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How to Train Your Cat to Walk on a Leash

By Edited Oct 26, 2014 0 2

Cute cat
Nowadays, it's always a good idea if your cat goes outside, to have them  on a leash. Both urban and rural environments are dangerous to cats, and your cat's safety should be a factor in her or his quality of life. Many shelters will not even let you adopt a cat at all if you plan to let them go outside, but will make exceptions for cats taken outside on leashes. So it's well worth your effort to train your pet to walk on a leash, because then you get to do cool things like take them on car trips!

Things You Will Need

  • Cat
  • Harness
  • Quick-release leash
Kitty Holster Cat Harness, Small/Medium, Red Bandana
Amazon Price: $24.95 $24.93 Buy Now
(price as of Oct 26, 2014)
Cats are the world's most efficient escape artists. Bearing that in mind, this particular harness is less likely to get caught on anything and thus kitty may find it harder to wriggle out of it.

Step 1

Introduce the New Item to Your Home

Your Cat can go outside safely
First you will need to accustom your cat to the harness. Harnesses are much safer than collars, because if there is a pull, the force is distributed evenly over the cat's chest and back area. With just a collar, your pet could get tangled on something and choke.

Rub a new harness all over yourself, then lay it down on the floor and walk away. Let your cat smell and investigate the device. Don't pay any more attention to either. If your pet isn't curious, then put it in her or his favorite sleeping spot, or next to you on your pillow and leave it there for several days.

Step 2

Introduce Kitty to the Item

Lay the harness over the cat, and pet him or her and talk in a reassuring tone of voice. Some pets will get frightened at this point and run away. Never mind. Just keep doing it, day after day. When your darling kitty is ready to accept being touched by its new harness, she or he will be ready for the next step.

Step 3

Wearing the harness, Part 1

Close up the chest area buckle or velcro while petting and talking to your pet. Food or toys may serve to distract them. Once kitty figures it out, be prepared for him or her to tear around the room in a panic. Remain calm, relax, and enjoy the antics. Intervene only if the harness gets caught on something.

Step 4

Wearing the harness, Part 2

Once your kitty accepts the previous step, it's time to move on. Still talking to and petting your cat, close the neck buckle or velcro loosely. Again, you may have to be prepared to take a frantic reaction from your pet calmly. Just wait it out and accept that this kind of reaction is normal for some cats (especially those who are freaked out by anything, or nothing at all).

Step 5

Wearing the harness, Part 3

Now let your cat get accustomed to wearing its new harness.

Some cats will take to a harness right away; others will pretend that a one-ounce harness weighs ten tons. Some cats will fall over and be unable to move a muscle. Don't be fooled. Wait it out. Simply remind yourself to be amused at your cat's antics if this happens; as soon as he or she sees a a toy or a treat, your cat will forget all about its harness and be off in a flash!

Step 6

Your cat may wriggle out of the harness; simply repeat the steps above. Repetition breeds familiarity.

Step 7

Take your cat for a walk in the park!
Once your cat is accustomed to wearing the harness, it's time to add the leash. Choose one with a quick-release clip in case of an emergency, or if your cat suddenly takes it into his or her head to climb a tree. Fasten the leash to the middle of the harness, halfway between the neck buckle and chest buckle.
6' Pet Leash - Small w/ Quick Release Handle - Forest Green Dog Leash
Amazon Price: $5.99 Buy Now
(price as of Oct 26, 2014)
The quick-release handle prevents the leash from getting tangled in trees or bushes, but allows you to catch up to your cat easily.

Step 8

Allow your cat to come with you outside. Cats who are timid may need time and coaxing, but soon they will love going outdoors. Cats will pull on the leash at first; eventually they will settle down and walk with you.

Tips & Warnings

If your pet suddenly decides to climb a tree, let the quick-release go. Don't risk getting the leash tangled in the branches. As your cat comes down, that is the time to reattach the leash.
Please never let your cat roam free. There are too many dangers and you don't want to risk your cat's life!

Training your beloved cat to walk on a leash ensures your cat's safety, and allows them to accompany you, whether on short errands, or on longer car trips. Going for a walk with your pet is good exercise for both of you, and will serve to make your cat's life much more interesting and safer. It's also a great conversation starter, as everyone will come up to you to ask about walking cats on leashes!

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Comments

Sep 28, 2010 9:16pm
mcimicata
Very good article that has all of the features that readers look for including accurate content, interesting information, and great ideas!
Oct 26, 2011 10:47am
KrisSigeti
My cat is fine once the harness is on, but sometimes, especially when he wants to go outside forget it I can't get it on him because he starts hissing and freaking out when I try to get it around his second leg (no problem with the first leg, he even lifts it up for me). I found that giving him treats or even hand feeding him his regular food while putting on the harness works best. Once its on him, no problems.
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