Walking your dog is not just a mere physical activity for them. It gives an opportunity to explore the outside world using all their sense like they used to before humans started to domesticate them. But, have you ever wondered considering walking your cat on a leash just like people walk their dogs?
The short answer is yes. You can encourage leash walking in your cat and that is not harmful at all. But it is important to keep in mind that if your cat does not want to walk outside, you should not force any behavior. Read on to know whether you should walk your cat or not, how to train them for leash walking, and other important things related to it.
You Want To Walk Your Cat, But Is She Ready?I definitely am in favor of walking a cat. Outdoor cats get opportunities to face challenges, develop problem-solving abilities, and feel more confident when they’re out. Your cat never can explore the outside world and experience their true self while being indoors. But then again, you should walk your cat only when she is ready.
You might think walking a cat will contradict the idea of strictly keeping cats indoor. Well, the main concern of doing so is to keep your cat safe, the food chain balanced, and to avoid overpopulation. So when you walk your cat, you’re actually taking care of everything.
If you have a cat that keeps roaming around the door and when it slips out when getting a chance but do not go on roaming by itself, that’s the right candidate. A cat that seems amazed to explore in short. But please keep in mind that not all cats want to go on a walk and never generalize this behavior. If your cat sits at the windows and looking out often, that doesn’t necessarily mean she wants to go on a walk. In a nutshell, all cats should be given the opportunity but if a cat protests against going on a walk, you should not force to encourage the behavior.
How To Train Your Cat For On-leash WalkingYou need to remember that cat walking and dog walking are different. And you cannot expect your cat to walk like a dog and does all the things that a dog would do. When you’re walking a cat, you’re just in charge of the leash and harness so that she doesn’t escape and stays safe from running into vehicles. So whenever motivation takes and your cat wants to go you will have to follow her.
For leash walking, you will need a leash and harness for cats. It is important to note that, cat collars aren’t safe for walking. So when you will introduce leash and harness to your cat, she will likely to act weird and won’t get used to it. That said, your target is to make them feel they haven’t put on anything while walking on-leash.
Some cats might tip over or get rigid when you put a harness on them. This is because they don’t know what are these for and how to feel normal. I always prefer to use clicker training to train your feline furballs.
Put on a harness and attach a leash to it, once you do it, click using a clicker and a treat. Well, you should use your cat’s favorite treat and reserve it only for clicker training for some time. Repeat this procedure for five to six times with the gap of 1-2 minutes.
This will help your cat to associate with the leash and harness in a happy way. Once your cat is ok with putting on a harness and can walk with it like she hasn’t put on one, you are ready to go outside for a walk.
Things To Take Care OfFirst, when you’re encouraging this behavior in your cat, make sure you practice clicker training in specific spots except near the door. If you put on a harness and click n’ treat near the door, that may indicate to your cat that it’s time to go on a walk every time you open the door. And trust me, this will be so problematic for you as a cat parent.
So, choose a fixed or two where you will call your cat and put on a harness. Second, follow a routine. If you walk your cat at a specific time of the day, you have to be consistent. Your cats need to adjust the time for walking. An easy way to remember this is you don’t take your cat out for a walk but your cat does, and your cat is very punctual.
Third, only use harnesses and leashes specially designed for cats. Ill-fitting equipment or accessories of dogs can be the reason behind your cat’s escape and increases the risk of losing your cat.
Fourth, when you out for a walk, don’t guide or pull your cat to guide them to your desired location. Remember, your dog is not a cat. There is no alpha member kind of concept here. Your cat just explores and you go with her. In a nutshell, you walk with your cat and make sure she is not leading towards any danger.
ConclusionYou can definitely walk your cat on a leash with some considerations. One, you need to train them using clicker training so that they get used to the leash and the harness. Second, if your cat doesn’t want to be walked, don’t push your cat over the edge. Third, take care of all the things I’ve mentioned in this article to avoid any accidents. All in all, your cat also deserves to enjoy the outside world and explore and one of the good ways is leash walking.
Article submitted bu our friend Clara Lou @ Pet Loves Best
Photo by rakhmat suwandi on Unsplash