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How to Leash Train A Cat

White cat walking on a leash

Everybody knows that cats love to do their own thing. They aren’t particularly inclined to do what their owners want them to do. They often seem to be disinclined to acquiesce to our requests. But it would be amazing if you could teach your cat to behave more like a dog sometimes. After All you can teach a dog tricks, take them to dog parks, and even take them on walks with you. However, there is good news for cat owners as you can teach your cat to walk on a leash as well. As crazy as it sounds you can find out how to train your cat to walk on a leash with you if you read the article below.

cat on a leash on a dirt road
Make sure your cat is comfortable in its harness and leash

First Get the Cat Used to the Leash

A Safe Environment and Treats Are Essential

The very first thing you want to do is find a cat harness that is right for your cat. The most important thing is to find a harness that is not too heavy for your cat. Cats are small, dainty animals and a guaranteed way to teach your cat to hate the leash is to put a harness on them that is too heavy. It will make them feel trapped and cause them to bundle up and sit down. You won’t be able to teach them to walk on the leash if their reaction is to curl up and lay down. 

Once you have them in a harness that they seem to like, or at least a harness they seem to tolerate, the next step is teach them in small sessions to walk on the leash. The most essential part of this is to get them some delicious cat treats. 

Put them on the leash for a few minutes at a time. Really no more than five minutes at a time when you’re first starting out. Every time they are in their harness and leash make sure to give them plenty of delicious treats and praise. Soon they will begin to associate the harness with treats and praise and they will begin to associate it in a positive light.

Cat on a leash on the grass
Make sure your cat is comfortable on its leash indoors before you take it outdoors.

Don’t Scare Your Cat By Taking Them Outdoors too Fast

Keep the Walks Short and Sweet Even When Your Cat Gets Comfortable

When you first put your cat on a leash resist the urge to take them outside right away. While it would be adorable to walk them down the street that first day, it is important to keep them in a safe environment where they feel comfortable. If their first experience with the leash is a stressful new environment they will dislike being on the leash.

However, after you’ve spent the time in doors and got your cat comfortable with the presence of the harness and leash, and spoiled them with plenty of treats, you can begin to introduce them to the outdoors.

Once you begin taking them outside you will want to be able to reward positive behavior. The easiest way to do this is if you use any type of clicker trainer. Using your clicker when your cat is outdoors and reinforcing good behavior on the leash will teach them how to walk.

However, if you don’t use clicker training don’t fret. Treats can also be used to reinforce positive behavior on your cats part. It might take a little longer but it can be done. You’ll just have to use plenty of treats and positive reinforcement to teach your fuzzy friend what they're supposed to be doing. They have no idea what a leash is for and you’ll have to be patient and teach them. 

cat on a purple leash in the garden
Keep an eye out for poisonous plants or potential allergens whenever your cat is outdoors.

For An Indoor Cat The Outdoors Can Be Quite Dangerous

Make Sure You Have First Aid Supplies On Hand in Case of Bumps and Bruises

If you take your cat outside on the leash, it's more than likely an indoor cat. If your cat spends its life indoors safe from everything except for too many cuddles, then you need to be prepared for them to get hurt when they're outdoors. There’s a plethora of different dangers your cat can run into outdoors. It's important to make sure you have first aid supplies for your cat to make sure you can care for any accidents.

Your cat isn’t the only animal that is going to be outdoors. You’ll want to keep an eye out for other wildlife. In particular you’ll want to make sure you’re in a dog free environment for your cat. The issue with your cat being on a leash is that they can’t run away freely if another animal comes chagrin towards them. 

You also need to keep an eye out for ticks and other parasites when you’re outdoors. There is also the danger of your cat eating a poisonous plant so make sure you keep an eye on what they are sniffing at and chewing on. Finally, there is the danger of your cat encountering an allergen for the first time. If they spend all their time indoors then you might have no idea that they are allergic to something they’ve never been exposed to. So make sure you have emergency supplies on hand just to make sure nothing unfortunate happens to your furry friend on one of your adventures.

cat on a leash on a skateboard
Some cats love to go outdoors so don’t be surprised when they start meowing and crying when they want to go outside and play.

Although getting your cat to walk on a leash is never going to be quite the same as getting a dog to walk on a leash with you, it is still an enjoyable process and a great way to bond with your pet. It's also a great way to let your “inside cat” get the health benefits of fresh air and exercise without being worried about them running away or getting into dangerous situations.

Plus at the end of the day, if you have a cat that walks on a leash you now have an amazing conversation piece with anybody who walks by. There’s nothing more adorable than a little kitty cat walking on leash and acting like they own the neighborhood.

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