This is the time of year when your cat may be interested in going outside. Believe it or not, your cat can adapt to using a harness and leash. It just takes some time, patience and practice. You can teach your cat how to use a harness or leash and take your cat for a walk!
Cat trainer and breeder, Lisa Maria Padilla demonstrates how to harness your cat with a Sturdi Harness.
Photo: Larry Johnson
Be sure to discuss with your vet ahead of time your intention and ask how to properly protect your cat from fleas and ticks.
Below are some tips for you to consider in using a harness and leash:
1. Purchase a harness like the Sturdi harness that is made specially for cats.
2. Leave the harness laying around so that your cat gets used to it and let your cat sniff the harness and get used to it.
3. Use treats to encourage your cat the entire time you are trying the harness on your cat. If your cat objects, don’t get discouraged, just take the harness off and try again another day. Be sure you have two fingers between the harness and your cat’s body.
4. If your cat is agreeable to the harness, let him sit with the harness on wait a bit before you use the leash. Observe your cat to see how relaxed he is and that should give you a guide as to how to proceed.
5. When you attach the leash, follow the same procedure and monitor your cat’s comfort level. You can let the leash drag on the floor until you see that your cat is comfortable. Practice using the harness and leash indoors until you and your cat are comfortable. Keep the leash loose to give your cat room to move, speak in a soothing voice and give him treats to let him know he is doing a good job.
6. Apply gentle but firm pressure. Be sure not to jerk or drag the leash.
7. Once you decide to venture outdoors, take your cat to a quiet spot and sit with him while your cat roams around with you holding the leash.
8. Repeat this process until you and your cat are comfortable. Allow him to explore his surroundings with you following behind with the leash. You will get an idea as to when a good time is to venture further with your cat.
For some inspiration, check out the adventures of “Fish and Chips”, 2 kitties who LOVE going on outdoor trips with their humans!