How to Leash Train Your Cat in 5 Steps

Posted on: 22 July 2021

Leash training your cat has many, many benefits. Wearing a leash ensures your cat gets some exercise and fresh air, all while making it easy for you to keep track of them and their safety. Your cat is also less likely to be attacked by other animals or get injured by cars while wearing a leash since you'll be in control of their movements. As a result, your cat will be happy that they aren't stuck inside all day while still being safe under your care. Of course, most cat owners considering leash training are less worried about its benefits and more concerned with how to go about it. Here are five easy steps for leash training your cat quickly and efficiently.

1. Consult your vet

First and foremost, consult your veterinarian. Before you attempt to begin leash training your cat, you must consult your veterinarian. Veterinarians will know your cat's health condition best, so they will be able to determine if the animal is fit for leash training. Cats who experience high levels of anxiety, senior cats, and cats with health concerns that are sensitive to high levels of activity or high heat may not be the right candidates for leash training. As such, make sure to bring up the matter during your next appointment. Your vet may also offer you extra tips and tricks on making the training easier for both you and your cat.

2. Pick the right harness and leash

Your choice of cat harness will be the key to the entire training period. The one you should choose must be designed for cats, so it will fit the cat perfectly and not cause the cat any pain. Do not choose one that is designed for dogs, even if it seems to fit your cat nicely. Dogs and cats have different skeletal structures, so a dog harness could cause your cat discomfort. Next, you must make sure the leash you pick is lightweight so it's comfortable for you to hold and not too heavy when your cat tugs on it.

3. Get your cat used to the harness

Once you have all the equipment ready, put the harness on your cat first without attaching the leash. After doing so, make sure to treat your cat and reward them for their good behaviour. You must make sure to give treats to your cat whenever the harness is on and refrain from doing so while it is off. Repeating this process will create a positive association with the harness in your cat's mind, gradually warming them up to it. 

4. Start walking on a leash indoors

The next step is to attach the leash. After the cat starts feeling comfortable, start slowly walking with them around the house, remembering to keep the leash loose at first. Do this in sessions of a few minutes long throughout the day over a period of a week or so, and your cat should become more relaxed and comfortable about being controlled by the leash. 

5. It's time to take it outside

The last step is to pick the day and time to take a walk outside. Make sure it's a dry and temperate day so your cat will have a comfortable first experience. You can encourage them with treats if they are hesitant at first, but if your cat seems too frightened and anxious, do not force them to go out. This will be counterproductive and possibly undo your hard work. There's always another day, and eventually, you should see your cat start to warm up to the idea and begin enjoying regular walks.