The sight of a cat on a leash may raise some eyebrows here and there, but it is quite possible to walk with a cat on a leash. The condition is that your cat finds this pleasant, otherwise it will soon refuse to walk with you.
There can be many reasons to leash your cat, for example, to let it get used to a new environment or because it is impossible or too dangerous to let the catwalk outside on its own. Unlike a dog, you don’t put a collar on a cat, but you use a harness for this.
Cat with harness and leash: not every day
When you think of a pet on a leash, you quickly think of a dog or at most a ferret. Some people have never seen a leashed cat. However, it is quite possible to go for a walk outside with a cat on a leash, provided the cat is up to it. After all, cats are known for rarely doing things they don’t feel like doing.
A cat that enthusiastically follows its owner on a leash is therefore usually a cat that enjoys going outside in this way. Vets will agree that if the cat is fine with it, there is no obstacle to leash it, as long as you do it in the right way.
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Reasons to leash on a cat
There can be many reasons to put a cat on a leash rather than let it go outside on its own. You can think of the following circumstances:
- You have just moved and the cat still needs to get used to its new environment. You want to teach your cat to recognize your house or complex from the outside as well.
- You want to teach a kitten to get used to the environment
- You live in a place where it is dangerous to leave the cat outside alone
- You live in a flat, apartment complex, or dorm room and the cat can’t come back in if you let it out alone
- You have a purebred cat and are afraid of theft if the catwalks outside alone
- You have taken over a cat from another owner where the cat was used to walking on a leash
Use a harness, not a collar
With dogs, you often see that a collar is used. Only a few are hoisted in a harness. However, if you are going to walk your cat on a leash, it is important to always use a harness and never a collar. Cats generally find a collar unpleasant.
The pressure on the neck can also make them stiffen and refuse to walk any further. By using a harness you can also give the cat better control and the pressure is better distributed over the body.
Choosing the right cat harness and getting your cat used to it
If you are going to buy a harness, it is best to choose a cat harness that is adjustable in size. It is important to have these connected properly so that the cat cannot wriggle out of it, but it is also not too tight. There should actually just be a finger between the cat and the harness, then you know that it is not too tight. It is also important to take a belt that is not too heavy.
A dog leash is therefore often not usable. Given that cats are usually lighter than dogs, other requirements are also imposed on the leash. A leash that is too heavy can really pull on the harness and this is unpleasant for your cat. It is, therefore, best to buy a leash, especially for cats. There are also elastic cat leashes.
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If you want to get your cat used to the harness, put it on once and let it sit for a while while you are just inside. In this way, your cat is already somewhat used to the feeling of the harness before actually going outside. As an intermediate step, even if you have a garden,
you can first go on a discovery tour in your own garden. When you go out with your cat on a leash for the first time, it is advisable to choose a time when it is not so busy on the street, for example early in the morning or late at night.
If your cat clearly indicates that he doesn’t want to be walked outside on a leash – for example by acting anxious or meowing very much – then don’t force him to do anything. As said, if a cat doesn’t want something, then so be it and you will have to accept it.