Embarking on an adventurous walk shouldn’t just be for our canine companions. Cats, especially
those that live indoors, can benefit from being taken for a daily stroll around the neighborhood or
even your own backyard. This not only gives your pet a chance to exercise, but it allows her to
use her skills like pouncing and stalking.Unfortunately, most pet parents believe either one way or
the other when it comes to a cat’s lifestyle; it is let free to roam at will (not recommended) or
it is stuck in the house to live out its life.
This all or nothing attitude doesn’t have to be when there are simple steps we can take to train
our cats to walk on a leash…it is easier than you think.
Step One ~ Proper Walking Gear
Your cat will need a harness to wear, not a collar. Collars pose a strangulation threat if your cat
were to get stranded in a tree. Some collars are also designed to breakaway to prevent this from
happening. Either way, this can spell trouble for your pet. In addition, some cats, especially
kittens are flexible enough to slip out of a collar so you don’t want this happening while you are
outside on a walk.
Tip:Measure your cat with a flexible tape measure around the neck and just behind the front
legs. A proper fit should be snug, but not so tight that it is uncomfortable.
You can also purchase specially made jackets and kitty holsters which provide more coverage
around your cat’s body than the traditional harness. One great thing about these is the leash
attaches to the middle of your cat’s back, which provides you with more control and less strain on
kitties upper body.
Lastly, you will need a leash.Traditional leashes are fine, but they tend not to have the desired
length you and your cat may eventually want. Retractable leashes, not only gives your cat more
wander room, but you can decide how much length/freedom to give your fur baby at any given
Tip: For the first few times outside you will want to keep kitty close until she gets used to the
whole walking process. Lishinu comes in a “Light Lock” addition that only requires a gentle tug to
have it lock in position. Perfect for those active and exuberant felines under 17 pounds (8
Step Two ~ Getting Kitty Accustomed to the Walking Gear
As any feline pet parent knows, cats are not dogs and therefore, they don’t always take to change
or new situations easily. For this reason your cat needs to get used to the harness before you
ever venture outdoors.
Experts recommend using food rewards to help this process go smoothly and to encourage your
feline to tolerate the harness.
Start by putting the harness on your cat, making sure it is not too snug, then immediately give her
a treat. This lets your cat know this is a positive experience. If she takes a step in the harness,
then reward her again. Repeat this process each time she takes a successful step in the harness.
If you cat freaks out, tries to run and hide or immediately falls to the ground, take the harness off
and give her a treat as a peace offering.
Tip: Leaving the harness near your cat’s eating place or favorite napping spot is a good way to
get her used to the gear without it being intimidating. You can also hold the harness up to the cat
and let her sniff it all the while praising her and giving her a treat. This process can be repeated
while you place the harness closer and closer to her body.
More difficult cats may take longer to get accustomed to the harness. But remember to continue
on with the treats so your cat doesn’t associate this training as punishment.
Once your cat is wearing the harness without fuss, let her walk around the house in it for short
periods of time for a few days. This gives your cat a chance to be fully comfortable before she
steps outside for the first time.
Step Three ~ The Great Outdoors
Now that your cat is comfortable with both the harness and the leash, it’s time to venture outside.
Take this slow as your cat will most likely be a bit timid at first. Let her move at her own speed
and comfort level. Depending on your individual feline, getting down the steps and onto the lawn
may take anywhere from minutes to days. Remember to praise and reward so she still knows it’s
Coax your cat to go a little further each day until she exhibits the signs of being comfortable (tail
up, ears perked, not cowering).
Tip: If you have a busy neighborhood or one with a lot of dogs, it’s best to keep kitty in the
backyard until she gets used to all the goings on of outside. And of course, never leave your cat
unattended even for a short period of time.
Even if you have set backs, keep following these steps until your feline is ready to embark on a
big adventure. Just remember with practice, patients and praise, your cat may just be jogging
along beside you one day like a welltrained dog.