Speaking of Pets: Ever wanted to walk your cat on a leash? Here's how to do it | VailDaily.com
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Speaking of Pets: Ever wanted to walk your cat on a leash? Here’s how to do it

By Joan Merriam
Special to the Daily
Make sure to get a good harness and don't pull him/her because cats can squirm out of even the best harnesses.
Special to the Daily

It may seem weird or even impossible … but the fact is, you can teach your cat to walk on a leash.

Harness and leash

A cat needs a harness, one made specifically for cats. Choose one that’s easy to put on, but that your cat can’t wiggle out of.

The leash should also be designed for cats, because cat leashes are lighter in weight than a dog’s leash. Anywhere between four and six feet long is ideal.

Putting the harness on

You can’t just throw a harness on a cat and expect it to walk placidly by your side. The process takes time and lots of patience.

First, put the harness on the floor or in a place the cat likes to sleep for your cat to sniff and perhaps even play with.

After a few days, try gently slipping it on. If your cat resists or becomes frightened, remove the harness and try again later. It could easily take several days before the cat is willing to accept the harness.

Now, attach the leash to the harness. Hold it gently and allow the cat to move around inside your home. As before, treats and a soothing voice can help make this a positive, stress-free experience.

Outdoors

Once your cat is comfortable walking with the leash, go outside in a fenced yard and continue to let the cat explore. Never try to pull a cat along with you: They can easily squirm out of even the best-fitted harness. Keep the leash slack and go slowly. Let your cat lead the way.

Avoid busy streets and barking dogs when you head out for your walk, and watch your cat for signs of distress.

If you’re lucky, your cat will become a walking pro, and you’ll both be the envy of the neighborhood.

Joan Merriam lives in Northern California with her golden retriever Joey and Maine coon cat Indy. She emphasizes that she’s not a veterinarian or animal behaviorist — just an animal lover who’s been writing about pets since 2012. You can reach her at joan@joanmerriam.com.


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