he will never appreciate it if you pull the leash to impose a direction on him. This will only create kitty's frustration and push her to rebel.
Moreover, if any element causes panic in your cat and he gets agitated, do not pull the leash to direct him towards you, because he will be totally lost between the element that makes him panic and you who pull him in your direction against his will. Instead, take him in your arms and caress him to reassure him, and once calm, put him down again and go back on the road.