If your cat enjoys the outdoors and you want to find a compromise, try training your cat to accept a harness and a lead! A harness is safer than a collar because it is more difficult for a cat to get out of one. First, get your cat used to wearing a harness indoors:
- The process is all about positive reinforcement – she should associate good things with wearing the harness. You can provide her favorite cat treats while she is wearing it, or put it on right before her mealtime to help her get used to the new sensation.
- Once she is used to wearing the harness, attach a thin leash to the harness and let her drag it around so she gets used to the tension.
- After she’s comfortable with that, pick up the leash and see if you can get her to follow you in the house. You may use more cat treats or something that she really likes to help coax her to follow along.
- Once she is comfortable with all of the above steps, you can now go outside. Make sure the first few times you lead your cat outside it’s a quiet time of day and start in the backyard or a place with less activity.
- To coax your cat to walk along with you, offer her special treats. You may also just sit someplace quiet in your yard, and let her explore while you hold on firmly to the end of the leash. Keep the first several sessions short so she does not become overwhelmed.
Take into consideration that grass and woods may be more interesting to your cat than a concrete sidewalk, but be sure they’re up to date on their vaccines and flea preventative before exploring the great outdoors. Remember, never leave your cat outside unattended for his or her safety.
For more animal safety tips, visit wihumane.org!