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How to Leash Walk a Cat


Here is a Q&A with one of my Twitter followers:

Q: Jennifer, do you have anything like a procedure to train cats to walk with a leash? I have been working with a Bengal for the last 3 months, they live in an apartment and the goal is to be able to take her out on a leash. She is walking in the hallway already and I am using tuna as my primary reinforcement. I would like to know if you have ideas about techniques to continue improving this behavior. I have amazing days but I have real bad ones. On bad days, she has no interest about food or my presence at all, she is not even a little excited about tuna.

A: She may be moody due to pent-up energy. Bengals are so beautiful, but they require more responsibility than the average cat. They are high-energy cats, and need a lot of play and exercise. She needs a Bengal wheel, or another way she can exercise each day (in addition to leash walking). It sounds like you already have her comfortable in a harness. That is the first step. A few hours prior to the walking session, the cat parent should withhold food to make sure kitty is hungry. The motivational treat used (tuna, etc) should be only given during walking time. Make sure to take her farther on the walk only when she seems confident. Some cats need baby steps, but leash walking is especially helpful to Bengals.


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