YOU can’t train a cat, so don’t even try, we were told. But my hubby and I had no difficulty training our three-year-old domestic cat, Lorca, to walk on a leash – though technically he is the one taking us for walks!
We live in Target Kloof, one of PE’s busiest thoroughfares, and had already lost one cat, Tillie, to the road.
Lorca, like Tillie, was born into a feral colony before being rescued by Cat Care as a kitten. Ferals tend to wander and so we’d always kept him indoors, but with permanent access to a walled-off exterior courtyard filled with plants. Even so, our kitty deserved more freedom and we felt terribly guilty keeping him cooped up.
A body harness with a clip-on leash is by far the best option for a cat.
The first one we tried was meant for a Chihuahua; Lorca kept extricating himself with great ease, leading to several desperate dashes on our part. We replaced it with a very effective Rogz harness and leash system specially designed for cats. You can find these at most pet shops.
First make the cat used to wearing the harness on its own, keeping it on for a few hours a day for four to five days. Don’t venture outdoors yet. Next, also over a few days, get the cat accustomed to having the leash clipped on, still restricting the animal’s movements to a secure area. Within a week the cat should be ready to venture out.
These days we just say “walkies” and Lorca is ready to race out the door: he loves to explore the entire back and front garden, and even climbs trees with me in tow!