Yes, your cats can be trained to cat leash walking. Just like anything else, they also need gentle instruction for them to learn something that’s not familiar to them. There are people saying that they have tried to use walking jackets and harnesses but their cats do not like them.
Felines who haven’t experienced anything on their backs would usually act as if they have been caught by their predator – and usually, what they do is to fight back, freeze, or flatten. Fortunately, gentle cat leash training in a regular manner can help overcome this response.
Reasons to leash train your cat
Most cats live indoors where they will be safe, preventing them from any illness, injuries, as well as premature death caused by outdoor dangers. Indoor felines might get bored, overweight, as well as develop behavioral problems if they do not have physical and mental stimulation.
A cat who is leash and harness trained also has more options for spending time outdoors and traveling safely. Walking in the neighborhood can increase the confidence of your cat by expanding their territory. Aside from that, you can also be able to enjoy the experience of bonding with your cat in your backyard on your deck.
A well-exercised and satisfied cat will be a happy and calm housemate for you, your family, as well as other pets in the home, so it’s really advantageous if you train him to walk calmly outdoors.
Is my cat okay with harness and leash training?
First and foremost, you need to know if your cat is confident enough to explore outdoors. If your kitty runs to hide every time someone new enters the door or any pet is introduced, you’ll probably want to avoid training your cat in a harness. Forcing a very shy feline outside will only reinforce his fears and can make him more afraid.
But if your kitty is eager and confident to learn new things, he’ll probably be a perfect candidate for cat leash walking.
What kind of cat harness should you use?
You’ll need a cat harness or walking jacket to train your cat. A cat’s neck is more delicate compared to a dog’s, which means using only a collar could hurt them. Look for the ones that specifically made for cats, such as the walking jackets that are very comfortable for felines.
Usually, cat necks are smaller than dog necks so they should have an adjustable neck collar. If the collar is not adjustable, your feline friend might be able to escape, especially if he’s frightened. A good walking jacket or harness must fit snugly, yet allow free movement. There are also some very wide collars which can be very uncomfortable for felines, which is why you should look for the ones that you think your furry pal will be comfortable in.
Introducing harness and leash to your cat
Once your cat is already comfortable wearing his harness, you should bring out the toy he likes and spend more playtimes with him while he’s wearing it. This will help him get used to moving with the harness on while a fun activity is happening.
If your cat is uncomfortable or afraid, reassure him and remove the harness right away to try again later. Bear in mind that forcing him to use a harness will just give him bad thoughts about the harness.
Common questions about how to make your cat wear a harness
What kind of cat harness is okay for your cat?
In certain circumstances, having your feline friend wear a harness and with you holding its leash is consider a great idea in case your kitty gets loose. Otherwise, it is more than likely your feline friend will be just as glad if he never sees a cat harness or leash, much less wears one.
What is girth measurement when buying a harness?
Girth measurement referred to the size of your kitty’s middle area. Most brands of cat harness include the measurement of girth along with the measurement of a cat’s neck in their size guides in order to help you get the right fit. In order to make sure you’ll buy the right fit of cat harness for your cat, make sure to measure your cat properly.
Can my cat wear a harness at all times?
Once your cat is wearing his harness for an extended period of time, like 10 minutes or more and he’s acting normally, then you can try adding a leash. However, you should take note that you do not leave him in a harness unsupervised. Always remember to associate your cat’s harness with good things like treats, food, and play.
Bear in mind that leash walking a cat is very different from dog leash walking. While your kitty might accompany you happily on long walks, it is more likely that he might prefer to sniff around your backyard as well as doze in the sun.
No matter what your cat’s preference is, it is very important that you pay attention to what he’s comfortable doing and do not force his outside his own comfort zone.