Leash Training Cats is Easier Than You Think
Have your daydreams of training your cat vanished into a haze of “as if’s?” Undoubtedly, cats seem to boast an intrinsic resistance to any idea that originates outside their perfectly designed heads. Leash training, for example, would likely never, ever be insisted upon by any sound-minded feline, and yet, leash training cats is a very attainable and fun goal.
Bold, Not Crazy
Before we dive in, just think of the benefits of walking around your neighborhood with your cat at the other end of a leash. For starters, it’s great exercise and stimulation, not to mention the fact that it cultivates a stronger bond between the two of you. All of this would not be true, of course, without the biggest factor: leash training cats allows for a safe outdoor experience controlled and cultivated by you.
What’s That, Meow?
It’s important to persevere even if your cat stares you down at the mere mention of leash training. This is made easier when you have the right accoutrements. Your cat must feel secure and unthreatened by the harness you choose. Many cats opt for the vest design, others have no problems with the strappy, adjustable kind.
The harness should be snug around the shoulders, neck, and chest, but should never constrict movement or breathing. On the other hand, it should not be loose enough to allow your cat to squirm out of it. Check to see you can easily fit two fingers between the harness and your cat’s body.
You may have to slowly introduce leash training to your cat, making each experience a bit longer than the one before. If your cat allows you to secure the harness, your day is made. Some cats will “forget” how to move, falling down repeatedly. Don’t lose heart. Instead, keep trying every day, offering Fluffy lots of encouragement and praise for trying this new thing.
If you get beyond a solid week of daily harness exposure without wriggly resistance, howling defiance, or utter despair, you’re ready for the next step.
Before you actually take Fluffy outside and immerse him or her in all the new smells, sights, and sounds, practice walking on-leash inside your home. This will feel odd (for both of you), but your cat must learn that darting off or dragging behind you will be impossible while attached to the leash.
Once your cat has mastered this, slowly but surely, take him or her outside.
Leash training cats has the potential to be very different from a canine experience. Some cats will simply crouch down and watch, unable (or unwilling) to move. If there’s grass, they might gnaw on it. While dogs may go swiftly down the block, some cats slink about carefully, soaking in all the stimulation before it’s time to head home.
Alternatively, watch out for sheer delight and frolicking with abandon. You know your cat the very best; closely observe his or her behavior and take cues seriously. Make sure identification is updated, clear, and attached to the harness.
Leash Training Cats Can be Fun!
Whatever you do, don’t give up. Leash training cats is a worthwhile endeavor that’s full of possibilities. It’s also a healthful alternative to viewing life through a window.