Leash training your cat is easier than you think.
While it’s much safer for cats to have an indoors-only lifestyle, they do miss out on the sights and sounds of nature.
Fortunately, there are ways for them to have the best of both worlds. For starters, consider training your cat to walk on a leash while wearing a nice, soft harness.
Leash training is an excellent idea if you travel a lot and take your cat with you. While it might be practical to take portable litterboxes with you in the car, if she is on a leash, you can safely stop for potty breaks.
With cats, because they are always in charge, you have to start the leash training process very slowly. In fact, the best way to start is by purchasing a harness and a leash and leaving them lying around for feline inspection.
Consider getting a soft-mesh cat harness that fits snuggly—they can be better for cats, especially those just starting out. In addition, look for one that fastens on the side in order to put it on without a fuss. Cats typically don’t roll over on their backs and allow you to dress them! The leash should be lightweight and no longer than 6 feet. This way you are in charge.
The next part of the plan is to put the harness on her and let her wear it around the house. Short sessions and slowly build it up until she is totally comfortable in it. Next, attach the leash and let it drag around after her inside the home.
Once she is no longer bothered, pick up the leash as if you are walking her around. More than likely kitty will promptly lie down and refuse to move or belly walk along the carpet.
It is really about baby steps. Next, try venturing just outside the front door into the garden, patio or walkway if you live in a building. Don’t stay out too long the first few times and point her in the direction of home so that she will walk back by herself.
It’s important to make sure there are no other pets around to scare her—this is especially important when you actually start going places.
I always avoid certain paths in my neighborhood that are popular with dogs. While they might attempt to be friendly, the whole dog idea could spook your cat.
The best part about taking a cat outdoors on a leash is that the two of you can stop somewhere, sit on a bench or even on the grass and enjoy the sights and sounds of nature together. Whenever I write about leash training, I always think of my late cat California. She really loved to go out and about.
About the Author: Sandy Robins is the 2013 winner of the “Excellence in Journalism and Outstanding Contribution to the Pet Industry Award.” Her work appears on many of the country’s leading pet platforms, such as MSNBC.com, MSN.com and TODAYShow.com. She is a regular contributor and columnist in multiple national and international publications, including Cat Fancy, as well as the author of the award-winning books “Fabulous Felines: Health and Beauty Secrets for the Pampered Cat” and “For The Love of Cats.” Learn more about Sandy on her website or Facebook page. #welovecats