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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