This is Fitz. He’s a super active kitty who LOVES to go outside. Unfortunately, living in the city we don’t have a safe area for him and his siblings to play outside so they are mainly indoor cats. Watching him sit at the window dreaming of chasing birds and catching bugs breaks my heart so here we are training him to go outside on a leash. I figure if a chihuahua half his size can do it, why can’t he???
Fast forward to today and you can see he’s happily walking outside with his sister Fancy. Follow these 3 steps to see if your cats will like going for walks too!
STEP 1: Get your cat comfortable in a harness
Find your kitties a harness that fits them at your local pet store or online and let them wear it around the house to get comfortable. Make sure they can’t wriggle their furry little bods out of it and give them a treat to keep them happy in it! I chose a lower cost harness since I wasn’t sure if Fitz would take to being walked but there are higher quality more comfortable walking vests out there (like the highly rated kitty holster).
STEP 2: Walk them inside
Attach a leash to their harness and try walking them around the house, it will make a huge difference to have them used to the leash before they have all the sights and sounds of the outside world to distract them.
STEP 3: Take them outside!
Sounds easy right? Unfortunately that’s not the end of it. Once you’re outside your cat may be timid and run to hide under anything they can find or (like Fitz) go wild with all the new things to sniff and catch, so find the most private area you can where there’s not TOO many distractions (read: no loud dogs). I practiced in a backyard but if you don’t have access to a backyard your local park will do!
The key here is PATIENCE. Fitz’s leash was tied around the patio furniture in seconds, however, after an hour outside he was walking along the pathway like a pro.
He still took a break to smell the roses.
And a quick nap along the way.
I found after letting them walk wherever they wanted for a while (which meant chasing them around just trying not to tangle the leash) they were much more susceptible to walking where I wanted them to go and are now excited when the harnesses come out because they know it means they get to go outside!
Do you walk your cat??? Let us know if you have any other tips!