It is certainly a very common scene to see a dog being taken out on a leash … But what if instead of the dog we saw a nice big cat walking on a leash ?
Surely the scene could arouse some curiosity even if this is becoming an increasingly frequent practice among cat owners.
In fact, even if it is true that the cat is an autonomous, proud and independent animal, all qualities that are badly linked with being taken for a walk on a leash, it must be recognized that it is also a very intelligent and curious animal, which surely can only benefit from contact with the outside world. And here, for cats who for various reasons live mainly indoors, the option of a walk on a leash is not so out of place … Quite the contrary! It can be of great benefit to them.
But is it possible to educate the cat to use a leash?
Yes ! On the contrary: with the necessary precautions, a little love and patience, the kittens will also learn to appreciate the leash, when they manage to associate it with a nice walk in advance!
Cats are great explorers but often, if they live at home because they do not have the opportunity to take advantage of private and safe outdoor spaces, a good alternative could be to get them out safely thanks to the use of a leash!
THE RIGHT ACCESSORIES TO TAKE THE CAT OUTSIDE THE LEASH
The most important thing to know is that we don’t have to use the collar to take our feline friend out for a walk, because the animal takes it off easily, and also runs the risk of getting entangled, with the danger of injuring itself or worse. Instead, the more appropriate and safe alternative to the collar is that of use a harness .
Let’s make sure to buy the right harness for our pet, choosing it carefully based on the size but also the age of the cat. There are various sizes, but if the cat is particularly robust we can also opt for the smaller sizes of dog harnesses. The important thing is that you do not tighten the abdominal band too much but at the same time that it is not too wide , or the animal risks slipping it off or getting it caught in some obstacle.
But how to choose the right harness?
There are really many types of harnesses on the market… both as materials, as closures and shape. There are two most common forms: the so-called “H” and the “X” or “8”.
The most appreciated by cats and owners is certainly the “H” one because it is the most ergonomic, sturdy and easy to put on. It does not come off easily thanks to its enveloping, but at the same time it is soft and unobtrusive and for this reason it is well tolerated by our four-legged friends.
The one to “X” or “8” instead is less practical because it slips off more easily (with the consequent dangers we could imagine), and it is also more limiting for the movements of our cat. Definitely less ergonomic and comfortable then.
But are all cats set up to be taken out on a leash?
Obviously not. We will therefore have to have the sensitivity of evaluate the character of our cat. If he is shy, fearful and introverted, it may be better to avoid. As if the cat is very old and has always lived indoors, without ever experimenting with open spaces. Here, in these cases it could be more traumatic than benevolent the outdoor trip. Because if the animal is not used to interacting with the numerous stimuli of the outside world, we risk causing unnecessary stress.
HOW TO HABIT YOUR CAT TO GO OUT ON THE LEASH WITHOUT STRESS
The important thing is to proceed step by step , and carefully observe the behavior of our cat to understand when it is time to go further or when it is necessary to respect its spaces and times, with patience and love.
As a first step , we always recommend that you have the harness worn at home , and let it run a bit with this accessory for the rooms, so that the animal can become familiar with it in complete serenity.
Second step : when we see that the cat seems to have accepted this “dress”, then we can hook the leash and try to see how it reacts. Obviously this is always at home first, in an environment that the cat recognizes and feels safe.
Finally, third and last step : only after having the cat try and acclimatise the harness and leash in the apartment, will we be able to venture into the park closest to home .
Tip: If your cat seems reluctant to put on the harness, have him pair the harness and leash with something nice, like his favorite Life Pet Care snack ! Give them a few treats as a treat once they put on these accessories. So this operation will certainly be easier the next time.
A fundamental factor for the success of the walk on a leash is to immediately communicate serenity and tranquility to our cat. If we are the first to be stressed by this novelty, we cannot expect the animal to not be!
Then be careful to choose places that are away from busy roads and very crowded environments (both of people and other animals, especially dogs) and where there is no overload of external stimuli. Again, take it with you some Life biscuits , at least for the first few times, can certainly help!
We conclude by saying something that may seem obvious but is often forgotten: the cat is a very different animal from the dog , therefore we do not expect it to behave like its four-legged friend. when we take him out on a leash. The cat will not walk next to us, but rather in front of us, and certainly will not play to bring you back the stick!
The purpose of letting the cat go outside , albeit controlled and safely on a leash, is to enrich its existence thanks to the discovery of new stimuli and to be able to indulge its explorer and adventurer nature.