Who has not dreamed of taking a cat with you for a walk? If your little cat lives in an apartment, without the possibility of going out to play outside, it may be wise to teach him to go out on a leash to make him take a little air. Only, we warn you, this learning can be (very) long and difficult …
1. Buy a harness
There is no question that you equip your cat with a collar. Why ? Because a necklace could hurt the cervical vertebrae, trachea and larynx of your hairball when it tries to struggle during the first walks on a leash. The harness allows a better distribution of the weight at the level of the body and thus presents little risk of injuries. Note that this recommendation is also valid for dogs.
2. Accustom him to the harness
For a cat to be able to support the feeling of the harness on his back, he must first get used to seeing it in his living space. Let him hang out for a few days on the ground so that your cat comes and smells it. Once this first phase has passed, put him on the harness for several minutes each day so that he becomes familiar with this new impression. The ideal moment is the one before the meal. Indeed, when he eats, he will forget the presence of the harness. Do not forget to give him a little treat by removing him. The day your cat does not try to remove his harness, you can go on to learn the leash.
3. Choose a leash
There are leashes specially designed for cats. The ideal is to opt for a long leash, light and elastic to leave a little freedom to the cat. Once the leash is chosen, put your harness on your cat and attach the leash. Then let her hang out behind him. The goal is that, as with the harness, he gets used to his presence. Then take the leash in your hands and let your cat point you in the direction he wants. After a few days, try to gently impose your own routes. If he does not struggle, reward him with great strokes of caresses and treats.
4. Do not force him to go out
It is essential not to force your cat to do something he does not want to do. Indeed, felines have a sensitive memory, that is, if they associate a bad moment with a particular situation or object, there is no chance that they will repeat the experience. The outside environment can be particularly stressful for a cat. If your cat gets scared at the time of his first outing and you force him to stay, he will be terrified all his life by just walking through the door. Prudence, so …
5. Take it out in a quiet environment
Street noise and movement can be scary for our four-legged friends. For the first outings of your cat, choose a quiet place like a park, a garden or a balcony. At first, keep the leash short, then as your cat relaxes, lie down. And do not forget, with each little victory, a treat!
6. Do not pull on the leash
If you encounter an external source of panic for your cat (a dog for example), do not pull on the leash to bring it back to your side. Indeed, it will only terrorize him further. Take him in your arms and caress him while talking to him softly.
7. Increase the walking time gradually
During the first walk on a leash, do not exceed 5 minutes, at the risk of flooding your cat too much information at once. Then, as you go out, increase the ride time. However, it is not recommended to detach the cat, even once the latter completely accustomed to the outside world. It is enough that he hears a noise that he does not know to escape or take refuge in a tree.