Has anybody tried 'leash training' their cat?

Meowmee

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If I buy him like a shirt or a sweatshirt and put it over the harness do you think he would be able to Houdini himself out of the harness and treats should work I tried this with spooky she went nuts
If he is going to escape, I am not sure because each situation / cat is different, he maybe able to with the shirt as well. You need to get a harness that fits properly and that is tight enough. I used a small dog harness for my kitties since they escaped from all of the cat harnesses I tried.

He needs to wear it inside for a while and you can try walking him inside to see how it goes. Some cats are probably too skittish to be walked outside, they may get too excited, especially if they have never been outside.
 

BellaBlue82

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I've offered the option to all my cats, and I agree you have to do your research on harnesses for fit. I measured each of my cats, then ordered a few appropriate sized wrap around harnesses. They are a little adjustable (so that I can snug them enough around their bodies) and I let them wear them around the house first. I worked my way up from a few minutes at a time in the house, up to a few hours. We're at the point that I can take out the harnesses and they come running because they know it means they get to see outside!! 😁 I live in a city like area, so we only go into the back yard, but they're all well behaved and acclimated to the harness now.
Good luck!
 
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JimmyL

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Most cats escape a harness either because of a shoddy harness or owner screwup...either the harness is not put on right, or the owner has no comprehension of how to use the leash:
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The above illustrates both a shoddy harness, and a clueless owner helping the cat escape by pulling on the leash from the front. Using a harness and leash is pretty much like everything else. One needs to know what he is doing before doing it. It starts with buying a decent harness, figuring out how to put it on correctly, how to get the cat used to wearing it, and lastly the actual mechanics of leash walking. Youtube has videos on each aspect.
Picking a cat harness:
Personally I would avoid any harness that looks like the one in the first (cat escaping the harness) video. These are too easy to escape, even if you don't pull on the leash the wrong way. All the cat has to do is get one elbow into the tummy strap, and it's a done deal.
Putting a harness on:
Leash training:
Brilliant. Thanks
 

danteshuman

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Jackie is harnessed trained.I do walk him but he is very slow, always stopping to sniff or look at something he wants to hunt. He also gets time on his long leash to just hang out, he just wants to crouch by or under a bush and hunt things with his eyes. Lately he has taken to sitting on my lap while looking out the open sliding glass door until he spies something he wants to hunt for part of his outside time! 🤣 (I read or play games on my tablet during his non walk outside time.)

My advice? Get your cat used to wearing a harness inside first, then dragging a short leash around inside the house and finally open the door and let them explore at their own pace. Your job is to follow them. You want your cat 100% comfortable eating/sleeping/playing in their harness for about a half hour before you go to the next step. I started him off as a baby kitten and it started with just put on, take off, give treats. Gradually over a month I got him used to longer and longer periods of time. I did distract him with play, treats & cuddles.

⭐always give treats when you take off the harness.

⭐take your cat out at the same time every day to help reduce begging.
 

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danteshuman

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Jackie’s neck is the same size as his head. So if he gets the leash caught on something he can wiggle backwards out of it in seconds. (I have tried multiple harness types.) What works for me is keeping a very close eye on him (& avoiding letting him catch his leash on something) and if I see him trying to escape I hold the leash in a straight up&down line from my hand to his harness. He can’t escape that way & I can always pull up slightly (not enough to jerk him or lift his paws!) to get him to stop.

I leave my sliding glass door open when he is out. The rare times he has gotten spooked I dropped the leash and let him run home, to his safe place. (No cars.)It is easier to catch him by stepping on the leash then chasing him down after he escapes his harness in a blind panic. 🤷🏻‍♀️ I’m still trying to get my scaredy cat to go further then ?1/3? Or?1/2 a block that he considers safe to roam. If he sees people walking towards him he turns around and wants to go back to my porch..... even if they are 50ft or more away! Bikes, electric wheel chairs, canes and large dogs really freak him out! (I live in a retirement community!)
 

