Outdoor cats face a lot of dangers. From coyotes, to cars, to fights with other cats, there are many threats to cats that spend a lot of time outside. However, being outdoors is not without its perks. A little sunshine and some exercise is certainly beneficial.
So, how do owners expose their feline companions to the great outdoors without putting them at risk? The answer is a harness and a leash. The idea of walking a cat on a leash may seem a little absurd to some, but just think of all the fresh air and exercise your cat could enjoy.
Try these tips for training your cat to walk on a leash:
- Be prepared: Before venturing outdoors, make sure your cat is wearing a collar with an ID tag or has a microchip. Also be sure that your cat’s vaccinations are up-to-date and they are receiving monthly parasite protection.
- Opt for a harness: Cats aren’t likely to feel comfortable being jerked around by the neck, so it’s best to attach their leash to a harness instead of a collar. Purchase a well-fitting harness so that your cat feels comfortable and secure.
- Introduce the leash inside the house: Attaching your cat to a leash and heading outdoors is a lot to take in all at once. Just let your kitty drag the leash around your house for a few minutes to introduce the idea.
- Take it slow: Your first trip outside doesn’t need to be a long excursion. Start with just 5 minutes of exposure to the outside world and gradually increase from there.
- Offer rewards: Make sure your cat associates this activity with something positive by offering treats.
- Know when to give up: As great as it would be for your kitty to spend some time outside, some cats just aren’t going to like the idea. If the experience is causing too much stress for your feline friend, it’s probably best to give the leash a break.
If walking your cat doesn’t prove to be a positive experience, you can always install an indoor window perch to give your feline best friend a taste of the outdoors. Indoor exercise can be encouraged with interactive toys.