How to Walk Your Cat on a Leash
It is not the most usual thing to see a cat being walked on a leash. Traditionally, it is dogs that have leads and cats that roam free. However, these days, with so many small birds and animals on the verge of extinction, you may want to consider training your cat or kitten to walk on a leash. This will prevent him from hunting down and killing butterflies or small birds. It will keep him from climbing trees to take baby birds from their nests. It will also keep him out of danger, as you will be monitoring his whereabouts in a responsible manner.
Rather than just using a collar and leash to walk your cat, think about using a harness. A cat’s head is quite small compared to the rest of it and a collar may be inclined to pull over his head and off. The harness straps should encircle the neck and the body just behind the front legs, with two more straps to join the circles together; one through the front legs and one down the back of the neck. There will need to be a clip for the leash as well. Light leather or synthetic material is good for a cat’s harness.
Don’t use anything too heavy or the cat will reject it.
It’s also important to get your cat used to the look and feel of the leash before you take him walking in it. After he has become used to seeing the leash, (you could leave it in his bed) then let him wear it for a few minutes each day before leading him around by the lead. While still indoors, tug gently on the lead whilst calling your kitty.
When he comes to you, praise him, but never force or scold him if he doesn’t come, or he’ll think the leash is a punishment. When you walk your cat on his leash, don’t walk him the same way as you would a dog. Dogs like to run fast and are happy to trot at a good gait beside you, once they have learned to lead. Cats are quite different. They don’t usually run or walk fast in a straight line from A to B. They tend to stop and start, to wander about and to inspect strange rustlings in the grass.
For your cat to enjoy walking outside with you, you must allow him to do at least some of these things. Never pull the cat along roughly. He will be likely to try and back off very quickly. Gently encourage him to come with you and praise him when he comes in the right direction. Hold out treats for him as you call him to come.
Cats also feel the heat easily. You can’t expect to go for a quick run around the block on the hot sidewalk with a cat. Remember kitty has no shoes for protection against the blistering heat or cold snow. Wherever possible walk your cat in the shade and on grass. Sun is all right if it’s not very hot.
Respect your cat’s need to rest when you are walking him. It’s a good thing to stop and smell the roses yourself. Let your walk be in a calm and stress-free environment. Your cat will likely be afraid of loud traffic or skateboarders zooming past his tail. With these few pointers, your cat should soon begin to enjoy his daily walk.