Cats, as anyone who knows one knows, are very independent creatures. While it may seem odd to some, it sometimes is best to have a cat on a leash in order to control the cat and to make sure that he or she does not wander off. While having them roam untethered -- both indoors or out -- is commonplace, if you need to take your cat outdoors for walks, you might be wondering how to train a cat to walk on a leash. These steps can help.
Becoming familiar with the leash
Animals are instinctive, often relying on their senses, especially their sense of smell. Therefore, a first step in how to train a cat to walk on a leash is to have the cat become familiar with its scent.
In order to accomplish this, place the leash near the cat. Try to do this during the feeding time, since this is when animals are most responsive. By smelling the leash, the cat will become accustomed to its scent, and in turn not be as intimidated by it. This process should be repeated for a few days.
Wearing the leash
Most leashes for cats employ a harness. In order to teach the cat how to walk on a leash, it is important to have the cat become familiar with the harness component. The cat needs to know how the harness feels.
Again, take advantage of mealtimes and carefully place the harness on the cat. Allow the cat to walk around with the harness and to become used to it. The cat should already be familiar with its scent, making the process less overwhelming. This should be repeated for a few days in order to reinforce familiarity.
The next big step is allowing the cat to walk around on its own while wearing the harness and leash. Cats like to assert their independence, so allow your feline to get accustomed to the leash without being led by it. You might try the harness first by itself and then add the leash. The cat will become used to walking with both devices. This action should be repeated for a few more days.
Walk the cat with the leash
Finally, as you reach the homestretch in the process of how to train a cat to walk on a leash, it's time for some trial runs inside. By now, the cat is familiar with the scent of the leash, the feel of the harness, and the concept of walking around with both the leash and harness component.
Take time to gradually introduce leading the cat. Use a gentle touch until the cat gets accustomed to the feeling of being led by you. After a few days, as the cat and you begin to feel more comfortable, start to take the cat outside.
Teaching a cat to walk on a leash may be a tedious endeavor, but it is possible. One of the most important things to remember is that it is something that can only be learned gradually. Put in the patience and the time, and you will be rewarded with a cat that you can walk outdoors on a leash.