Recently, I’ve been getting asked this question lately on whether I think people can go walking with their cats and is it even possible? Well sure it’s possible! Absolutely! There are a few things that I do want to point out though to even begin walking with your cat. They’re not like dogs where they naturally will want to walk once you put a leash on them.
In fact, more often than not, before your cat is trained to walk, they’ll simply get very low to the ground once outside with you, to the point where they lay sprawled out on the ground and just simply stare at you like, “What do you think you’re doing with me right now?”
The best thing to do with your cat is start small first. Introduce them to the harness, collar and leash first. Next, get them outside, but be sure you have kitty treats on hand for this part. Lastly, should they wear a harness?
Small Steps First.
I recently wrote an article about collars yesterday, so it’s important that your cat gets used to this first. You can read on that article by clicking here. After they get used to wearing a collar, now you can start introducing them to the harness that you’ve picked out to walk them with.
This is a very important step because if your cat isn’t used to the harness, then they’re definitely not going to want to walk with it outside. I’ve seen a lot of people put a harness on their cat, hook them up to a leash, pick them up and put them outside. The cat simply melts into the ground, lays there sprawled out and just stares around.
The owners will usually tug gently on the leash and start calling their cats name and……nothing. They lay there. Cats are definitely different from dogs in that dogs will naturally want to walk with you, though they don’t know how to at first. Cats on the other hand don’t walk at first. They lay. So, start small. Collar, harness, leash. Next, let’s go outside.
Introduce Them To The Outdoors.
Once your cat is used to the collar and harness, now you can introduce them to the great outdoors. I recommend that when you first place them outside, that you let them lay there for a moment and take in the scenery. If your cat has never been outdoors, then they have a lot to take in.
Let’s face it, dogs get introduced to the outdoors right away as puppies, where else do we want them to use the bathroom? But cats? They have a litter box. So when you first place them outside, let them take it all in. The birds, the bugs they see with their awesome eyesight, all that nature has to offer.
Once they’ve started getting their bearings, they’ll slowly stand up and look around. This is when the training can begin. Now, let’s talk treats.
Have Cat Treats On Hand.
Cats love food, just like most pets do. Having treats on hand and placing them on the ground near you will let your cat know that you want to walk towards you. You can hold them in your hand as well, but I’ve had more success calling my cats name and placing a couple of treats on the ground next to where I want them to walk. Male cats have always been my favorite, and if there’s one thing males cats love, it’s food.
Once they walk to where the treats were and eat them, then I slowly walk to where I want them to go again, place more treats on the ground and call their name. I will admit, I talk to my cats like dogs, so I often praise them for going where I wanted and actually walking.
I will say, it can be a very time-consuming process to start your cat walking, but once you do, you’ll find that they actually want to walk with you regularly. It’s just a matter of training them with the treats and giving them lots of praise. It worked for me and all my cats and they loved being outdoors.
To Harness, Or Not To Harness?
This is where cats differ from dogs. As I mentioned in my collar article, cat collars are breakaway collars. This means, this is not an acceptable way to walk a cat and a harness should be used. First, cats don’t like to be led around by their necks – been there, tried that, epic fail. A harness makes your cat more comfortable to be walked in, and they won’t attempt to lunge and ultimately hurt themselves because with the harness, you can keep a good hold on it and it won’t injure the cat.
Making sure your cat is adjusted to the harness is important, read the first steps above. I say this because your cat will attempt to lunge at some point during the training, whether it’s at a bird or bug or they’re just not happy in general, the harness will allow you to safely pull them back and not go running off and getting lost. If they’re adjusted to the harness, they’ll kind of understand the pulling sensation that pulls them back to you and you won’t get a crazy feline with arms splaying all around, weird mewling and meowing, or worse yet, the cat screech they can emit or hissing.
You want your cat calm when you first take them out. I always let mine roam here and there with me in between the treats and slowly train them where I want them to go. It takes a few times, but once they get it, they know to walk with me and then they’re great companions when you take them out.
Walking with your cat is enjoyable and completely possible. If you follow these simple steps, you’ll find it’s actually pretty easy to train them to walk with you. I found that it was sometimes easier to train a cat over a dog because dogs like to pull. They naturally want to lead their human and if you have a large dog, they tend to physically pull you around. A cat stands no chance of this unless you have a tiger. Then, I got nothing. I’ve never trained a tiger.
I’ve seen a lot of people walking their cats, taking them for car rides and enjoying being outdoors with them. For people that love cats more than dogs, you too can enjoy being outdoors with them. Train them the same as people have to train dogs, just slightly different.
Cats are still somewhat wild at heart, so it takes lots of patience and the devotion. But once you have it down, they’re going to love being with you wherever you go.
What have you done to train your cats on something specific? What worked, what didn’t?