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64–67 Weeks: What to Expect From Your Kitten

Five Reasons to Keep Your Cat Indoors :: Fresh Air Without Danger: A Guide to Outdoor Enclosures :: How to Train Your Cat to Walk on a Leash :: Tips for Moving House with Your Cat

How to Train Your Cat to Walk on a Leash

If building a cat enclosure is too much for you to handle, but you still want your cat to have a taste of outdoor life, try training her to walk on a leash:

  1. Before you begin, buy a harness and a lightweight leash with a secure clip. Make sure the harness is made for cats, not dogs. Once you've bought the harness and leash, put them near your cat's sleeping area and leave it there for several days to accustom her to its appearance and smell.

  2. Wait until just before her mealtime and put the harness on. Immediately feed her something extra-yummy and praise her when she's done eating. Let her wear the harness for a while. If it seems to bother her, distract her by playing with a favorite toy.

  3. When your cat seems to be accustomed to the harness, take it off. Repeat this step for several days, leaving the harness on longer each time.

  4. Next, attach the leash to the harness and let your cat walk around the house dragging the leash. Watch her carefully to make sure she doesn't get tangled up somewhere. Praise her for being so good and give her a treat and some love. Repeat this step for a few days until your cat seems to accept the harness and leash.

  5. After you've accomplished this, let your cat walk around as usual, but pick up your end of the leash and follow her in her wanderings. Keep the leash slack so the tension doesn't restrict her movements: the goal here is just to get her used to feeling the leash in its proper position. Practice this step for a few days, then teach your cat to follow you by talking to her sweetly and lightly pulling on the lead. Don't yank on the lead or fight her.

  6. Once your cat has gotten used to walking with you, you're ready to move outdoors. Take your first walks in your own back yard or in a quiet area. If your cat starts to get anxious, take her inside and let her calm down. Gradually increase her exposure to the sights and sounds of your area until she feels totally comfortable on a leash.

Two important things to keep in mind:

  • Some cats never get used to walking on a leash. Don't try to force her to get used to something she can't tolerate.

  • Be sure to carry your cat through the door so she doesn't get the idea that she can walk out of the house on her own.

Advice from Other Cat Owners 

How to Stop Kittens from Playing too Rough

Get your kittens used to having their claws trimmed now. Ask a vet, a vet tech or a groomer to show you how to trim their claws. If you start now, they will be used to it by the time they are adult cats and won't fight you. Also, understand that you are now the "mama cat."

When the kittens start going at it and you see it's getting rough, separate them even if you have to put one in another room until it calms down. When they realize they will be separated from the fun, they'll think twice before being so rough.

You can also wear them out by playing with them yourself. This is important in socializing them. Get a feather teaser pole or a laser light and play with them. You can also try furry catnip mice, and other toys to keep them occupied. They'll get tired out and won't be so rough on each other.

~Joy W., owner of Maine Coon mix

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