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The Benefits of Lead Training Your Cat

April 19th, 2012, 01:47 PM
I've had my kitty, Zoe, for two months now. She is 9 years old and has always been an indoor/outdoor kitty.
I firmly believe that cats aren't safe outside in the city. So Zoe has become an indoor only cat. However, I knew this transition would be difficult for her. As a result, I decided to lead train her.
Lead train a 9 year old cat? Why not?

There are several reasons to lead train a cat:
-you have an outdoor cat you want to bring indoors, and will miss the fresh air
-you have an indoor cat who looks longingly out the window
-you want your cat (and yourself) to get more exercise and feel the outdoors is the place to do it!
-you live in an area where it is only safe for kitty to go outside on a lead

There are several things to bear in mind when deciding to lead train. The first is having a SECURE and COMFORTABLE lead/harness system. Cats are amazing when it comes to escape, and you NEED a good harness. I have found that the clip harnesses that are sold at most pet stores easily open when under a lot of pressure, so if you are going to use one-make sure they are securely fastened.
Zoe walks with a Mynwood Cat Jacket ( and loves it. Harnesses like the cat jacket are escape proof, comfortable, and affordable.

Another important thing is starting small and working your way up. Start by letting kitty wear their harness in the house. Then attach a leash, but stay inside. When you are ready to head outdoors, stay close to home and only go out for short walks at first. Always reward with affection or treats!

Bear in mind that walking a cat is NOTHING like walking a dog. You will not go out with the goal of walking x number of km... your cat will simply explore and meander around the area - and you, on the end of the lead, will follow. Eventually you will develop a system where you both know where you are going and that will make your walks more efficient.

So PLEASE, if you have an outdoor cat in an unsafe area, consider lead training... it will benefit everyone involved.

April 19th, 2012, 02:48 PM
Great advice. Even in areas that are not urban, kitties are better off being walked on a lead as there are dangers everywhere.

I've started my cats' training by having them get used to the feel of the harness while indoors, slowly add a small leash, letting the leash drag behind, Once they were used to that feeling I then started holding the leash and getting them used to feeling some resistance.

Just a warning to everybody, cats can slip out of harness easily and quickly by moving backwards when the leash is taunt. The link posted by zoemisha looks like a great harness if you plan on walking your kitty.

April 19th, 2012, 03:36 PM
Fab advice! Thanks for sharing it!

The only thing I'd like to add is that if it's an indoor cat that hasn't had shots in a while, that would be a wise thing to do if the cat is now going outside. :2cents: