Taking your cat out for walks may seem like a newer concept for you, but did you know that 18% of all cat owners own a leash for their pet? That’s right, we’re talking about leashes to take your cat for a walk, AND 12% of cat owners have a harness for their pet, according to a recent survey by the American Pet Products Association. However, we do wish those percentages matched, as we always recommend a leash with a harness and not attached directly to the cat’s collar…but we digress. AND, cat owners have been doing this for decades, but we now know a little more about how to properly introduce our cat(s) to leash walking and which gear is best!
Here are some tips for getting your cat in the right step toward regular strolls, in other words, how to introduce them to the leash and harness and how to bring them along without carrying them everywhere, Taylor.
- Find a proper harness. It’s important to get a harness made specifically for cats. All of our cat harnesses are made of sturdy snag-proof nylon material with a clasp on the back for leash attachment. They are adjustable to provide the right fit, and are lightweight and comfortable. They are also available in reflective patterns and colors to ensure visibility at night.
- Let your cat get used to the harness. Treat, treat, treat. We can’t emphasize this enough. Leave the harness around and allow your cat to sniff, rub and familiarize himself with the new harness and leash. Go slowly and drape the harness around the torso…treat and praise. Slowly tighten and adjust as needed….again, treat and praise.
- Let your cat get used to the leash. Let your cat drag the attached leash around the house for a bit, all while treating and praising. Once they get the hang of that, grab the leash and follow them around. They may be walking you at first. Tug gently to steer in the right direction, but never yank. And again, treat and praise.
- Head outdoors. Find a nice quiet place to practice at first, letting your cat explore as you ‘follow’ on the other end of the leash. Keep first outings short as to not overwhelm, and increase time and distance as they get more comfortable. Bring treats with you, too!