Walking a Cat on a Leash
I want to teach my cat to walk on a leash. He is 14 months old and slightly obese. I have a leash and harness for him. Do you have any tips for me?
It’s admirable that you’re trying to help your feline buddy lose weight and stimulate him with walks. You may or may not be able to teach him how to walk on a leash. Your cat’s ability to walk on a leash will in part be determined by his personality. If he is a confident or bold cat, your chances are good that he will learn. If he is skittish or shy, he may be too frightened outdoors to walk comfortably on a leash.
The other factor that will determine how well he takes to a leash is the method that you use to teach him. If his first experiences with the leash and harness are frightening or upsetting, you’ll have more trouble in future attempts. Keep the training sessions very short and upbeat. Use lots of food that he really likes (this won’t help with his weight problem, so cut back on his regular food) until he learns how much fun being outdoors on a leash can be.
Clicker training would probably work best to teach a cat leash walking. Clicker training involves using operant conditioning to teach an animal a specific behavior. Most information on clicker training that is available today relates to using clickers to train dogs. But clicker training also works for horses, dolphins, fish, cats, etc. Check your library or bookstore for a good book about this effective training method.
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