Train Your Cat to Walk on a Cat Harness and Lead
Cat leash walking is a recent trend for our felines, well its not that new now. Many people have been doing this since 2017/2018.
Training your cat to walk on a cat harness and lead is not easy but this article should help you to get started. Cats are notorious for not wanting to wear clothes so why would they want to wear a leash? For many people, this seems like an impossible task and they might feel like quitting on the idea of having an adventure cat.
Harness Training a Cat: The Challenges of Adventure Cat Training
This beginners guide will show you how to train a cat to walk on a leash. This task is like anything in life with pets, if you start them from a young age, you may have a chance at success. My aim is to provide you with the steps needed to train your cat to venture out with you on a leash for the adventure of their life. ✔️
Here is Nugget. Nugget had an amazing little story with his owners and now he is a dream to walk with. Find out more about him here
Something to keep in mind:
You wouldn't get a puppy and keep them in the house for three years and then just decide one day to throw a harness on them and expect them to calmly walk along with you. You get them used to the harness, you positively reinforce behaviour in a safe enclosed environment, until you progressively arrive at a point where walking on a cat harness is quite normal just the same as you do with a pet dog.
Why is cat leash walking becoming popular?
It is a trend that is picking up speed and for good reason. Keeping any creature confined with little stimulation is unhealthy. As more and more people are treating dogs as one of the family and are incorporating them into their daily routines and activities people are starting to wander why cats should be any different. They are one of the family after all.
A few things to consider before walking a cat on a leash
- Are they the right age? Being too old and set in their ways may not be the best recipe for an adventure cat.
- Are you capable of being patient and persistent with training? Just like with dogs, it takes time to train them too.
- Are you willing to lay out a little cash for some necessities? The most comfortable best cat harness, a cat GPS tracker, a cat pet ID tag and cat treats?
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.
How to Get a Cat to Walk on Leash
Find the Right Cat Harness
The first step to walking a cat on a leash is to test various different styles of harness to find the the easiest cat harness to put on that's just right for your pet. There are strap harnesses (with little fabric), mesh harnesses and even coat harnesses. Each has different advantages 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. The most important point to take from this is to ensure they are comfortable with whatever you choose.
Then, ensure that you use a long line or extending cat lead which is very important when you have a tree climber on your hands!
Introduce the Cat Harness to Your Cat Slowly
Next, when training a kitten to wear a harness, introduce it to them through socialisation. 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 a while they should feel comfortable allowing you to put it on, if not, don't push it! Since this will create a negative association.
Also consider the following:
- • Routine is key - Prepare a routine for when to take them out.
- • Nerves - Cats can easily be spooked, build trust and confidence with them for when they are by your side. Use cat calming treats to help with this process.
- • Patience - You will need plenty of it to get exceptional results
Introduce Them to the Outdoors
Once your cat is confident in their harness you can very easily introduce them to the outdoors starting with small garden walks through to quiet areas and slowly open up the environments to them over time. Practice makes perfect, and like all training, don't rush it!
Walk, Reward and Repeat
After you build up their confidence outside, you will be 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. However, If they struggle with treats, try using dangly toys or perhaps even sticks!
There is a repeating pattern here - Find what works for your cat and practice, practice, practice.
Utilise Stinky Treats
Most cats either love stinky treats (fish, cheese etc) or like you 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.
Bring Friends and Family for Extra Persuasion
You can then try 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.
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.
Explore and Enjoy the World With Your Newly 'Trained to Walk Cat'
Finally to conclude, you can now gradually phase out the tools you used to help entice them and once your cat is less-interested and beginning to feel more confident you can really start to explore the outdoors together. You have now completed your training in developing your travel cat.
Thank you for taking an interest in training your cat to walk on a leash.
The Travfurler Team 🐾