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Discussion Starter #1
Hi guys, I am wondering if anyone has leash trained their cat?
I am thinking of click training and leash training Pazu. He misses being outside, and I am not going to let him out unless he has a harness and leash for safety.
Anyone with success?
I also heard that this can be good for decreasing anxiety in kitties.

I'm rapidly being viewed as a crazy cat lady in my circle, lol,
But anything to pass the time until we get a new kitty and also keep bonding and engaging Pazu
 

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I was going to get around eventually to asking this question myself at some point. My landlord has purchased the lot next to our building, and he wants to turn it into enclosed lawn space so we tenants have a place to hang out outside. I was thinking that might be useful so my kitty can get a little outdoor time, but I wouldn't be comfortable taking the cat outside without a leash.

So, I'm just as curious about this!
 

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The risk you run is your cat wanting out ALL the time. My friends who have tried this (along with just letting them on the patio, in the yard, etc.) have regretted it.
 

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Discussion Starter #4
Yeah, we live in rural New England, and have 5 acres of woods and open lawn. But the main road is just through the woods. The woods with fox, bear, FisherCats, coyote, mink, and not to forget the neighbors cat eating dog.

But I have lovely gardens, and a very peaceful yard. He loves looking at the birds on his catio, but I thought this might be a good activity for us to do together.

I am thinking clicker training first, as that might help him accept wearing the harness ? Positive associations with food and all that?
 

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Discussion Starter #5
Marie, I know, I wondered about that, but he actually HAS escaped no less than 5 times, so I was thinking this would be a Safer way to satisfy that need...
 

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Discussion Starter #6
We are fixing the bad outside doors before spring, he was able to get them all open, even when latched. :(
And I am not willing to just let him out. He is too precious, and possibly a bit stupid (said with love and honesty).
 

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Marie, I know, I wondered about that, but he actually HAS escaped no less than 5 times, so I was thinking this would be a Safer way to satisfy that need...
That's the thing, if he wants out badly now, I don't know if letting him out would be good or bad. But I have no experience with clicker training or leash training, so I'm not really much help.

My bratz got out the other evening, and they were outside about 10-15 minutes before I even realized it (new place, didn't realize the back door can be pushed open unless you lock it). Now they hang out at the back door sometimes and get excited whenever I go out that way. As if.
 

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Discussion Starter #8
OMG it is the worst when they get out!!
I don't know if it will escalate his desire or quench it to be out on a leash. Maybe worth a try at this point, as he can't get much worse...sigh. Plus, bonus, there is SNOW on the ground, may make him appreciate the indoors!
 

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I would love to see how my girls would react to snow! :grin: (But not enough to go back to living with it. :shock: )
 

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I've leash-trained one of my cats, while the other one is quasi-leash trained. I didn't read any books or follow any online guides, so my "training" wasn't at all methodical. In my case, it boiled down to one single task: the ability to quickly put the harness on a squirming, uncooperative feline, so I'm not sure if my form of training really counts.

Once you can easily put on the harness, the toughest part is complete. Leash control is next. First of all, I would heartily recommend using a double-loop harness at the very least: a single loop around the neck would absolutely place too much force on the cat should you need to exercise any amount of control (which you will need to). You can get double-looped harnesses with only one clip (two separate clips to fasten the neck and torso loops just means a more challenging time to put on the harness). Don't pull straight back on the leash, try to pull at a 45 degree angle from behind. Basically, try to reduce the amount of force applied to the loop around the neck, which can be very sensitive even to minimal amount of strain.

A lot of guides recommend introducing the outside world very slowly. My cats had the opposite problem. One was a stray, so being outdoors was 2nd nature, while the other one inherited her mom's door-dashing tendencies and love of the outside world. So all I needed to worry about was getting the cats used to the harness.

As has already been pointed out, be prepared for your cat to want to go out ALL THE TIME.

The reasons I walked my cat was to keep my sanity during those early days when Newt was driving me crazing pawing at the door to get out - taking her out on walks was the only compromise available to me. Also, I found it much easier to take my cats to the vet on a leash vs. in a carrier. Both my cats have some type of cat-carrier phobia, to the point where I thought they would hurt themselves trying to get out when locked inside one.