Novus888

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I've offered the option to all my cats, and I agree you have to do your research on harnesses for fit. I measured each of my cats, then ordered a few appropriate sized wrap around harnesses. They are a little adjustable (so that I can snug them enough around their bodies) and I let them wear them around the house first. I worked my way up from a few minutes at a time in the house, up to a few hours. We're at the point that I can take out the harnesses and they come running because they know it means they get to see outside!! 😁 I live in a city like area, so we only go into the back yard, but they're all well behaved and acclimated to the harness now.
Good luck!
One hopes I can get Buddy to the same "point". Right now he seems intrigued by the stroller (hanging out by it, sniffing it, whisker rubs, and trying to climb it). The sight of the harness gets the instant 'ears back, run and hide' action. He doesn't understand that to get the stroller ride he has to take the harness.
 

pawdre

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Should You Leash Walk Your Cat? | Ask the Cat Daddy - Jackson Galaxy

Jackson Galaxy has several videos on this as well. I had three cats who were leash trained and Fiona was one of them. It can be done in steps, carefully, and with some cautions as @di and bob stated.

My husband ran into a woman at a local park the other day who had an orange male cat on a lead. The cat seemed very tentative and when my husband approached, as he loves orange boy cats, she told him to keep back because the cat was unpredictable. The park has a lot of dogs who visit and the whole thing was a recipe for disaster.....so take things into consideration to keep your cat safe.
I’m currently leash training my two boys. 6 and 5 months. I don’t think they would hurt other humans but they do get scared when they get close and I get more worried about escape. It just takes some time. My orange boy was really scared at first but now he doesn’t mind, I think he’s ready for humans to go up him but I’ve had him longer than my grey tabby, we’re still working with him. But it’s a process. I think I started with my orange boy, Simba at 3 months, so it’s been a few months for him. My grey boy, Mikey, is just starting. He’s been out on the harness a only couple times.
 

BoaztheAdventureCat

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My mainly outdoor cat comes in some of the time, but I am thinking of bringing him in full time, but taking him out regularly on a leash. Any tips and advice for those who've tried this would be welcome.

Thanks

James
Great idea. I suggest this playlist:
 

fionasmom

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He looks very sharp in his shirt! Does he actually get outside without the leash?
 

Willowwombat

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I just made sure that having the harness on was a prelude to a good playtime with a wand toy. As soon as I put the harness on I started playing. When she was used to the harness, I attached the leash and walked around holding the leash and playing with the toy. When she was used to that I walked her to the door and opened it. Once she associated the harness and leash with going outside, it was a breeze.
 
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JimmyL

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Some of these tips have been amazingly helpful - thanks very much.

I think there is a distinction between taking the cat out on a leash for countryside walks and taking them outside to get used to their immediate environment.

My wife and I have just moved to a very quiet cul-de-sac where (one of our) cats will eventually be fine outside. I have been leash training him (see video below) so that he can lay down his scent, and find his way back when he gets let out independently.

I do not want to tug on the leash at all, but a leash that extends automatically would also not be a good idea; he has tried to climb walls, jump fences, go under cars under gates; places I would not have been able to follow him, so I need to restraint him somewhat.

I take him out for 15 minutes at a time. At the start, he is quite casual but by the end, he is very grumpy with me; he gets more confident and curious and doesn't like being prevented from jumping over fences and on high walls. Occasionally he tries to sprint off, but when the leash becomes taut, he automatically gets pulled back

Do others have similar experiences?

Here's the video (please excuse the dodgy soundtrack!):


Thanks to you all!

James
 

Willowwombat

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My Willow did that until I started to take her father afield on our property. If your cat is bold and doesn't run from dogs and cares, and your neighbours keep their dogs leashed and fenced, he may be willing to go down the road a bit for an actual walk.

It does take them time to understand that when they're on the leash they can't do what they want. Just keep at it. Eventually we got to the point where the time outside is half walk, half lying in the shade with me reading a book and her catching bugs and nattering at birds. It got to be our favourite time together and we enjoy it all summer.

I did initially allow my girl to climb one particular tree up to the point where she could sit on a low crook in the tree with me holding the leash. She got to understand that that was her limit, and she liked being a mountain lion up there for ten or fifteen minutes. She also learned that going up means coming down, and that means jumping down and landing hard, and eventually she just stopped wanting to climb.
 

donkeyslong

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Start out in the house and once they get used to the harness, then take them to a area where there is no traffic or many people and start very slowly. I have found that rabbitgoo cat leash works very well, just get the appropriate size and sometimes you may need to go up or down in size. Also don't force them, let them have fun and enjoy it too. I have one kitten size and a small cat size for the harness. My bengal walks a little but after a half a mile he wants to sit in his kitty backpack. Now my other kitten is just full of energy, he wants to keep walking even after a mile. Also the reason I like rabbitgoo, is because when they walk it puts pressure on the shoulders and not the neck that some harnesses do but there are alot that do the same thing.
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