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Training Your Cat to Walk on a Leash

Does your Carmel kitty howl, scratch at the door, or frequently try to slip outside? If so, you may want to consider leash walking.

Indoor cats are generally healthier and live longer than outdoor cats, but some felines get restless and tend to feel cooped up if they can’t get out and explore. Cats need stimulation, and if your home isn’t offering enough, your indoor furball could develop behavioral issues. Indoor/outdoor cats, on the other hand, may seem to have the best of both worlds – free range and a warm bed to come home to – but are at risk from predators, cars, and other dangers. Teaching your cat to walk on a leash will allow your kitty to safely enjoy and explore the outdoors and burn off some excess energy. Just like with humans, getting some exercise will help Kitty calm down and stop her from feeling restless.

In order for your feline friend to enjoy the benefits of leash walking, you’ve got to get Fluffy used to the leash. Cats respond better to positive reinforcement, as discipline doesn’t always quite get through to those kitty brains. The first time you try to harness your furball, you’ll want to choose a time when Kitty is hungry. Put the harness on her, and then immediately give her one of her favorite treats. If your cat is full, she won’t be very interested in the treats, and you’ll have a harder time getting her to associate the leash with positive connotations. You’ll want to repeat this process several times over the course of about a week. Once your feline friend is used to the harness, you’ll be able to add the leash.

Don’t be surprised if your cat is hesitant at first. Kitty may take a few steps, and then stop. That’s fine. Give her a treat, and have another session later. Repeat this step until your cat is comfortable walking around your home on a leash. When it’s time to take Kitty outside, pay close attention to her behavior. If she seems scared by traffic or commotion, try bringing her to a park. Make sure not to choose a park where there are off-leash dogs running around.

Much of your success will depend on your furball’s temperament. Some cats want absolutely nothing to do with leashes, and if Kitty has her mind made up, you may not have much luck changing it.

You might find that leash walking works wonders on your Carmel cat. You may find that your feline buddy is calmer, happier, and cuddlier after she takes you for a walk!

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