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Training To Walk On A Leash?

post #1 of 14
Thread Starter 
does anyone have any opinions about this or ideas on how to? thanks )

post #2 of 14
I briefly tried and never pursued it, due to alot of inexperience on my part at the time.

My advice - start as young as possible, so if you're lucky enough to be considering this with a kitten it should be easier than with an adult.

Use a harness rather than a collar and leash, and if your cat is really small, you can try a harness for ferrets.

Rub them all over with their harness a few times to get their scent on it, and then let them wear the harness for a short time for a few days, increasing in lenght to let them get used to it before you try to attach the lead and try to walk with it. Expect it to take a while for them to understand what's going on and the walks to be very short at first.

Hopefully someone with a bit more practical experience can advise you better, but that's my two cents.

Good luck.

Edited: just hit me who you are - sorry! You kitty is a bit older than the ideal age, so expect it to take a little longer. The more patient you are, ultimately the more likely it will work eventually (as with everything).
post #3 of 14
Zissou is leash trained. We've gotten to the point where she'll follow me unless she gets distracted, she comes inside and runs up the stairs to my door ahead of me, and she doesn't even notice the leash/harness.

In my opinion, if your cat currently shows absolutely no interest in going outside, it can create the problem that they know what they're missing and for a few weeks after you start taking them out they freak out and meow at the door ALL the time. They calm down after awhile.

Begin by finding a good quality harness that is either a walking jacket or an H-style harness. The cheap ones are a figure-8, and they are two loops that are adjusted through a big honking piece of plastic in the middle. These are less than ideal for many reasons, the most important two being that cats can get out of them and they strangle your cat if you tug on them. An H-style doesn't do this, and IMO the best harness is one that connects to the leash on the back between the shoulders and not the neck. Here is the one I have:
http://www.lupinepet.com/cat/index.html (down the page)

Then, you have to get your cat used to the harness before you even think about going outside. Satai had a good idea to get their scent on it first. After that, put their harness on and fit it correctly. Around the neck, it should be just looser than a collar (two fingers in between, but not snug as a collar is) and the ribcage part should be a little tighter (when the cat breathes in, fit two fingers in just barely).

Once the harness is on and fitted, leave the cat be until she stops acting weird. Some will fall over and refuse to move, some will go psycho kitty, some will attack the harness like a demon, some will be okay but walk all hunched over. It is helpful to give them their wet food or treats or play a favorite game each time you put the harness on. Harness-wearing cats MUST be supervised at all times. Do this again the next day and the next day and the next day and so on.

Once they stop freaking out about their harness-- meaning they do not act any different with it on than with it off-- attach the lead and get them used to being attached to you. If they don't seem super-bothered by it, take them outside. Just open the door, and follow her. If she (he? it doesn't say) wants to sit in the door a while, let her. If she bolts right out, follow her. Stay out for just a few minutes, then bring her back in. Take the harness off immediately. From this point on, the harness should only be on when you are on your walks.

The process of training should take one-two weeks.

A few other tips I've heard:
When you are doing the original getting-comfy-with-the-harness training, do something to help them associate it with being outside, like open a window and let them sit in it.
Also, I've heard that if you carry your cat in and out the door and put them down once outside or inside, they don't think they can just go in and out without you. I think most cats are smarter than that, but it's worth a try.

Good luck!
post #4 of 14
Thread Starter 
thanks for the advice )
post #5 of 14
I take my two boys out on harness & leash, and the only thing I can add to the above advice is that if you have multiple cats, only take them out one at a time.
post #6 of 14
My cats go out on harnesses and leash, but it isn't true "walking": I drop the leash and watch. The leash is for my foot to stomp on when they're deciding to be little brats and run away from me when it's time to come back inside. I don't let them outside anymore because I'm just SO tired of cats constantly wanting outside. Willow and Molly are doing well (Willow got bored of the outdoors some years ago), but Molly will scream and meow and bellow out to the world if I go outside without her (I once got to the end of the street and could still hear her. I swear our neighbourhood is the inventor of echos).

