The Ultimate Guide on How to Walk Your Cat
If you've ever lived with a cat, then the concept of putting one of these furry friends on a leash may seem a little alien to you at first. Cats by nature are finicky creatures that prefer to do their own thing rather than what you would like them to do.
Maybe you have always fancied having a puppy so you could take them outside with you or you live in a city where your cat doesn’t have the option to go outside to stretch their legs.
This guide will help you learn to get your cat walking while on a leash.
Picking the Right Equipment
The most important part to starting any project is making sure you have the proper equipment to finish it. If you're walking any animal outside or in a new area then you will want to have some control over the environment. The best way to do this for most animals is with a leash or a harness that can help you keep track of them at all times.
There are plenty of different options to consider when picking out items at the pet store such as length, size, leash, harness, and even color.
First off, make sure you are buying the appropriate sized item for your animal. Most cat items come in a few different sizes with the most common being adult or kitten sizes.
If you have a kitten, remember that you will have to upgrade as it grows and it may not be advised to buy anything overly expensive with a growth spurt coming. If you're shopping for your adult cat, consider whether you want full control of a harness or you think just having them on a leash will work out for the both of you.
Next, determine the length you want to let your pet travel as there will be several different sizes of leashes to pick from including ones that can expand or retract at your desire. Lastly, remember to be careful with the collars you pick as most cat collars will be breakaway which may not be desirable when you're trying to hold onto your pet. Make sure to get a sturdy collar and switch back to a breakaway once you're done with your walk.
Getting Used to The Leash
Even the most curious animals generally will not take nicely to any item being placed on them at first. This especially can be true when you add in something that holds them tight and can restrict their overall mobility. When introducing your cat to a harness, you may want to let them wear it around the house or in a room where they feel most comfortable before trying to walk them in it.
Be sure to gradually tighten the harness as they get more used to it. If you start out by just putting the harness on and they feel more restricted, you may end up with a cat who feels threatened. If your cat acts like they are stressed out, immediately take the harness off and calm them down to let them know that the item is not there to harm them.
When using a collar and leash the ritual may be a little different. Cats tend to get used to collars rather fast, but if it has frills or a bell on it the cat may end up trying to rip the extras off. Most cats will chew on their collar for awhile and then give up, but if you add extras like a bow this behavior will continue.
Once your cat is used to the collar or harness, you can then begin to try to lead them around your home. To do this, simply tug gently when they are in an energetic mood and reward them when they work with you. Eventually your cat will be confident in walking beside you and giving you the ability to guide them.
Bringing Your Cat Outside
When you first take a feline outside, you may find one of two things happen. They either will want to run off in any direction they can or will cling to you like glue. To help with this situation, you may first want to take your pet outside in a carrier where they can observe the environment in a protected manner. You also may want to try carrying your pet in your arms or wrapping them in a blanket they like to get them to trust the surrounding a bit more. Always allow your pet to sniff around when you sit them down so they can have a comfortable grasp on all their senses.
If you have an adventurous cat on the other hand, be sure to use a firm hand when they try to run off. Make sure to start with a small area close to your house or car to bring your cat back to when he gets too rowdy. This will eventually teach them that running off equals the end of their adventure. Also, make sure to pick an area that isn’t frequented by prey animals that may distract your feline on a walk. If you come across a prey animal, watch your cat's body language for signs of interest or stalking. Make sure to always bring water on your walks as well to keep your pet hydrated so they won't wander to find needs.
Remember that some cats may take longer than others when getting used to new concepts. Any pet can be trained to grow familiar with walks with proper training and attention.
Always make sure your pet has had plenty of food, water, and rest before any training to get the best levels of cooperation out of them. If your cat simply seems unwilling to learn, turn to treats or sensory training to entice them into a willing to learn mood.
Always pay attention to your cat's body language to determine their exact mood during practice while walking. Successful training is directly connected to how well you can understand each other on a subject.
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