I'll admit that I've tried and failed to walk my cat on a leash before. I saw people doing it and it looked like fun. I figured it would be easy and my cat would love it right off the bat, but, well, not exactly.
That's why I invited Jackson Galaxy to give me some tips. Jackson's a cat expert with a great new book coming out called "Cat Daddy". He and a very lucky rescued cat named Lucky (of course!) showed me how leash-walking was done. His simple tips?
1) Know Thy Cat: Figure out if this is right for your cat. Not all cats will want to go outside. Look at your cat: if he or she is constantly looking out the window, chomping at the bit, then maybe it's something they'd like; if your cat is more timid and content to stay inside, then maybe it's not for them.
2) Be Patient: Work in baby steps, rewarding after every step as you go. Constant positive reinforcement is the key to getting cats to do what you want.
3) Distract and Reward: Getting your cat into a harness and onto a leash may be the toughest part! You may need to distract them to get them to go along with your plan....and remember to reward, reward, reward! Cats love treats and they'll work to get them.
4) Release Your Expectations: Walking a cat isn't like walking a dog. They'll take their time, they'll sniff, they'll sometimes drop to the ground and decide they're done. You'll have to realize that all of that is part of walking a cat.
5) Let Your Cat Explore: Sure, it won't be much of a walk for you, but it's a great time for your cat. Let your cat be, as Jackson calls it, a "territorial sponge": they'll sniff everything, feel things in their fur and whiskers, and enjoy playing explorer outside!
6) Know When to Quit: End on a high note. If your cat has had enough, then call it quits. It will take time to build up to a full walk, so be patient and work up to a longer walk as a goal.
Jackson's quick tips have inspired me to try out some of these tips on my own cat. We'll see how it goes!
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