The Dos and Don’ts of Walking Your Cat

Cats love the outdoors, and it can be a sad sight to see your kitty gazing longingly out the windows at the sunlight and breeze. If trained correctly, your cat can be walked on a leash, opening the door to endless adventures for you and your feline friend. But, if you have tried to walk your cat on a leash, you may have noticed that the training isn’t so easy and that fun outing ends up looking something like this.

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Here are some dos and don’ts of walking your cat so you can both experience a good time.

The Need for a Harness and Leash

Collars can allow your cat to squirm out easily and offer a quick escape if frightened. Investing in a harness and a leash that is the best fit for your cat is best to start with. Make sure you can fit two fingers between the cat and the harness to ensure it’s not too tight or too loose! Many choose to use a lightweight jacket harness that has more area to distribute pressure.

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Lots and Lots of Treats

Praise and treats should be associated with this activity from the start to get them accustomed to the leash faster! Starting from the time you first place the harness on your pet, you should reward them with a treat. Even when letting them feel the harness out, every few minutes that they keep the harness on without trying to squirm out should be rewarded!

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Let Your Cat Feel it Out

When starting out, even just allowing your cat to get used to the leash by laying it next to their sleeping areas can help them get used to it. It’s important not to force the leash or harness on your cat as well, as it can lead to stress and discomfort. Give your feline some time to get used to the harness’ feel and if you seem them become agitated or uncomfortable remove it.

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Follow Your Cat’s Lead

You should let your cat take the lead when walking on the leash, at least until they get used to it! If you aggressively pull on the leash it may make your furry friend hate it even more. Let your cat walk around your home with the leash dragging behind them before picking it up and trying to guide them.

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It’s Time to Explore

For the first time outside, the time of day you decide to go may be crucial. It’s important to not go out on a day with lots of activity and check the surroundings for anything that may frighten your pet, such as loud noises, an excess of traffic and dogs.  Don’t push your cat, and let them do what is comfortable, even if it means just exploring the front yard.

Once they get used to the activity, you can follow their lead onto a new adventure! Eventually, they may even follow you, but if you’re a cat owner, you know they tend to have a mind of their own, so using treats as incentives might help. Regardless, be prepared to have lots of water for your pet and be ready to pick them up if any dangers come your way!

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When walking any pet, it’s important to remember to have a collar on them with an updated ID tag as well as ensuring their microchip information is correct in case they do manage to escape and get lost. Making sure your pets are also up to date on all vaccinations as well as flea, tick and heartworm prevention is crucial for all animals, especially those venturing outdoors! And if you’re looking for a furry friend to take on walks, fall in love with our adoptable pets and bring home a new best friend!