Cat Travel Guide: How to walk your cat on a leash?

Cat Travel Guide: How to walk your cat on a leash?

Adventure cat training 

Training your cat to walk on a leash can be a fun and rewarding experience for you both. Not only will your bond grow stronger but the world will open right up to your pet. 

Finding the right harness for your cat

To begin you may need to test various different styles of harness to find the type that's just right for your pet. 
There are strap harnesses (with little fabric), mesh harnesses and even coat harnesses. Each has different advantaged and disadvantages so make sure to speak with the supplier to ensure it's a good fit for your catventurer.
Collars are a good substitute but in most cases a harness will give you more control so we have based our guidance around this.  

Get your cat comfortable with their harness

The first step to introducing the harness is through socialisation.
We have a full blog on the principles of this, found here.
Applying the same ideas, gradually introduce the harness to your cat. Start with it in the same room and let them sniff/touch it in their own time. When they do so reward and repeat. Keep repeating until they're comfortable with you moving it around near them, reward and repeat. 
Harness training cats can be a lengthy process so stay patient. 
After awhile they should feel comfortable allowing you to put it on, if not, don't push it! Since this will create a negative association.

Use a long-line or extending cat lead

This is very important when you have a tree climber on your hands!

Take those first paw-ful steps outside

Once your cat is confident in their harness you can very, very easily introduce them to the outdoors (blog coming soon).
Practice makes perfect hear and like all training, don't rush it!

How to get cats to follow you

Build their confidence up outside so you're able to focus on their cat lead walking. Make sure you have some high-reward treats and practice getting them to follow you for treats. 
If they struggle with treats, try using dangly toys or perhaps even sticks! 
Find what works for your cat and practice, practice, practice. 
Most either love stinky treats (fish, cheese etc) or dragging sticks and long toys along in front of them to get them into chase mode. A squeaky toy or bell in your pocket can also help. Or having one member of the family ahead for them to follow.
Try to limit this to just their initial training however as you don't want to end up with a cat that will only follow/chase you when you have something to give.

Keeping cats on the trail 

Gradually phase out the tools once you see your cat is less-interested and beginning to feel more confident in exploring outside. Only use these tools in high-distracting environments or when you really need your cat to follow the path such as busy/slippy hikes. Drag toys and sticks infront of them to get them going and keep rewarding the positive behaviour.
Bear in mind cats are extremely inquisitive creatures and the honest truth is, they might not always want to follow the exact path. Sometimes they will much rather climb a tree or chase an insect - it's all part of the unique adventures you will have.  
Happy Travfurling!
The Travfurler Team 🐾

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