Walking your feline friend on a leash is a superb way to cure your cat's boredom and get them some exercise without having to worry about them freely roaming around your neighborhood. Training a cat to do anything is no easy task, and most of the time, your cat will do their own thing whether you've trained them or not. That being said, training your cat to walk on a leash is easier than most training exercises, especially if your little lion loves to explore the great outdoors.
The most important part of training your cat to walk on a leash to get them comfortable wearing a harness. It's unlikely your cat will take to their harness straight away, so it's essential you get them used to it over time.
First, you'll want to purchase a harness specially for cats and not a small dog harness, as a small dog harness won't fit your cat correctly and may cause discomfort. You should also ensure your chosen harness is lightweight and doesn't feature any heavy chains that may limit movement.
As well as getting your cat used to wearing a harness, it's integral your cat gets used to being outside with a leash and harness. Easing your cat into walking on a leash will help prevent them from feeling threatened or scared while outside. Start with walks around your garden (if possible) or just a short walk around the block in an area they're familiar with.
Once you've trained your cat to wear a leash, you should avoid rewarding bad behavior. For example, your excitable feline may cry at the door begging you to take them for a walk. You shouldn't walk your cat when they're crying, as they'll see this as a way of getting walks in the future. You should also carry your cat outside when it's time for a walk and not let them walk out of the house on their own. The reason for this is your cat may take to dashing out the front door, whether they're on a leash or not.
You should begin training your cat from a young age — just make sure your cat's harness isn't too small and they aren't able to slip it off during your walk. By training your cat from a kitten, they'll be more accepting of their leash; however, it's possible to train older cats. It's also worth considering your cat's breed, as some cats will be more accepting of harnesses than others. For example, Ragdolls are notoriously easy to handle and adapt well to walking on a leash.