Leash Training Your Cat
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If you want to help your cat get some fresh air but are worried that somebody might steal them? I have had the same problem with my cat Dukey. He would claw at the door trying to escape until, I decided to try to leash train him. Here are the tips I learned while training Dukey!
Training your Cat and Putting On the Harness
A lot of indoor cats will be afraid of the outdoors at first so a gentle first introduction is probably for the best. If your cat is food driven, you might want to bring some treats to help them along. Eventually, your cat will walk willingly. It’s best to start leash training while your cat is young because they will be more willing to incorporate walking into their routine.
Sometimes it can be hard to find the right leash for your cat. A retractable leash might be a tempting option; however, they break easily, tangle often, and can give your cat rope burns. A dog leash is fine, but they are often too big for a cat harness. A small bungee leash is the best option because they have a little bit of stretch and are stronger than normal leashes.
On a walk, a cat can often easily get out of a collar, so it is best to get a cat harness. My cat uses a Velcro figure-eight harness because of its easy adjustability and comfort for Dukey. You can’t have a harness too lose, but you also can’t have a harness too loose. The best tightness is loose enough to fit two fingers in, but not so loose that it moves while your cat walks. If your cat doesn’t like using the harness give him an incentive of food if they put their head through the head hole. If your cat is clawing and struggling and won’t stop, then do not force the gear on your cat, instead try again after you have both calmed down
Adjusting Your Cat to the Harness and Leash
Once you get the gear on your cat, it is best that they feel comfortable. The best way to get your cat used to the new harness is to let your cat wear it around the house. Again, provide treats to your cat while they are in the jacket to help them adjust to the harness. Now that your cat is comfortable with the harness, try connecting the leash to the harness and let them wonder around for a bit, and you can follow them to make sure they won’t get tangled around anything which will make your cat comfortable with you following them, the same way it will be on a walk.
The next step after your cat is comfortable is to actually go outside.
First Time Outside
Your cat’s first excursion should be somewhere close to home, like the front or backyard, if that’s not a good option, then just try for somewhere quiet and secluded. For the first time, just let your cat explore, they want to smell that bush, sure, they want to roll in the grass, ok, they want to watch some birds, go right ahead.
It might take a few excursions before your cat becomes comfortable with being outside. Some cats will be very excited by going outside, like Dukey, whereas some cats might be very overwhelmed and only stay outside for a few moments, just don’t give up and eventually your cat will be used to being outside. It may take months for some cat and only a few days, it really depends on your cat, just try and make sure your cat has a good experience each time. Once your cat becomes comfortable, it should be relatively easy for your cat to walk on a leash.