Leash Training Your Cat ~ Yes, It Can Be Done!
Author, Professional Pet Sitting Etc.
How nice would it be to take a leisurely stroll with your cat walking by your side? And how much would your cat enjoy being able to take in all the sights and sounds he normally sees and hears only through his favorite window from the safety of his home? You and your cat can enjoy the niceties of an outdoor walk simply by training him to walk on a leash. Contrary to popular belief, yes, it CAN be done! Now, you know your cat better than anyone, so if you suspect your cat will scoff at the idea of wearing a harness and walking while attached to a leash, you’re probably right. But it can’t hurt to try!
First Things First
Purchase a well-fitting harness for your favorite feline. A collar is not advisable as cats are known for their flexibility and can easily slip out of a collar, especially a safety collar. With a harness, it will be easier to attach a leash and, when fitted properly, can be quite comfortable for your cat. Besides, a harness offers greater safety for your cat in the even he decides to run up a tree as it won’t choke him like a standard collar will. There are harnesses designed especially for cats with the ring to attach the leash located closer to the center of the harness rather than at the neck, which is safer and less stressful for your cat.
The Basic Steps to Leash Training Your Cat
- Don’t go out and buy a harness and leash, rush home and put it on your cat right away. Give him time to adjust to the contraption. Let him play with it for a while first so he can get accustom to it. Obviously, don’t let him play with it so much that it gets damaged, but enough to give him the chance to become unafraid of the harness so he’ll be more accepting when you go to put it on him.
- Place the harness loosely on your kitty and see how he reacts to it. If he is willing, tighten the harness appropriately, attach the leash and practice walking your cat around your house. This will help him become comfortable wearing the harness and acquaint him to the feeling of the leash.
- When you feel confident your cat is doing well and is comfortable walking in his harness and leash, take him outside for a walk. Let him set the pace, as it may be daunting for an otherwise indoor kitty to suddenly be outside. If he shies away from any step, simply go back and try again.
- Be patient! Don’t rush it! Your cat may experience a flood of emotions while learning to walk outdoors on a leash. For example, he may be frightened and freeze in place at first or, to the contrary, he may get overly excited, go hog wild and take off running. As the saying goes, all good things take time!
As anyone who is owned by a cat will know, they differ from dogs in that they do what they want, when they want, and how they want. But if you and your kitty can work together to perfect his leash walking skills, he will surely thank you for the outdoor experiences with extra special purrs, kitty kisses and eternal love!
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About the Owner and Professional Pet Sitting Etc
Dorinne Whynott, is a long time animal professional. She is a successful business owner establishing one of the largest pet sitting companies in New Hampshire since 1990. Click to Read her complete History.
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