Train Your Cat to Walk on a Leash

Getting out of the house for a walk is a great way to bond with your pet. However, it isn’t just dogs who can join in on the fun. Cats can also learn to walk with a leash. This can be a great way to get some exercise for you and your cat. It can also help them to explore the world outside a bit more, even if they’re an indoor cat. So why don’t you see more cats walking around on leashes? Most people don’t take the time to teach their cat how to walk on a leash. While slightly more difficult than getting a dog to walk with you, training your cat to walk on a leash is far from a hard task.

cat on a leash

It will take some time to train a cat to walk on a leash. It doesn’t go quite as quickly as training a dog to walk on a leash. Cat training in general requires more patience. However, once they’ve mastered it they have much wider horizons. Your cat will be able to go out and explore safely, and you can go with them as a bonding exercise. While training them might take some time, it is a small commitment given how much use a cat will get out of this skill.

One thing to keep in mind is that not every cat is going to enjoy venturing out into the outdoors on a leash. Some cats may react badly to being on a harness and leash. They can freak out a bit in face of the lack of control. Some might find the walks less fun than just exercising at home. However, it is worth trying it out with your cat to figure out if they’ll enjoy learning how to walk on a leash.

What Cats Can Learn to Walk on a Leash?

When it comes to teaching a trick to a dog, you can start when they’re young.  A similar principle applies when you’re trying to  each something to a cat. Teaching them a certain behaviour while they’re young will make it easier for them to learn. However, it can be harder to train a kitten since they have a short attention span. If your kitten is getting distracted playing, make sure to keep the training to short bursts. A kitten is going to be more open to trying new things like walking. However, they’re also more distracted.

Teaching a cat how to walk on a leash doesn’t just suit kittens though. You can also do it with an adult cat. With an adult cat, you need to figure out if your cat is going to enjoy actually walking on a leash. Not all cats do. To do this, just go through with the training and watch their reactions. Take it slow and stop the training session whenever your cat is getting annoyed with the process. That doesn’t necessarily mean they won’t enjoy a walk. They might just be frustrated at the learning process.

Most cats can learn how to walk on a leash. You’ll just need to adjust how you do the training to account for their patience for learning tricks.

How to Teach a Cat to Walk on a Leash

how to teach a cat to walk on a leash

Teaching a cat how to walk on a leash has to be done in a few steps. Unlike a dog, they’ll need some extra care given to make sure they’re comfortable with the process. These are the steps you need to do:

Get Your Cat Used to the Harness

To walk on a leash, a cat is going to need to be on a harness to connect the leash to. This is a better way to walk them than by attaching the leash directly to a collar. A harness allows your cat to move more freely. A collar will cause them pain if they pull on the leash and have the collar pull back on their necks. Find a harness that is made for a cat too. These will be thinner and lighter than one for a dog.

First introduce, the harness to your cat. Allow them to sniff it, investigate, and even play with it a little bit. This will get them used to the harness and the way that it looks. From here, try to put the harness on the cat.

Allow them to move around in their harness by themselves for a while. This will get them used to the sensation of being inside of a harness. It can be strange for a cat to begin with, so this step is important. Start with the harness quite loosely attached. This will get them used to it without restricting their movement too much as they move around. Over time, tighten the cat’s harness and allow them to get accustomed to that.

If your cat doesn’t seem to be enjoying having the harness on, remember to take this slowly. Take them out of the harness quite quickly at first and try to build them up. This might take some time with older cats. Being restricted like this isn’t the most natural thing for a cat. Take your time, and allow them to become confident when wearing the harness in the first place.

Attach a Leash to the Harness

The next step is quite similar to getting them used to a harness. Unfortunately, your cat still isn’t ready to be let loose on the outside world! First, you have to get your cat used to having a leash attached to your harness.

how to teach a cat to walk on a leash

Attach the leash to the harness while the cat is wearing it. However, don’t start leading your cat around with a leash just yet. Instead, leave it just attached and dangling for a while, allow your cat to get comfortable with it.

From here, the next step is to hold the leash yourself! Don’t use the leash to lead your cat around though. Instead, allow your cat to lead you around. Try to not to apply much pressure that might pull your cat. Instead, get them used to having you following them with the lead tethered to their harness.

As your cat gets used to this, it will better prepare them for actually walking with the leash. Try this out with your cat. Walk them around with the leash by only lightly lead them. Over time, your cat should become used to this. This step might take longer to train your cat to do fully than getting them used to a harness. Each step will likely take a while before your cat co-operates fully. If they’re getting annoyed at the process, give them a break for a bit. This might take a while, but your cat isn’t going to learn how to walk on a harness if they’re annoyed with you.

Take a First Trip Outside

how to teach a cat to walk on a leash

Now that your cat is used to being led around, the last step is to take them outside. However, you have to do a bit more prep work to make sure it all goes well. This is what you need to do:

Where to Take Your Cat

The destination for the first walk you take with your cat is important. It needs to be somewhere that won’t overwhelm them. Think about the amount of people who are likely to be around. Too many could be too much for your pet. Equally, try to avoid places with a lot of dogs. Many dogs don’t get on great with cats, and could make your pet’s first walk into something more frightening than it should be.  You should avoid bad weather too. Cats don’t really like the rain, and this could make the walk less enjoyable.

The first walk with your cat shouldn’t be too long. It can be overwhelming for a cat, so try to keep things short. You can build up the length of time your walks go for over time. Start short so you can make sure your cat has a good time, increase the length over time.

When Walking Your Cat

Walking your cat might not go as smoothly as originally planned. Various problems can arise, but if you’re prepared for them then your cat can still have fun on their walk. Take them away from areas that have too many people or animals, as these can be stressful. If your cat seems overwhelmed, then take them home.

Some cats might not enjoy the walks. Give them a few tries and try to take them out for more peaceful and calm walks. Some cats still won’t enjoy the walks though, so don’t force them to walk if they don’t want to.

Is It Hard to Teach a Cat to Walk on a Leash?

how to teach a cat to walk on a leash

It isn’t too difficult to teach your cat how to walk on a leash. However, it will take some time and quite a bit of patience. The important thing is to make sure that your cat is comfortable with everything that happens. Keep their comfort and fun in mind to make sure that they’re enjoying the walks. If your cat likes going outdoors, then you and your cat have a fun new hobby at the end of the training process.

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