Teaching an adult cat to walk on leash.

Even your adult, older cat can learn to love a harness. Your cat deserves a life full of enrichment!

CAT TRAINING

Jackie Johnson

1/10/20221 min read

Can older cats learn to enjoy leashed adventures?

Let me paint a picture for you of a year ago.

Ever seen a husky refuse to walk? Like drop dead on the sidewalk and have to be dragged?

Now picture a five year old orange cat doing that every time he realized that we were headed for the car.

Claude didn’t pop out of the womb ready to go on adventures.

We worked to get him to the point he is at now, completely comfortable with his harness, responsive to leash pressure directions, and ready to adventure into...literally everywhere.

It took about a week to get him comfortable with the cars. From there I started taking him with me on smaller errands. Part of my weekly routine was to order take out. So instead of delivery he came with me on the short rides to pick up dinner. Going to get gas or coffee is another great short errand for pets to experience the car in a short time frame. We don’t want to shock them with a five hour journey, but give them a little exposure in the car and let them figure out that it’s fun and nothing bad is going to happen. Eventually they’ll figure out it can even be fun.

Creating a safe place is also important, particularly for cats, because when they spook they are going to want to run home. In the lack of a home, they’re going to run away from you and find somewhere that you probably won’t be able to find them.

To combat this, we can make our own home away from home for them. I left Claude’s carrier open in the back seat because he was just not comfortable being locked in (now he can be, we worked up to that), and this gave him a place to retreat to that he knew was safe and comfortable.

So yes, your older cat can absolutely learn to love its harness, leash, car, and all kinds of outdoor activities. It’s never too late!