Training your cats to walk on a leash can create another way for you to bond with your cats and provide a stimulating experience that enriches your cats' life.
Leash training, however, takes persistence, patience, and the right accessories. Here are five simple steps to ease your cats into walking on a leash:
Choose a harness for leash training
Harnesses are much more secure for walking a cat with. Purchase a harness designed for cats.
Introduce the harness and leash
Leave the harness and leash by your cats' food bowls or sleeping spots. This way your cats will get used to the sight and smell of them. Or hold them to allow your cats to sniff and investigate them and give your cats treats to reinforce positive associations.
Try the harness on your cats
Slip it on your cats, but do not fasten it. Offer your cats treats as a distraction and to help them associate the harness with a positive response. You can stroke your cats and play with a toy whilst they wear it and also can put it on before their meals.
If your cats are comfortable at this step, you can fasten the harness and adjust the fit. You should be able to fit one or two fingers beneath the harness.
Attach the leash
Be sure to provide plenty of treats and praise during this process. Let your cats wander freely and follow them around your home, keeping the leash loose in your hand.
When your cats are comfortable with the feel of the leash, you can advance to the outdoors.
Noisy traffic and pedestrian congestion can be very overwhelming to your cats, so start in your own backyard, porch, or enclosed garden. Follow behind your cats as they do a little exploring, but do not force them to venture farther than they are ready.
Last but not least, remember to be patient. It may be time-consuming, but seeing your cats relish the outdoors safely can be very rewarding.
SPCA advises to try setting a regular walking schedule, so your cats won't constantly pester you to go outside and to always carry your cats through the door and outside. Never let them walk out on their own, or they might dart out without a leash when the door is opened.
Featured image by Jeandru Pretorius