I live in a flat and want to teach my cat to go on walks. But she won’t. Any advice? Maripo Sa
Don’t give up on your dream just yet. You’ve already given this a try, so I assume you already own a harness designed for cats. Remember, you can’t just snap on a leash and head on out. Patience is the key in this and many other cat-training endeavors. Find some time every day, when she’s relaxed and comfortable, to bring out the harness.
• Cat Leash-Training Tip 1
Pet her, show your cat the harness and occasionally drape it over her body. Take it off when she gets upset.
• Cat Leash-Training Tip 2
Attach the harness and let your cat wear it for a few minutes at a time (or only a few seconds if she objects). Expect agitation and refusal to move at first. Cross your fingers that she starts walking around while comfortably wearing it.
• Cat Leash-Training Tip 3
Treats for each small accomplishment can only help.
• Cat Leash-Training Tip 4
When she seems comfortable, adjust the harness for a safe fit. You should be able to fit two fingers between her and the harness all around her body.
• Cat Leash-Training Tip 5
Attach the leash and hold it loosely while you follow her around your home. She might (or might not) agree to let you choose your direction of travel.
• Cat Leash-Training Tip 6
Repeat the above step until you think she’s ready to see the wider world, then pick her up, open the door, hold her in your arms and let her look around.
• Cat Leash-Training Tip 7
If she’s calm, take a few steps outside. ALWAYS carry your cat outside so she doesn’t start thinking an open door means she’s free to leave the building. Bring her back inside. Reward with treats. Repeat until comfortable.
• Cat Leash-Training Tip 8
Carry her outside, place her on the ground and keep a firm grasp on the leash. Let her choose the itinerary. Does she want to lie in the grass or check out an alley? Let her decide (within reason, of course). Abort the mission when she says it’s over. Reward with treats.
• Cat Leash-Training Tip 9
Try taking your cat out at different times of day. She might balk when it’s bright and busy but relax when the outdoors are darker and quieter.
• Cat Leash-Training Tip 10
Start following @adventurecats on Instagram. Fantasize about hiking with your cat in Bryce Canyon or paddleboarding together on a local lake.
• Cat Leash-Training Tip 11
You might open a whole new world of fun for your cat or she might demonstrate that she’s happiest inside. Either outcome is OK.