As a cat parent you may find it hard sometimes to not get a little jealous when you see your dog-owning friends getting to take their canine companions for leisurely strolls outdoors. Well, we want you to know that you may be able to leash train your cat! That’s right, you may be able to get your cat comfortable with the idea of taking walks outside with you while on a leash. However, the first thing you need to do to get your cat to the point where you are both happily strolling along the boulevard, is to get your Kitty comfortable wearing a harness. Keep reading to learn how.
Unlike dogs, who you regularly see wearing only a collar, a cat will usually be more comfortable wearing a harness. You will want to purchase one that is designed just for cats. Eventually you will be pairing this harness with a leash, so keep that in mind during your shopping trip. This leash will also be designed for cats. When selecting your harness, comfortable fit is important, so make sure the harness you select fits the height and weight requirements for your little ball of fur. You can find adjustable harnesses but have an idea of your cat’s chest measurement and neck measurement as well.
Get your kitty familiar with the harness. Without putting it on your cat, keep the harness and leash where she will come into regular contact with it. The idea is to make the harness a regular fixture in your home and something non-threatening. Placing Fluffy’s new harness near where she likes to nap and eat is a great start. Also, let her sniff the harness. Make sure to reward kitty with treats during this process.
With the use of treats as a tasty distraction, try placing the harness over Fluffy–not on her, just gently over her. Keep doing this until it is nothing special to her — just something her generously treat-dispensing parent is doing. Once Fluffy no longer seems to mind this process, move onto step 4.
Once again, using treats as a bargaining tool, gently get your cat into the harness, fasten and check for proper fit. Now, let Fluffy wear the harness for a while. Give her a treat and lots of love and praise. Let her walk around your home. Observe her behavior in the harness. Is she comfortable? Is she distressed? If comfortable, let her wear it for a while longer. If she seems really unhappy, check how it is fitting and take it off if necessary. Try again later. Continue to repeat this process until your feline companion seems comfortable wearing the harness and not distracted by it.
Next time we will talk about getting your cat comfortable with the leash being attached to the harness and walking with them.