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Updated by junkmailh on Oct 05, 2017
Headline for Petland: 8 Steps to Training Your Cat to Walk on a Leash
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Petland: 8 Steps to Training Your Cat to Walk on a Leash

If you've been on any form of social media this year you know one of the top trends of 2017 is cat walking- no not on a runway, but on a leash! It looks fun, but it's not really as easy as it seems. Teach your cat to go on a walk with these 8 easy steps.
The best time to introduce your cat to a harness and leash is as a kitten, but fear not, with patience older cats can learn too. Training your cat to walk on a leash has benefits for both you and your pet; it can reduce the chances of them running off during doctor visits or trips, provide exercise for you both and may help reduce symptoms of boredom. Training your cat is a bonding experience and in the end it’s a great pay off.

1

Find a Harness That is a Comfortable Fit

Find a Harness That is a Comfortable Fit

Ok this one is obvious. But, the harness needs to be adjustable and comfortable or your cat will not put up with it.

2

Introduce the Harness to Your Cat

Introduce the Harness to Your Cat

Give your cat an incentive to become familiar with the leash- that means treats! You can leave the harness by your cat’s food dish and practice putting it on without fastening it. Reward your kit cat with a treat afterwards to make it a positive experience.

3

Try it on For a Size

Try it on For a Size

After familiarizing your kitty with the harness, practice putting it on. Dr. Kat Miller, director of ASPCA anti-cruelty behavior research, recommends to, “Put the harness on right before mealtime, so that the dinner distracts him from the new sensation and keeps him from focusing on removing it.”

Next, fasten the harness and make adjustments so you are able to fit one to two fingers under the harness. There should be no more slack than this or else your cat could escape! Reward your cat with a treat and repeat for a few days. If he seems uncomfortable or upset, distract him with food and take it off. Try again later with a different treat and leave the harness on for a shorter amount of time.

You cat is likely to find the harness really weird at first, they might freeze up or roll on their backs. Be patient and keep pushing treats.

4

Attach the Leash

Attach the Leash

Find an adjustable leash for your kitters. Don’t put the leash on outside, instead attach it to the harness inside your house and let your cat walk around with the leash trailing behind. Sometimes a slack leash will be more comfortable for cats at first, however this can make some cats nervous. So pay attention to how your cat responds and use your best judgement.

Next, try holding the leash and walking with your cat. At first, you cat will most likely be uncomfortable with you pulling the leash, so stay patient. Once your cat seems used to your holding the leash, try guiding him/her. Reinforce this with treats and calling your cat’s name.
The most important thing is time! Give your kit cat plenty of time to try out the leash inside, repeat over a few days. And again, keep the treats coming.

5

Head Outside!

Head Outside!

If you have a backyard, that’s the best place to start. You may not even try to go past the deck the first time you head outside. Carry your cat outdoors. It is important to carry your cat so he/she will not get used to running out the door by itself. If you do not have a backyard, find a quiet place with minimal traffic and people. Stay close to your pet and keep the leash slack. Don’t try to pull on the leash and guide your pet. Whether your cat is used to the outdoors or not, your cat will probably be slow to explore at first. Don’t force your cat to adventure if he/she is not ready.

6

Be Patient

Be Patient

Remember; your cat isn’t a dog, so walking your kit cat will be different. Cats may not go on long walks and might decide to lounge in a sunspot instead.

7

Keep the Treats Coming!

Keep the Treats Coming!

It is important to reward your cat and you may have an easier time training your cat if they are hungry. Cats respond better to a rewards-based system whereas dogs have a better time listening to commands.

8

Repeat

Repeat

Training your cat to walk takes time and repetition, so keep at it!