How to Teach a Cat to Walk on a Leash

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Give your indoor cat quality time outside by going for a walk.

Step 1: Use a harness and leash
Use a small, H-type harness that fits the cat, and a cotton or nylon leash. A harness fits if you can barely get a finger between the cat and the harness.

Step 2: Get the cat used to the harness
Get the cat used to the harness by putting it on them without buckling it.

Put the harness on the cat during playtime when the cat is more likely to be comfortable.

Step 3: Reward the cat
Reward your cat with plenty of treats and affection. Petting your cat during your training sessions will help your feline friend associate the harness with positive feelings.

Step 4: Buckle one loop
Continue putting the harness on the cat each day until the cat ignores it. After that, you can buckle one of the harness’s loops for 30 seconds.

Step 5: Build up to three loops
Build up to buckling the entire harness, one loop at a time. The process can take several months. Once your cat is comfortable with the harness completely buckled, let them walk around while wearing it.

Step 6: Add the leash
Add the leash when your cat is comfortable with the harness. Let them walk around with the leash for as long as it takes to get used to it.

Step 7: Go for practice walks
Go for practice walks around the house for a few days.

Step 8: Go for the first walk
Go for a walk when your cat is used to you holding the leash. Let them lead you on the first few walks. Bring treats along for encouragement.

Make sure it is quiet outside when you go for your walk. You don’t want your cat to get spooked.

Step 9:
[Tug the leash lightly] Tug the leash lightly to lead the cat on subsequent walks.

Step 10: Be patient
Be patient. Teaching a cat to walk on a leash takes time. Take the training process day by day, moving on to each step only when your cat is ready.

Did You Know?
Only 20% of pet cats are adopted from shelters.