Should Cats Be Walked On A Leash?
In a perfect world, our feline friends would roam freely and safely outside. But statistics show, keeping your cat indoors will significantly extend their lifespan, protecting them from disease, predators, and cars. But cats are also a threat to our sensitive ecosystem. Across the world, cats are killing countless birds, lizards, and small mammals, profoundly impacting global biodiversity. This being said, keeping your cat indoors but giving them the opportunity to
walk on a leash safely can be a great way to keep your cat happy and content. Cats love to scratch on real trees, roll around in the dirt, and smell new things. However, some cats lack the right temperament to go on a walk with you. Cats are highly territorial animals and might feel overwhelmed and stressed when being forced on new territory. If your cat doesn't trust other humans or animals and gets easily scared when hearing different noises, the walk outside might not be the right thing for her. (I will make a separate post about how to catify your home so your feline friend will stay happy indoors.)
And how's it done?
Cats should be walked with a harness, not a collar. Purchasing the right harness can be tricky though. Look out for a soft harness that has a snug fit so your cat cannot slip out of it.
Start training in the safety of your own home. Let your cat walk around with the harness on, so she gets used to the new sensation. When your cat feels comfortable and confident with the harness on, it's time to attach the leash. Before heading outside, get plenty of practice walking around inside. Always have some treats ready to use for positive reinforcement throughout your training.
For the next step, you choose a location.
A semi-private, fenced outdoor area with not too much stimuli is the perfect choice for the first walk. Keep your cat close to you and always let her take the lead. Remember we're walking cats, not dogs.
Keep in mind, leash walking should be enjoyable for both of you.
Always take a towel with you. If anything happens, you can wrap up your cat and get her to a safe place immediately.