Walking home from work tonight I saw a girl talking to her friends. Nothing out of the ordinary about that except that she had her cat with her, on a leash!! Sooo cute!
That reminded me of the brief period of time that Mr. Bex and I had our first pet together, a red mackerel tabby named Mr. Peabody. We were trying to leash train him so that we could take him for walks around the block like a little puppy. Only he wasn't having it, I suppose he deemed it undignified for a cat to be led around on a leash like, ahem, a dog.
For those of you wanting to leash train your cat, here are a few helpful tips:
1. Buy a soft buckle collar or harness made specifically for felines. Buy a separate lightweight leash approximately 6' long, with a loop handle. Placing the loop over your wrist will help to prevent the dropping of the leash.
2. Trim your cat's toenails.
3. Begin training before your cat's regular meal time, when they're most receptive. If you feed your cat "free choice", take up its food for several hours prior to the training session, so she is hungry.
4. Allow the cat to smell the collar/harness.
5. Start in one safe, small room, with delicious tasty treats your cat loves. Put the collar or harness on the cat. (A small area will prevent a panicking cat from becoming lost in the house wearing its collar or harness for the first time.) The cat will probably do one of two things: sit very still, crouching low to the floor, or squirm in a frantic panic. Immediately give your cat his regular meal. Stay calm and don't interfere unless the cat seems like it will hurt itself. Repeat this several times a day so that it associates the sensation of the collar/harness with good things.
6. Allow the cat to walk (and lounge) freely in the harness for a time when you can supervise the cat, then take it off.
7. Repeat this process for however long it takes for your cat to feel comfortable.
8. Set a path through your home to walk after your cat gets used to the harness. This is essential if your cat has never been outside and you want to train it to walk with you before exposing it to the outdoors.
9. Clip on the leash. If you are using a harness, this is also a good time to watch and make sure the cat can't squeeze out of its harness -- they can be incredible contortionists. A well fitted collar is safer than a harness, as a cat cannot back out of a collar.
10. Let you cat walk around your home, following your cat as you hold the leash. Frequently reward your cat with delicious treats.
11. If you plan to walk your cat off your property, choose a route on which to walk the cat outside, and walk it solo for the first few times to see if it's also a route used by dog walkers. Being confronted with a dog may cause your cat to panic and escape, so it's important to try to prevent this. You can also prepare a cat carrier to bring on your walks and so that you can secure the cat in it if you see a dog coming your way. A pillow case also makes a great emergency cat carrier. Carry human breath spray with you. Dogs and other cats hate this safe but strong smelling spray.
12. Leave the front door open and start making your walks gradually further in that direction. Guide your cat, (don't pull), to the door.
13. Take your cat outside for 5 minute increments, 3-5 times a day, gradually increasing the amount of time outside. Call the cat as you walk it and be consistent in where you walk the cat each time. Eventually the cat will become familiar with the process, but you must be patient.
14. Give the cat treats during your walk and as soon as you get home, and eventually your cat will love going for a walk.
2 years ago