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Turns out, you actually can take your cat for a walk

 by lucy on 22 Jun 2016 |
2 Comment(s)
To most of us, the idea of walking a cat on a leash seems absurd. Cats are, after all, free-willed creatures that don’t respond well to discipline. Our feline friends will, however, answer to treats and praise, making leash training a viable option for some cats. Leash walking doesn’t just benefit your pet by allowing him to get a safe taste of the outdoors, but can also help him get more exercise, remedy boredom-related behavioral problems, and comes in handy during trips out of town or visits to the vet.
 
The first step towards training kitty to join you in the great outdoors is finding a harness that fits him properly. The two main types of harnesses are leads, which are made up of several straps that fit snugly around your cat’s neck and back, and vests, which are pieces of fabric worn exactly as the name suggests. Vests velcro or snap shut and give your cat more coverage, making them a good choice for felines that might be able to wriggle out of their leads. The harness should be snug, but not too tight— as a general rule, you should be able to fit a finger or two under the strapped harness, but no more.
 
Once you find the proper equipment, you want to introduce it to your cat slowly, using food for positive reinforcement. Leave the harness near kitty’s food dish, for example, or allow him to sniff it, following immediately with a treat. After practicing these simple steps, try slipping the harness on your cat, again using treats for positive reinforcement. You can also feed your cat in his harness and, eventually, he’ll be comfortable enough to let you fasten it. Don’t fret if your feline freezes up or walks in a weird way initially, as this is natural. He’ll eventually get used to his harness and begin to walk around in it. This is the time to attach a leash and following your cat around the household, using a slack lead. Continue to reinforce this activity with treats, and eventually you’ll both feel confident enough venture outdoors.
 
You cat will likely be wary on his first trip outside, so take slow, steady steps. Carry your leashed cat outside and place him on the ground, letting him explore at his own pace in a quiet area. Remember to never push your cat beyond his comfort zone— leash walks are, after all, meant to be an enjoyable experience for your pet. Some cats are naturally skiddish or shy and may not be good candidates for walks, so it’s important be mindful of how your pet responds to training. If he seems happy to continue, however, remember to always conduct leash training with a hungry cat who will respond to treats, and to always end each training session on a positive note, meaning its time to call it quits when your cat drops to the ground twitching his tail, for example. With some practice and patience, many owners will find they have a happier, more relaxed cat after some time outdoors.

Comment(s)2

Sherrie - Comment
Sherrie23 Jun 2016Reply
I leash trained my cats when they were kittens. I got them use to a harness and the weight of the leash. I let them drag it around the house for a few minutes at a time. Then we would go outside. They were so busy looking around that they forgot about the leash.
PacketLoss - Comment
PacketLoss05 Jul 2016Reply
The breed of cat pictured is an Egyptian Mau, they are known to have dog-like qualities. I play fetch with mine =-)

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