Most cats welcome the chance to go outdoors. But unless your cat is exclusively an outdoors cat, youll probably want to have some control over her adventures while shes outdoors. With a little patience and some serious rewards, it is possible to train your cat to walk on a halter. This will allow you to go outdoors with your cat, while limiting her activities for safety reasons.
Cats are notoriously independent, but also very intelligent. This means that while your cat is certainly capable of learning how to walk on a halter, she may not be particularly interested in it. Therefore, its best to start training your cat to walk on a halter when shes just a kitten, although older cats can be taught as well. This just takes a little extra patience.
The first thing you'll need to do is purchase a halter for your cat. Dont attempt to train your cat to walk on a leash using a collar. Instead, purchase a halter that slips over your cats front legs and fastens around her chest and back. There should also be a place to attach a leash at the cat's back. This distributes the force of the leash evenly across her body, rather than creating a single pressure point. The halter should fit snugly, but not tight. In addition, it should be made of a comfortable material and have no spots or pieces that would irritate your cat.
Once you have the halter, its time to start training. However, when training your cat, remember that cats respond better to praise than to punishment. Remember also that cats can be stubborn training will happen according to your cat's timetable, not yours.
The next step is to let your cat get used to the halter and leash. You might place them near where she sleeps or just place them nearby you while youre holding her. Allow several days for your cat to get used to the look and smell of the halter and leash before attempting to put them on her.
Your next challenge is to put the halter on your cat. Some experts recommend doing this just before mealtime, feeding your cat her favorite meal and giving her lots of praise. This sets up an atmosphere of positive reinforcement hopefully, your cat will associate her favorite food and praise with the halter. You can also give your cat her favorite treat only when shes wearing the halter, or spend some extra time playing with her before, during and after trying on the harness. To help distract your cat from the halter, you may also want to play with her using his favorite toy. Over the course of several days, allow your cat to wear the halter for longer periods of time. The goal is to have your cat wear the halter without complaint.
Once your cat has adapted to wearing the halter, its time to attach the leash. Dont hold on to the leash at first, but let your cat drag it around behind her, observing carefully so that she doesnt get tangled up. Again, offer plenty of praise. You want to develop positive associations surrounding the halter experience. Spend a few days letting your cat get used to having the leash attached.
Next, its time to pick up the leash and hold it. Follow your cat around, but allow the leash to remain slack. Once your cat is used to having you hold the leash, begin to allow your cat to experience some tension on the leash, only in very small amounts at first. The more slowly and gradually you proceed, the more likely you are to be successful. Slowly work toward getting your cat to go in the direction you want. Its a good idea at first to tempt your cat by calling her or offering treats. Soon, shell begin to associate going in the direction you desire with treats or praise.
When its finally time to go outdoors with your cat, begin slowly and progressively increase the amount of time spent outdoors. The outdoors will give your cat so many new sounds, smells, and sights, that shell be captivated, but you want to be careful not to overwhelm her at first.