How do cats behave on a leash?

For some cats, leash walking is an excellent way to burn off the excess energy that can get him in loads of trouble and make your life difficult at best. It’s important to understand, however, that not all leashes are created equal, and products designed for dogs don’t work well with cats.

Often cats find life indoors dull, but living outside is dangerous, with risks running the gamut from attacks by wild animals to being hit by a car. By using positive rewards and products designed especially for cats, almost any feline will take to being leash walked when he realizes it will give him access to the wonders of the great outdoors.

Since cats have no ingrained imperative to please like dogs do, it’s best to train a cat to do anything when he is just a little hungry. Since most cats will more or less collapse when outfitted with a harness for the first time, your initial lessons will involve backing away from the cat with a favorite treat and simply enticing the animal to stand up and walk toward you.

Never work with a cat on a training goal for more than 10 minutes and be extremely patient. Cats do not learn by discipline, only positive reinforcement. If the cat perceives a negative in the situation, it will stop cooperating completely.

It can take up to a month to get a cat accustomed to walking with harness and leash at home. For initial outings, find a secluded area that is dog-free. Do not pick the cat up when he gets nervous, just be calm and speak softly. Cats are great interpreters of body language. The calmer you are, the more calm he’ll be.

Generally, within six months, and with the careful selection of an appropriate spot, you’ll have a cat who not only will walk on a leash, but will enjoy it.

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