Why Does My Cat... Refuse to Go For a Walk on a Leash?

Don't put the harness on right away. At first, aim to get your cat used to just seeing the harness, then eventually touching and smelling it, before attempting to put it on. Do something pleasurable — like playing your kitty’s favorite game or rewarding her with treats — whenever the harness is around.

Take it slow with the training. Once you've graduated to putting the harness on your cat, attach the leash, and allow your feline to drag it around for a while. Encourage her to follow you, rewarding her when she does.

When you're ready to pick up the leash, hold it gently, but don’t pull on it or try to lead her right away. Over the course of several days, spend five to 10 minutes, two or three times a day, working with your kitty.

“If she takes to the harness, gradually increase the duration of time she spends wearing it,” suggests Dr. Sueda.“If she doesn't love it, keep the sessions short and fun.” When she’s comfortable, try to get her to walk around the house, while holding the leash. If she refuses to budge, encourage her with praise.

Once you're ready to take her outside, start with a quick walk in the yard or a short jaunt to the car and back.

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