My cats love to be outside, but without the leash they will both take off running for the hills. They are fine as long as they go where they want to, but making them go where I want, is a whole other story, which usually ends in one of them flopping down and refusing to move!
Here’s some easy steps to get your cat to enjoy walking on a leash.
What you will need: an H-shaped harness that will comfortably fit your cat, a lightweight leash, and your kitty’s favorite treats.
For the first couple of days, you will just want to put the harness in an area that your cat frequents, such as near her food bowl or bed. This will allow her time to get use to the harness.
After a few days, try putting the harness on your cat. Immediately give her treats so she forgets about the harness being there and praise her. After she finishes her treats, let her walk around in the harness to get used to the feel of it. Distract her with a game or toys if she seems uncomfortable. When your kitty relaxes, remove the harness.
Repeat until your cat is comfortable just being in the harness. Next, attach the leash to the harness and let you cat drag it around. Keep an eye on her to make sure the leash doesn’t get caught up on anything. Play a game of follow with your kitty’s teaser wand and when she walks praise her and give her a treat.
When your cat is comfortable with both the leash and the harness, it’s time for you to pick up the leash. Keep the leash slackened and walk around behind her as she goes about her business. Don’t restrict her movement, but just follow her. You’ll want to do this for a few days until your cat is comfortable with the idea of you following her around.
Now it’s time to get your cat to go where you want her to go. Encourage her to follow you with praise and treats. (Note: in no way will walking your cat be like walking your dog!) Allow your cat to wander, but don’t pull or jerk her on the leash this can scare her and throw your training in a tailspin. When she reaches the end of the leash, she will either come in your direction or just plop down on the ground. This step may take the longest for your kitty to get the hang of, so be patient and always reward the behavior you want with praise and treats.
Once your kitty has mastered walking on the leash indoors, it’s time to head to the great outdoors! If your cat has never been outside allow her to take her time getting used to the sights and sounds. When she is relaxed, you can try going for your first outdoors walk. Allow her to explore, chase leaves and have a good time basking in the sun.