Training a cat to walk in a harness

training a cat to walk in a harness

Ensuring our indoor cats get plenty of enrichment and exercise is important for both their physical and mental wellbeing, so training a cat to walk in a harness can help.

Especially if you don’t have the space for a cat run, or you’d like to allow them to safely explore the outdoors while under your supervision. It can be a rewarding experience for both you and your feline friend.

Steps to training a cat to walk in a harness

1. Choose the Right Equipment
Always ensure you have the appropriate equipment. The Rogz Urban Cat Control harness and lead set is a great choice as it’s specifically designed for cats, with soft webbing quick fit buckles and adjustable straps to provide a comfortable fit and secure control.

2. Getting Your Cat Comfortable
Before even attempting to put the harness on your cat, allow them to become familiar with it. Place the harness near their sleeping area or favourite spots so they can investigate and get accustomed to its presence.

3. Gradual Introduction
When it comes to training a cat to walk in a harness your cat seems comfortable with the harness, begin the training process by gradually introducing it to them. Start by simply draping the harness over their back for short periods, rewarding them with treats and praise for calm behaviour.

4. Putting on the Harness
Once your cat is comfortable with the harness, gently slip it onto them, making sure it’s snug but not too tight. Be patient and use positive reinforcement to encourage them to accept the harness. If they show signs of distress, take it off and try again later.

5. Practice Indoors
When training a cat to walk in a harness it is important that you start indoors. With the harness on, allow your cat to roam around indoors while supervised to help them get used to the sensation of wearing the harness and lead before venturing outside.

6. Introducing the Lead
Once your cat is comfortable indoors, attach the lead and allow them to drag it around while supervised to help them get used to the feeling of being tethered.

7. Moving outdoors
When you feel your cat is ready, take them outside on a lead for short, supervised walks. Start in a quiet, familiar area where there are no dogs, noisy traffic or other distractions around.

Remember cats are both a predator and prey species, so are more at risk of dog attacks when in public places than dogs are, plus they get anxious when in unfamiliar surroundings, so stick to an area you know well, and where no dogs are likely to be around.

8. Patience and Persistence
Remember, training a cat to walk in a harness and lead takes time and patience. Be consistent with your training efforts and always use positive reinforcement.

If your cat seems stressed or uncomfortable at any point, take a step back and proceed at their pace.

For more tips on exercising a cat, click here.

You can find the Rogz UrbanCat control harness and lead at participating pet stores and online.

About the Author: Dr Melissa Meehan is a highly experienced and respected veterinary surgeon with over 14 years experience. Dr Melissa obtained her Members in Small Animal Medicine through examination in 2008 and now runs her own veterinary ophthalmology service. 

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