You know how much I enjoy going out on my leash. I even enjoy walking down hotel room corridors in my harness.
I adapted pretty quickly, and training your cat to walk on a leash has a lot of benefits. The fresh air and sensory stimulation of being outside enhances your cat’s quality of life. And at the same time they are much safer with you by their side than if they were roaming free.
Do you think your cat would have fun walking on a leash? Before you give it a try, here are a few tips that will get you started in the safest and best way possible.
Cat Leash Training Tips for Total Beginners
- Is your cat microchipped? They should be, and you also should keep your contact information up to date on the chip registry.
- Make sure your cat is current on their vaccines and flea, tick, and heart worm prevention. There are all sorts of pests outside, and you want to keep them off your cat. Instead of using the cheap, over the counter stuff you find at the store, talk to your vet about getting prevention from them. The over the counter prevention isn’t always safe.
- Keep in mind that a cat can wriggle out of even the most secure harness if startled and scared enough. So make sure that in addition to the harness, they are also wearing a collar with their ID. If you want to be extra safe, also attach a GPS tracking device.
- Do all your initial harness and leash training inside. Gradually get them used to the harness, and when they are comfortable wearing it around the house, start attaching the leash. Go at your cat’s pace and don’t rush it.
- Keep in mind that not every cat wants to go outside! Some nervous cats much prefer the cozy feel of being inside their own home. Don’t force it on them. You want your cat to have their best life, and if spending time outside on a leash is part of that, great! If they think their best life is napping in a sunbeam inside, that’s great too. Respect your cat’s wishes.
I hope this is helpful, and that I reminded you of a few things you might not have thought of otherwise! If you have more questions about harness and leash training, let me know in the comments.
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Jennifer (and Cats) says
Are you going to make “leash training part II”? My kitty Pearl successfully trained to a point. She gets in the harness and leash, and then…just wants to go through the porch railings and under the porch where I can’t go with her, and not walk on the sidewalk. I live on a non-busy, suburban street that would be good for walking.
Catherine A Lingg says
Such great advice Summer. No matter what I tried Princess played dead or hid under the nearest bush. A smart kitty. Does lots of tricks and knows tons of human words but just not an outdoor kitty
Ellen Pilch says
I have a feeling my Rusty and Rudy would love to go outside.
Great tips! My childhood cat Patch used to love going out on a leash. It was quite a novelty in the neighborhood back then!
BellaDharma an BellaSita Mum says
You allwayss look so happy when goin fore a walkie Summer. Mee iss one of those catss who has had enuff of open spacess an mee does not like to bee handled…..
How-efurr yore tipss are spot-on!!!
Unkell Siddhartha Henry LOVED to walk out! Thanxfullee when hee allygator deathrolled outta his walkin vest an sweater; hee new to run back to THE patio an go rite innto Condo.
An guud tip about microchippin!
***purrss*** BellaDharma an 🙂 BellaSita Mum
Could you recommend a harness that is easy to get on a kitty but also difficult for the kitty to get out of? I have one that you put her paws in and bring it up and Velcro it on the back but she escapes it even when it is snug against her.
Summer Samba says
A buckle harness that adjusts at both the neck and torso is best so that you can custom conform it to your kitty’s body. I’m not sure if they make the one I use anymore, but it came from PetSmart.
Good information for keeping the kitties safe and