As an experiment, I tried teaching Buffy to walk with a leash. She's a quick learner (despite my family thinking she's the dumbest of the three) and caught on quickly. One thing I'VE learned is that walking a cat isn't like walking a dog, not my dog anyway. With a dog, it's fast paced, or in my dog's case, you get dragged. With a cat, she'll walk maybe 10 feet and then stop to smell something in the grass (and then maybe pounce on it), then she'll look back and forth, look behind her down the street, and then with a light tug on the leash from me (with a "tsk tsk tsk") she'll resume her walking. I don't take her far, just to either end of the street and back. My plan was to try to take her out a few times a day on such walks in the hopes that she wouldn't be so desperate to sneak out, and that walking like we do is more stimulating (instead of sitting for hours watching birds, then pouncing on bugs, then sitting and staring some more). Unfortunately I can't find the harness, so we haven't gone on a "walk" for over a week. And you can tell. My eardrums are begging for sympathy.
post #7 of 14
Thread Starter 
wow, thats totally making me have 2nd thoughts about trying it lol. i dont want to start behavior problems. i think what i might do is occasionally take her out into the backyard only on the harness, that way maybe she wont associate it with whenever i go somewhere through the front door.

by the way i wouldnt worry about your cat not getting enough stimulation just sitting and staring all the time, even wild cats who are outside all the time just lay around and stare all day until its time to go stalk something
post #8 of 14
Originally Posted by Zissou'sMom
Also, I've heard that if you carry your cat in and out the door and put them down once outside or inside, they don't think they can just go in and out without you. I think most cats are smarter than that, but it's worth a try.
I would certainly disagree about carrying them back in. I let my four walk in so that they know that they can get into the safety of the house when they choose.

The point of carrying them out is so that they learn that they go out with you.

Mine seem to abide by the rules, but they don't get near an open - to the outside - door anyway!
post #9 of 14
Originally Posted by jaycee
by the way i wouldnt worry about your cat not getting enough stimulation just sitting and staring all the time, even wild cats who are outside all the time just lay around and stare all day until its time to go stalk something
Well, I'm not sure if it's stimulation or exercise I'm thinking of. I've seen many instances of Buffy coming back inside after doing her own thing outside (sometimes on leash, sometimes when she sneaks out and runs free). But the times I've taken Buffy on a "walk" to the end of the street and back, she's definitely gotten something out of it. One time she started panting, but that might have just been because of the heat (it was one of the hotter days), but each time she's pretty calm by the time I carry her back inside. And it was just a little walk! lol. 5-10 minutes of a walk that I control sure beats 5 hours of freedom after she escapes from the house and we can't find her.
post #10 of 14
Sar- yea, I was offering that as something I'd heard. I let Zissou out and in on her own volition. And she has finally learned which door is hers, a few weeks before moving!
post #11 of 14
Stoli goes out on his harness and leash. he likes it and makes 'friends' where ever he goes. he's the resident hisser. he thinks the world revolves around him. yesterday my hubby drove to the pet store and i took stoli along without his carrrier, just his harness and leash. it was great!!!
post #12 of 14
I've toyed with the idea of walking Inky from time to time -- but I'm afraid that if I introduce him to the world outside, he'll want to go out alll of the time. I have a studio (one l-shaped room) apartment, so it would be nice to extend his world beyojnd the screened window that he sits in to cackle at goings on outside. He would go out through the door when I leave in the morning if I let him, but he doesn't sit at the door and meow now. I've also considered geting him a large cage so that he could be outside on the porch when I'm home, but again, I don't know if I'd be creating a bigger problem than I'm solving.

One interesting thing though: he does like to ride in the car and will do so for several hours without complaining. He likes to sit in his carrier anyway, so I try to take him for an hour's ride at least once a week. Not really the same as walking on a leash, but at least he gets some outside stimulation.

post #13 of 14
I've really been debating to myself about this topic for awhile. My two cats have never been outside, except for the exception of going to the doctors. And i mainly have two concerns, the first one has already been stated. I'm afraid that my cats will want to go out all the time and i'm also afraid that they'd get too confortable with the outside world and run away. The second conceren i have is them getting flears and ticks and all that bad stuff. I keep my home compleltly flea free. The only time we had fleas was when we brought hailey home and along with brining her home, we brought fleas and Zoe got them and they where everywhere. so ya.
post #14 of 14
If you use a topical flea & tick preventative (I use Frontline Plus) and a heartworm preventative (I use Heartgard) you don't have to worry about that last concern.
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