Leash-train Your Cat 

Teach your cat to walk on a leash so you can both safely enjoy the great outdoors.

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CatThese 10 steps will help you along the way:

1. Train your cat to respond to your voice. Call your cat at feeding and play times. Praise and pet it for coming when called and soon your cat will associate your call with good times.

2. Buy proper equipment. Choose an adjustable harness that fits snugly. Then, select a 4-foot-long leash to attach to the harness. Finally, buy a separate collar with an identification tag, in case your cat gets loose.

3. Introduce your cat to its gear. Allow your cat to gradually become familiar with the smell of the harness, leash and collar.

4. Put the harness on the cat. Don't force your cat to wear the harness; ensure you cat associates it with pleasure. For the first time, only put the harness on your cat for 30 seconds and remove it three or four times. Give long breaks between sessions to get used to getting in and out of the harness.

5. Let your cat drag the leash. Fasten the leash to the harness and let your cat get used to the weight. Stand on the opposite side of the room and call your cat. After a few days, when it comes consistently, begin walking it around the house.

6. Associate the harness with the outdoors. The sooner your cat learns the harness means outside, the easier this process will become.

7. Encourage calmness. If your cat loses control, discourage this behavior by standing still. Your cat will soon learn that it can explore only when calm.

8. Choose relaxing situations. You can't expect calmness next to a busy intersection or in the path of another animal. Keep an eye out for trouble before it arrives.

9. Follow your cats lead. Let your cat take the lead to build trust and make the experience more pleasant for you both. Your cat will want to explore and sniff the great outdoors. Always keeps the leash slack.

10. Start with short trips. Familiarize your cat with the area immediately around your home, and then gradually increase the distance you walk.

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Reader Comments

Stephanie    Traveler's Rest, SC

6/30/2014 4:55:10 PM

All very good advice but let me explain what happens when I put a harness on my girl, Charlie... Her body goes completely stiff, her eyes cross and she falls over onto her side and plays dead until the harness comes off. All of a sudden, oh my goodness! She can walk again. I usually don't see her for a few days until she finally decides to stink out from behind the dryer and grace us with her presence.

Jenny    Morgantown, OH

5/15/2014 3:54:23 PM

This basic outline is a good start, but for a more in-depth "how to" you may want to check out this guide: LINK
It answers a lot of questions other commentators have mentioned here, and some of the concerns. Hope this helps! (I've been walking my cat for over 5 years now, and we never miss an evening out!)

Candace    Columbus, OH

10/28/2013 2:33:48 PM

I've done all of these things with my 17 lb. male cat, Frisco. I used Pet Armour which does not kill flea eggs, and now in October, I'm dealing with a flea outbreak in my home. I had to wait until 30 days was up, then I put a flea collar, which kills flea eggs, on Frisco. We are still dealing with flea dirt and what feels like small barnacles on his skin, which are eggs that have died, but they are still on Frisco, which is gross! I had no idea that all of this mess would be part of it. Any suggestions?

Martha    Bushkill, PA

5/10/2013 3:30:25 PM

Very good information. Will try this.

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