Training a cat to walk on a leash is a task that will require some dedication. It is not by any means difficult, but it does take a little time and energy. Be prepared to put a some time into it.
- Firstly, make sure your cat loves to be around you. Try calling him over when you are on the other side of the room. If he loves to come over and be with you while you pet him and snuggle with him, then he should have no problem following you around either.
- The second step is finding a treat that your cat loves. If you are a person that gives your kitty treats every day you will already know this step and it will be easy! Cats can be quite particular, though, so before training with treats make sure he loves those little tasty morsels. You might have to try a few different flavors.
- Thirdly, buy a leash and harness. Make sure the collar, or harness, is not one that just goes around your cat’s neck, it has to go on his stomach as well, and have a little clip on the back. This way, your cat can’t just wiggle right out of the collar if he decides to get flighty like all cats do.
Leave the leash and harness around the house, maybe on the floor by his kitty bed, or perhaps over by where he likes to lounge in the sun. Cats are curious, and they will look at this harness, and hopefully accept it. Once your cat is familiar with the harness, you can try putting it on.
Give your kitty a treat when putting on the harness to distract him a little, and then slip it right over him and clasp it quickly before he gets away! It’s ok if he is a little skittish about his first time wearing a harness. Cats don’t wear harnesses in the wild, so it will feel abnormal to him.
Do not put the leash on right away. Let him walk around the house, and wear the harness for a while, because he needs to get accustomed to the feeling of it around his body. It shouldn’t restrict your cat’s leg movements or be on too tight, but it will seem a little strange to him at first.
After he looks comfortable in the harness, break out the leash and give it a try! You never know until you try. Make sure those tasty treats are in your pocket, though, because that will keep your cat’s attention.
When asking him to come over, coax him over with a treat, pet his head and neck nicely, and then offer him the treat. Offer him another one. Pet him again. You are looking for him to stay by you, even though you had just recently surprised him with that harness that he is still getting used to. When he gives you a little purring noise, attach the leash at the top of the harness.
Now this is the important part because just having your cat attached to the end of a leash is not going to make him come with you. Use kind words and set out some treats in a little trail in front of your cat about 1.5 feet apart from one another. Every time your cat goes to the next treat takes a step forward. This way your cat will get used to moving forward as your body is moving forward.
Before you take your cat anywhere and expect him to stay on the leash and walk with you, I would suggest practicing this every day for at least one week. He should get more willing to put the harness on and leave it on for extended periods of time, and then when you walk with him he should follow. It is important to reward your kitty with kind words, treats, and a little neck rub to remind him that you love him and you want to give him all the attention in the world, which is why you want him to be with you everywhere and follow you on that leash.