Harness training a cat can be useful if you want your feline friend to join you on walks or other outdoor activities. If you've ever been frustrated by your cat's refusal to walk on a leash, you're not alone. Cats are notoriously independent creatures, and that can make harness training them seem like an impossible task.
However, with a little patience and perseverance, it is possible to train your cat to walk calmly on a leash. Here are some simple tips to help you get started.
Choosing the Right Harness
There are many different types of cat harnesses on the market, so it's important to find one that is comfortable and well-fitting for your feline friend. We highly recommend purchasing a harness that is designed especially for cats, as a small dog harness may not fit properly. We recently reviewed five of the best harnesses for cats, check this out for more information.
Let Your Cat Get Used to the Harness
Before you even think about attaching a leash, let your cat wear the harness around the house for a few days so that he or she can get used to the feel of it. You may even want to have a treat or two handy to reward your cat when it does well.
You can put treats in your pocket or a small baggie but bear in mind that soft or wet treats can get nasty if kept in your pocket. For those, perhaps use a small hip pouch to hold them.
If your cat seems nervous around the harness, before even wearing it, let it sit around the house for a few days first so they can see and sniff it. Some cats may have had an unhappy experience with a harness in the past, and if so, it may require more adjustment for them at first.
When putting the harness on them for the first time, take it slowly, and if they seem nervous or reluctant when you start putting it on them back off for a while and try again later.
Start Gradually With a Short Leash
Once your cat is comfortable wearing the harness, attach a short leash (no more than 2 feet long) and let him or her drag it around for a while. This will help your cat get used to the idea of being tethered to something.
When your cat seems comfortable with the short leash, start taking him or her on short walks around the house. Just take things slowly at first and let your cat lead the way. If your cat gets scared or seems uncomfortable, stop and try again another day.
The Ultimate Requirement
Be patient! Harness training a cat takes time and patience – there's no need to rush things. Depending on your cat, and how often you are able to work with them, this process can take weeks or even months.
Just remember to go slowly and be consistent, and you'll eventually have a kitty companion who loves taking leisurely strolls around the neighborhood (on a leash, of course).
Harness training a cat may seem like a daunting task, but it is possible with patience and consistency! We hope these tips help you learn how to harness train a cat and get started on this (ultimately) rewarding venture!