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Maybe you’ve been out and about and noticed a person walking their small dog and then realized, at second glance, that it wasn’t a dog at all but a cat. Is that person taking their cat on a walk? Can you walk a cat? Yes, you can walk a cat. But how is it possible? How does one train a cat to do that? If taking your cat on a walk strikes your fancy, you’ve come to the right place. Here’s our guide on how to train a cat to walk on a leash.
The Benefits of Taking a Cat for a Walk
Taking a cat for a walk is excellent exercise. It works their bones, muscles and minds and you might find that your feline gets a better workout on a walk than they do inside the house. Going outside stimulates all of their senses and can be great fun for cats who feel cooped up indoors. Walking your cat on a leash also doesn’t come with a lot of the downsides of having an outdoor cat. For instance, because your cat will be on a harness and leash, they won’t get lost.
How to Train a Cat to Walk on a Leash
First you need to know that not all cats are going to live up to your leash-training aspirations. Some cats simply don’t have the right disposition. Forcing them to go on a walk will be setting yourself up for failure and a mighty unpleasant experience for both you and your pet.
You can tell if you have a future-leash-trained cat by observing how they behave by the front door and windows. If you have a cat that shows lots of interest in going outside and tries to dash out the front door, then they might be a great candidate for going on a walk. However, cats that seem content simply staring out your windows or even fearful of the outdoors will likely not do well outside.
Take these steps when training your cat to walk on a leash:
- Always use a harness and leash for safety. Your cat should also wear a collar with an ID tag with your phone number. Also make sure your cat is microchipped.
- Use clicker training to get your cat used to wearing a harness without a leash in the house. This humane training method rewards your kitty for good behavior. Let your cat explore your house with the harness on so they get comfortable with the feel of it and accustomed to the sensation of you putting it on and taking it off of them. This process might take a while so be patient and use plenty of treats.
- Once your cat is comfortable with the harness, attach the leash. Let your cat walk you, instead of vice versa, around your house. Your cat should take the lead while you follow them.
- If your cat is okay with going on walks in the house, try going on a short walk outside. Let your cat lead the way. Only use gentle corrections with the leash if your cat heads toward somewhere undesirable like up a tree or into the street. A soft but firm tug on the leash will quickly redirect your cat.
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