How to Train a Cat to Walk On a Leash
Is your indoor kitty desperate to see the outdoor world? Do you wish you could bring him or her along on big adventures or maybe just a quick walk around the block? Well, you can! Just like dogs, cats can be taught to walk on a leash. All you need is a well-fitting harness, a leash, some treats, and lots of patience!
Steps to Train a Cat to Walk On a Leash
The first step to training your kitty is to introduce them to the harness. When you’re putting the harness on for the first time, lure your cat’s head through it using a treat. Once they are comfortable having the harness on their head you can clip it up.
Your cat may panic when you put the harness on for the first time. They’re not used to the feeling just yet. Let them wear the harness around the house, giving them plenty of treats and praise. Start by leaving the harness on for just a few minutes.
Gradually increase the amount of time your kitty is wearing their harness until you can leave it on for a few hours. Remember not to leave your cat unsupervised with their harness on in case they get stuck on something.
Now it’s time to attach the leash. For the first couple of days, you don’t want to put any pressure on the lead. Just clip it on and follow your cat around the house. This will get them used to the feeling of walking with you on the leash. Give your kitty plenty of treats throughout the whole process and only do a couple of short training sessions a day.
Once your cat is comfortable wearing the lead, you can start to apply some tension to it. Gently pull your cat towards you while holding out a treat. Make sure to teach your kitty to calmly respond to lead pressure from every direction. They should be 100% comfortable with the harness and lead pressure before you bring them outside.
Once you and your cat are happy with the harness, it’s time to face the great outdoors! Start in a quiet, safe area that your cat is familiar with such as your back garden. Lure your kitty out with some treats and let them sniff the area. Repeat the above steps to get your cat used to lead pressure outdoors. They could be very distracted at first, so be patient.
Over time, you can introduce your kitty to new places. This can include your local park, the beach, or maybe a hike in the mountains. As always, keep calm and patient with your cat. Felines aren’t natural explorers like us and they may need a little more time to adjust to new experiences. Bringing a pack of treats along is a great way to encourage your kitty to walk when they’re unsure.
Train Your Cat to Walk On a Leash: Quick Step-by-Step Guide
- Get your cat comfortable wearing a harness indoors.
- Attach the leash and follow your cat around the house without putting pressure on the lead.
- Gently pull your cat towards you, luring them with a treat.
- Reward and praise every time they come towards you.
- Repeat steps 2-4 in a safe and quiet outdoor area, using treats as needed.
- Over time, introduce your cat to more distracting situations (parks, beaches, etc.).
How Long Does It Take to Train a Cat to Walk On a Leash?
Training your cat to walk on a leash can take a long time, depending on your cat’s personality and age. The earlier you can start training your cat, the better. Kittens will generally get used to the harness quickly and are more open to new experiences. If you train your cat to walk on a leash when they are very young, they could be just like a dog on walks!
It could take your cat some time to be comfortable wearing their harness. Felines hate feeling trapped and harness can sometimes make them panic. Some cats will desperately try to wriggle free while others will freeze until the harness is taken off. If this happens, hand your kitty some treats and take the harness off as soon as they relax. It may take a few weeks, but eventually, they will look forward to putting the harness on because they know treats are on the way!
Training cats can be frustrating at times, especially if your cat is very lazy and aloof. If you have been trying to train your kitty to walk on the leash for a long time, but don’t seem to be making any progress, consider taking a step back. Some cats need time to process what they have learned. Going back a step or two could be just the trick you need to advance their training.
Clicker training is an excellent tool to speed up your cat’s training or to help them understand leash training a little better. The basis of clicker training is to teach your cat to associate a particular sound with getting a treat. You don’t need a store-bought clicker to clicker train your cat. You can use anything from a hand clap to a click of a pen to teach your kitty.
Once your cat learns that the sound (or click) means they will get a treat, you can use the click to mark behaviors you want your feline to do. For example, when leash training you could click as soon as your cat starts to walk towards you as you pull on the lead. Or, if you’re only starting out, you could click when your cat puts his or her nose through the harness. If you and your cat are struggling with leash training, using a clicker could be the secret to teaching your precious kitty this useful skill.
Can All Cats Be Trained to Walk on a Leash?
In most cases, the answer is yes. However, some cats may struggle a lot during training. Very nervous kitties could panic a lot when you put the harness on. In the end, these cats might not even like going outdoors because it’s too scary. If your cat gets anxious often, you should consider if walking on the leash is right for them.
Safety is of the utmost importance when bringing your cat on a walk. As such, you must make sure that your cat’s harness is 100% secure and that they can’t slip out of it. If you’re the owner of a three-legged kitty (a tripod, as they’re sometimes known), you will have a hard time finding a harness that they can’t break free from.
Why Should I Train My Cat to Walk On a Leash?
Walking with your cat should be a fun and exciting experience for both you and your furry friend. There are several benefits you can both gain from learning this skill. Any owner of an indoor cat knows how much they long to explore the outdoors. These kitties will spend hours staring longingly out the window. Unfortunately, not all cats can be let outside to wander.
Bringing your indoor kitty on walks will help scratch their itch for adventure. It also comes with the added bonus of keeping you and your cat fit and healthy with regular walks. Once your feline learns to enjoy his or her time outdoors, they won’t be shy about reminding you that you are 0.0001 seconds late for their daily walkies!
Bringing your kitty outside on a leash could also help you save money on litter! Some cats might be too shy to go to the toilet in an unfamiliar outdoor place but they can be taught. Let your cat explore and sniff around any patches of soil they come across on their walks. If you’re lucky, they might just squat down for a quick toilet break. When they do, make sure to give them lots of praise and treat if you have one. This will encourage them to go again on your next walk together.
The best thing about bringing your cat on walks is the confidence they can gain. Felines are nervous animals by nature and don’t like exploring new places. But with time, your leash-trained kitty will become more and more comfortable being in unfamiliar places and having new experiences. They will be more relaxed at home and will make any major life changes like moving house much easier for them.
Now you know everything you need to know about leash training your cat. If that all sounds exciting you should start teaching your kitty as soon as possible, you won’t regret it!