Cat Collars and Leads
Cat Collars and Leads
Most people will happily walk their dog, fewer people walk their cats. You may not be aware that cats can learn to walk on a lead. There are harnesses, and leads designed just for cats. Some cat owners have taken to walking their cats to avoid disputes with neighbours or where road traffic is heavy.
Cat collars are not normally designed to be used with a cat lead. The shape of a cat's head makes it too easy for a collar attached to a lead to pop right off. Instead, collars are used for other reasons. They place jeweled or patterned collars on their cats simply because they like the way these collars look. Other people use cat collars to hold I.D. tags, so that their cat more easily identified as their cats found. Of course, a common reason for putting a collar on a cat is to warn birds of his approach. Collars with bells on them may be a low tech alarm system, but they work. Finally some owners use a flea collar to ward off fleas.
Whatever an owners reason for investing in a collar I would recommend that a snag proof version is used. These are designed to let a cat escape if the collar becomes entangled. Every year many cats are strangled unnecessarily when their collars are caught in hanging articles such the branches of a tree.
Cat harnesses are specially designed to stay securely on a cat, even when the cat is on a lead. You can buy a simple nylon harness for your cat or you can find more deluxe models that look more like padded vests. As long as the harness is completely adjustable, it should work well.
Cat leads can be standard leads or retractable models. Whichever type of lead you choose be sure that it is lightweight enough to allow your cat to move easily under its weight. Retractable leads are ideal for people who want to allow their cats to explore their surroundings in a park or other traffic safe area, but want to keep the cats close by when they are walking to and from their homes.
To train your cat to walking on a lead, you should use a variation of techniques to used to train dogs. Cats like Dogs respond well to praise, the difference is Cats do not respond well to negative correction; so giving a quick tug on the lead when they do not stay at your side will not teach a cat to heel. Instead, praise your cat when he does what you want and ignore him when he does the wrong thing. Be realistic, although you can teach your cat to tolerate a lead, don't expect cats to consistently heel on command.
Like most animals even humans the best results can be achieved when starting training early. The easiest way to teach your cat is to use a lead is to start when it is a young kitten of eight to ten weeks old. Place the harness on your cat and allow it to walk about completely unrestrained. After a few days, add the lead. Be sure that you do not apply any pressure. Once your cat is used to the lead, you can pick it up and teach it that it is ok for you to be on the other end of the lead. Gently apply pressure to the lead and call your cat to you. Praise the cat softly when it responds. Eventually, he will become used to following you when he is on his lead.