6 Tips for Leash Training Your Cat

6 Tips for Leash Training Your Cat

The safest place for a pet cat is indoors. In fact, indoor cats have been proven to live longer, healthier lives than their outdoor counterparts. But some felines just have that overwhelming urge to explore the great outdoors. How can you indulge your kitty while making sure he or she is safe? Simple. Leash train them. It’s a challenging task, but it’s not impossible if you follow these 6 tips from your Snohomish veterinarian.

Use the Right Gear – When it comes to walking cats, traditional collars won’t work because if the cat tries to escape, say up a tree or into a small crevice, they could easily get choked. A walking jacket or harness designed specifically for cats is your best bet. It’s safer, more comfortable for your cat, and provides you much more control as you’re walking. Your Snohomish veterinarian can provide a recommendation.

Scope Out the Area – Before you even set out on your first attempted walk, make sure the area where you plan to go will not feature any surprises, like off-leash dogs. You want your cat to gain confidence as he or she gets used to walking on a leash, so make sure you work in a safe environment.

Start with a Hungry Cat – Most cats will cooperate if they are rewarded with treats, so start off with a hungry feline and divide up the treats into smaller portions. Use them sparingly, because chances are, once your cat gets full, he or she will stop working.

Begin Slow – Your cat will likely not take to a harness right off the bat. It’s a slow process that takes time and patience. The first time you put the harness on, immediately reward your cat with a treat. Follow it up with a reward for each step your cat takes. The moment your kitty begins to seem frustrated or overwhelmed, remove the harness and give a treat. Repeat the process until your cat begins to get used to the harness and starts to cooperate.

Set Individual Goals – Successfully leash training a cat often happens in steps. Each day, set a new goal for where and how far you will walk with your cat. As he or she masters each area, you’ll be ready to move on to the next goal.

Brace Yourself for Setbacks – Don’t expect your cat to immediately catch on, or to never run into any issues during training. If something happens that spooks your cat, go back to the last place where your cat felt confident and start again. Avoid picking your kitty up, which will undo all of your hard work.

Leash training your cat can open up a whole new world for your feline companion. By following these tips and working with your Snohomish veterinarian, your cat will be able to enjoy the great outdoors safely.

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