The majority of people scratch their heads in confusion when they see a cat on a leash. Often, people believe cats are not meant to be domestic, and that they are wild beasts living in our homes. This is mostly because people compare the domestic cat to the domestic dog, who is truly a domestic, man-loving mammal. The domestic dog was selected specifically for its amazing abilities to bond and coexist alongside the human pack and has evolved to a greater dependent extent over the millennia whereas the domestic cat is a fiercely independent creature often revered by the human pack.
However, sometimes it is necessary to use a leash for your cat, and the domestic cat is not opposed to learning new tricks. Cat owners are often guilted to a large extent by confining their cats inside their homes. They feel they are denying their cats the instinctual need for sunbathing and feeling the grass between their toes (and hunting). It is for this reason that some cat owners want to train their cats to use a leash so she can experience the great outdoors safely. Another, more practical reason for wanting or needing to train your cat to walk on a leash is because you are traveling.
You may be moving across the country or just road tripping to vacation. Moves and long vacations can be dangerous if your cat gets away from you. The stress of the car and the new sights, sounds, and smells can cause any calm kitty to experience anxiety possibly, but leash training takes time so start training well in advance. Here are a few pointers to getting started.
- Purchase a harness and leash set, not a leash and collar set. You want to harness your cat’s body, not the neck.
- Place the harness and leash near her food for a few days so she can get used to seeing and smelling it. This will help convince her it’s not a bad thing.
- After a few days, place the harness on your cat for a few minutes and let her get used to feeling it. Practice putting it on her and leaving it on a little longer each time.
- When she feels comfortable, attached the leash and let your cat walk around freely with the leash in tow. After a few days of practicing this, try holding the leash.
In a short time, with the steps above, you can train your cat to use a leash and help keep her safe outside.