Dogs typically get their exercise from a daily walk. Believe it or not, some cats -- though far from all -- also perk up at the sight and sound of a leash.
Cats who walk willingly on a leash are generally introduced to the idea as kittens. In addition, some "doglike" breeds tend to be more amenable than others to wearing a leash. The most likely leash-wearers are:
- Russian Blue
- Colorpoint Shorthair
- Oriental Shorthair
Because cats have delicate necks, it's best to attach a leash to a harness that fits over the chest rather than to a collar. The harness should fit snugly but be loose enough for you to slip one finger under a strap.
- Start out indoors. Practice in the safe and familiar environs of your own home before taking your cat outside on a leash.
- Slip on the harness, attach the leash, and gently hold the leash while you follow your cat as she walks around.
- Treat it as a fun game, not a chore, and don't put any pressure on your pet. Praise and reward her for each successful leash session, but don't punish her if she doesn't like the leash. Cats will either take willingly to a leash or not. If your cat has no interest in being harnessed and taken for a stroll, don't force her -- drop the idea.
- Don't expect the leash to enable you to control your cat's movements, as it would with a dog. Even though you're holding the leash, your cat is actually walking you -- you're just following her lead. If you need to get her out of harm's way quickly, scoop her up and carry her.
- Don't expect to train your cat to eliminate outside while on the leash, as dogs do. The litter box is still a necessity; your walks are just for fun.