5 purrfect tips to walking your cat on a leash (well, it’s more like letting your cat walk you)
Explore the great outdoors with your feline friend - our ultimate guide to taking a walk on the wild side
Now, it might seem like a rather strange idea to take your cat for a walk on a leash, but to some people, exploring the wild outdoors with their cat is a normal part of their day to day life.
And it turns out that there are some great reasons as to why this is such a good thing to do - for you both!
Cats are normally just fine living inside our homes, lying on their favourite chair in the afternoon sunshine. But, when you really start to think about it, cats are meant to spend some time outdoors!
But, letting your cat run wild through the neighbourhood could result in you losing your precious Whiskers or risking him getting into fights and other issues.
That’s why training your cat to be comfortabling when walking on a leash is the best thing you can do for the two of you! Whiskers is able to get his senses stimulated, stretch his legs and you are both able to get in some much-needed exercise.
Of course, some cats absolutely despise walking on a leash and if this is the case with your friendly feline, then that is perfectly alright. But there is no harm in trying, right?
Let’s just make one thing clear, by walking your cat, we actually are referring to a situation where you allow your cat to get outside, stretch his legs and walk you.
It’s not the same as walking a dog and training him to walk in a calm manner right by your side. Oh no, this is very different to that.
Here’s how to walk your cat on a leash
1. Make sure you get the right gear before you start walking
You need to ensure you have a harness designed specifically for a cat, you should not use anything else but a cat harness.
Pop into your local pet store and ask someone who works there to help you find the right sized one for your cat.
2. Start indoors first
Before you venture outside, for the safety of your precious cat, help him or her to get used to the harness indoors first. Put the harness on and fit it snugly but not too tight or too loose. You should be able to fit two fingers under it.
Once Whiskers seems a bit more comfortable with it, then attach the leash and let him lead you through the home with it.
Try to give him a treat every now and then to make him feel more happy about the situation.
It may take a few days for him to feel comfortable with the harness on. So every day for about a week, put the harness on for a little bit (an hour or so should do thr trick) and see how he feels.
3. You’re now ready for the big world outside
Now that Whiskers seems comfortable with the leash and harness, the big moment to venture outdoors is finally here!
Make sure you put the leash and harness on while you are still inside to stop him from running away the moment you get outside.
Start in an area that is safe and quiet and let Whiskers move at his own pace and follow him around - try not to tug or pull on him too much, just let him feel comfy with the whole ordeal.
4. Bring a toy to boost confidence
This is actually a great trick.
Cats cannot feel fear when they are in hunting mode - bring a toy on a wand (like a feather or a toy mouse attached to a long plastic wand) and drag this in front of him to help boost his confidence while outside.
Keep the leash in your one hand and the wand toy in the other.
5. Remember, your cat is not a dog!
Now, this point might seem silly, but the thing is, you cannot expect Whiskers to walk like a dog on a leash.
It is all about exposing your cat in a safe and calm way to the outdoors, it is not about training him to be obedient.
You can expect Whiskers to want to wander and meander around everywhere he goes and possibly take his time in doing so, just make sure you hang onto that leash and go where he goes.
Whiskers will dictate the pace and direction - let him!
This experience will enrich your cat's life and boost his confidence, he will, in turn, be a happier cat because of it.
Happy walking our feline-loving friends!
Of course, make sure you have pet insurance if anything does ever go wrong so that you can be covered for the things that matter most.
Yours in paws,