How to get your cat used to the harness and leash?

You have a dream: to be able to walk your cat, like a dog. Good news, it is entirely possible. Provided, however, that you prepare the ground with your feline. And for good reason, equipment such as a harness and a leash are absolutely unfamiliar to him. However, for him to agree to wear them on the first outing, you must familiarize him with these new objects. Here’s how!

1. Choose the right harness and leash for your cat

First step: choosing the material. In order to put the odds on your side for a successful walk on a leash with your cat, it is better to choose suitable equipment. Indeed, if your feline does not feel comfortable with it, there is a good chance that it will categorically refuse to go out.

It is therefore strongly recommended to go to a pet store with your hairball in order to make an informed choice. Indeed, in this way you can make him try different cat harness and opt for the one that seems best suited to your morphology and the most comfortable. Also think about the safety of your little protege: he should not be able to remove his harness on his own. Imagine if he managed to escape during the walk!

Good to know : if you prefer to buy online, be sure to take your cat’s measurements correctly (neck circumference and chest circumference).

cat leash harness walk
Credits: fotostok_pdv/iStock

Regarding the leash, you can offer several to your cat and observe the one he seems to like the most. But you will be holding the leash, so you must choose it according to your own ergonomic and aesthetic criteria.

2. Insert the harness and leash in its environment

Step Two: Make your newly chosen harness and leash an integral part of your cat’s environment.

As you know, the territory of our feline friends is of particular importance to them. They are the masters of the place and let it be known by depositing their pheromones (and therefore their smell) all over the house. It is also for this reason that when an unknown element bursts into their environment, they can be somewhat destabilized.

To gently accustom your cat to its new equipment, all you have to do is leave it in plain sight, in the center of the living room for example. And this for several days, even several weeks in a row. In this way, not only will the harness and the leash soak up the smell so comforting for your cat of his home, but in addition the latter will consider them as part of the furniture. He will therefore have less reason to be wary of it. when it’s time to wear them.

3. Make him wear the harness and leash

Third step: the learning phase. This is the most difficult phase, especially because everything will depend on the goodwill of your cat. If he stubbornly refuses to wear the harness and/or leash, unfortunately there is nothing you can do about it. In effect, it is out of the question to force it at the risk of traumatizing him further.

cat walking on a leash
Credits: iStock/senata

But let’s not be pessimistic. To familiarize your cat with wearing a harness and a leash, choose a time of day when he is calm and put the harness on first. Leave it like this for a few minutes before removing it.. Repeat the next day and the following days gradually increasing the duration. Once your cat has completely accepted the harness and is moving around the house with it as if nothing had happened, you can switch to a leash.

Repeat the same operation with the leash. Attach it to the harness for a few minutes the first time by letting it drag on the ground, then repeat the following days. When your cat gets used to it, you can finally try a first outing.

But be careful, always keep in mind that your cat is taking you for a walk and not the reverse ! So, if he wants to take three steps out of your house and sit for 20 minutes watching the passers-by, you will have to do the same. The secret is to follow his rhythmit’s the only way to make him want to start over.