Having said all that, I don't take my cats out on a walk frequently. Never during the winter, and 2-3 times a month at other times. Newton only goes out for vet appointments; his outdoor inclinations are learned from mom, and mostly under control.

 

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I never leash trained Mocha....but both her and Tela (my son's cat .... They moved out just before Mocha passed) were "outside trained". Mocha would not go down the stairs without me for most of her life. In the last few months, she would go down the stairs to her favourite patch of grass, take her few bites, and then right back up inside. Tela was in mid- stage training....she needed supervision, but would not step off the patio and stayed within 3 feet of a "human". They basically trained themselves....they figured out what we let them do, how far they could go before we called their name, and what resulted in an immediate scoop up and lugged inside. The one time each took off for a big explore.....they didn't get to go out for a week (forever in their language)!


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Discussion Starter #13
Interesting to read people's experiences, ....
I think I will start with the clicker training first and see how it goes...
 

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Truman was door darting on us every day. We couldn't stop him. He is a very restless boy and has ever been infatuated with the outdoors. After two years we gave in and bought him a cat jacket. Now, he asks to go outside rather than lurking by the door, and if the weather and time is permitting (he doesn't like the cold, and sometimes we have to prove to him that it's cold... lol), we take him out to the backyard and hook him up to an anchored lead so he can walk around and sniff the grass, flowers, etc. Only under close supervision, of course.

This has made a huge difference in his quality of life. He's much happier now.

 

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Discussion Starter #17
Wow! What a looker!

Off to the store this afternoon, I do think it will help with Pazu's melancholy to have something to do together, new training, possible outside time with me on the other end of the leash...
 

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Clicker training is fun and a nice bonding experience. It's pretty easy too if you look up some video guides on youtube. You can use dog clicker videos, it's mostly the same thing.

I leashed trained Hachi but don't really take him out anymore. I don't want him door dashing and he's scared enough that if he goes outside and strays more than a couple feet away from me he bolts back to the door. It was quite easy. Worst part for me was getting him to not be afraid of the leash hanging from the harness to me.
 

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I use to swear by leash training, and by taking cats around their home (if only in your arms) at least once or twice so if heaven forbid they were to get out they could know where there home was, until I met the ultimate door dasher.

Every cat and kitten I have cared for and fostered I have trained (accustomed) to a leash, frankly it's the best way for people to meet a kitty in a large environment without a dedicated cat room, and provides a safety net for kitties and people alike.
My own cats wear a harness and leash in their carriers whenever they travel as neither is particularly fond of the car, the vet, or transitions in general as they age. They do like a bit of sun outside at times or a chance to stalk a few bugs in the shrubs but are easily brought back in.

With all of this my answer was once quite simple and clear, of course this is a grand idea. I do think harness and leash training are good things, outside may or may not be a good option depending on the cat and only you can decide.

My mother's cat, once a foster of mine and thusly harness and leash trained, will not ever be taken outside for walks or sun or anything except by carrier. One trip to the yard by leash was all it took to turn a sweet tempered 2 year old house cat, spayed and raised indoors from kitten hood to become a door dashing, screen clawing, wanting to be outside all the time, yes even in the snow, cat going on for almost 3 years or so now.

One trip changed everything, although to be fair the trip was arranged because the cat showed interest in the first place. Interest was replaced with insistence with one simple walk that repercussions of which still haunt my the family as the cat must be locked away for gatherings so none of the rest of us accidentally let it out all these years later. it is like a bell that cannot be unrung. Top it all off with it's Houdini like ability to twist out of a harness and I have learned to adjust making an all inclusive statement about anything to do with cats!
N
 

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Discussion Starter #20
Yep, pazu's prior escapes and forays outside have already turned him into a door dasher and he has to be put away if we have visitors as he'll get out via front door, back door, basement through the garage. He is a clever thing ,...

Thank you for sharing viewpoints
 
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