Even if you never plan on taking your cat on a walk outdoors there’s a good reason to leash train her. It can help with a new cat introduction, aggressive issues between companion cats or even when introducing a dog to your cat. If you’re dealing with a cat who displays offensive aggression toward companion pets in the home you can leash train her to help her stay “checked in” with you and at a safe distance from the target of her aggression. The fact that she can’t actively go after the target of her aggression can also help the other cat relax. This leads to an all-over relaxation in body language communication between the cats.
You can’t just slap a harness and leash on a cat and expect her to be comfortable and know what to do. The training process involves gradual desensitization. Start by getting a harness made for a cat and a lightweight leash. Initially, just leave the harness and leash on the floor for your cat to sniff and investigate. When she’s comfortable with that you can put the harness on loosely while kitty eats dinner or gets a super yummy treat. Gradually increase the time she wears it. Work up to being able to adjust the harness so that it fits appropriately. Next, attach the leash and hold it loosely while she walks around.
Make it Fun
Training sessions should be short, positive and fun. And just because you are able to train a cat to a leash doesn’t mean you don’t have to do the behavior modification necessary to help cats in a multicat environment develop a good relationship. You have to do the behavior work needed to give them a reason to like each other.
Need More Information?
For more information on leash-training, you can find step-by-step training information in any of Pam’s books, including Think Like a Cat.
Note: information in this blog is meant for general information purposes only. If your cat is displaying a behavior problem contact your veterinarian to rule out any underlying medical problem
Pam Johnson-Bennett is the star of Psycho Kitty airing on Discovery UK. She is author of seven best-selling books on cat behavior including Think Like a Cat: how to raise a well-adjusted cat – not a sour puss. Think Like a Cat has become known as the cat bible. Pam is considered a pioneer in the field of cat behavior consulting. In addition to her television series and public speaking engagements, Pam owns Cat Behavior Associates, a private veterinarian-referred behavior company in Nashville, TN. Cat Behavior Associates offers private cat behavior appointments on a limited basis. Pam Johnson-Bennett is a Certified Cat Behavior Consultant.