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How to Train a Cat to Walk on a Leash

Want to strut your cat around the neighborhood? Learn how to train a cat to walk on a leash. Read on for training tips

Do you ever feel like your cat is missing out on the world? Like there’s more to life than the confines of your home? Maybe our cats have wanderlust. Maybe they have dreams of frolicking with squirrels, backpacking through Europe, and getting rescued from a giant oak tree by a hunky firefighter. 

Well, dream no more, because we’re about to let you in on some tips and tricks to train your cat to walk on a leash in no time! Once you’ve got this down pawsibilities are endless!

First things First, Patience is Key 

Unfortunately, not all cats are going to be okay with leash training. So go with your gut instincts and pay close attention to your cat’s mood. Is your cat scared easily? Then take it slowly. Does your cat show interest in the outdoors? Does your cat show curiosity in other animals? They might be ready! Take it easy and never push your cat more than they’re comfortable. You’ll know if they’re not ready because they won’t be afraid to show those claws. 

cat with harness

What You’ll Need 

You’ll need a harness that fits well and a short leash. A cat walking jacket also works. A dog leash, or break away color is not recommended. It could potentially break off, or hurt your cat. Also, keep treats on stand by and be ready to reward good behavior!

Step One: Get comfy! 

Before you even go anywhere near the outdoors, your cat needs to get acquainted with its new gear. Much like a new toy, or piece of furniture in the house, your cat has to sniff it out to make sure it’s not a threat. Don’t put it on their body yet. Simply let them be near the new harness, and let them play with it and hear the sounds it makes.

Maybe try snapping it open and closed a couple of times. All cats are different, so depending on their comfort level with the new harness and leash, you might want to let them play with it for a couple of days before moving on to the next step. 

Step Two: A Fashion Show (Try it on)

If your cat is feeling comfy and cool with the new gear, it’s time to try it on. Let them feel what the new harness is like on their body. It’s an unfamiliar feeling for them, so they might walk a little funny at first or try to take it off. Once the harness is on their body, give them a treat. 

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Step Three: Go For a Walk (in the house)

Connect the leash to their harness while inside the house. See how your cat reacts to it. If it’s good, try going for a short 5-minute walk in the house. Make sure to reward their good behavior with a treat! You’re one step closer to the great outdoors! 

Step Four: Slowly Make it Outside

Congratulations! You and your cat are finally ready for the outdoors. You may be familiar with dogs bolting towards the door when they’re ready to go on a walk, but this is a habit that we want to avoid with our cats. Before taking the first steps outside, make sure to carry them out of your door, then place them down outside. This ensures that we aren’t teaching our cat to stand by the door, which could be dangerous if you’ve got a runner on your hands. 

black cat on leash

Step 5: Explore 

Depending on your cat’s personality and comfort levels, they might want to stay next to you, the door, or familiar surroundings within the first few days of leash training. Hopefully, after the initial test run (or slow walk), they’ll be filled with curiosity! Take it easy and explore new surroundings together. If you live in a busy area with lots of traffic, keep that leash help tight close to avoid any mishaps. 

Benefits of Leash Training 

There are so many benefits to leash training your furry friend. To name a few: 

  • The exercise is great for them
  • The leash allows your cat a safe way to explore the outdoors 
  • It keeps them physically and mentally engaged 
  • It’s a fun and unique activity for you and your cat to do together 
  • Strengthen your bond with your cat 

Now that you’ve got all the tools, you and your cat are ready to become the next big travel vloggers (even if you are only traveling to the back yard). Good luck with the outdoor endeavors, and enjoy the fresh air! 





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