Walking the cat
Cats are not often associated with being walked, however that does not mean that it is impossible. Cats, like dogs, do like a little bit of outdoor exploration and a cat on a leash is the perfect way to let your cat roam the outside world safely. Cats that are already raised to be outdoor cats may not take to the leash well since they already do plenty of exploration on their own. The leash is more a way for indoor cats, who do not spend time outdoors, to safely explore and roam with their human companion.
Training your cat with the Harness
The first step is just to let the cat wear the harness around the house to let them get used to it. Since the harness attaches to the upper torso (around the neck and shoulders), it may take a while for the cat to get used to walking in the harness. Just make sure it is not too tight. Once they are used to the feel of the harness, you can attach the lead and let them drag that along behind them so they can feel its pull. This first stage usually takes place over a few days. You want to cat to be as comfortable as possible in the harness and leash before taking them outside.
When they are ready, you can start by taking the cat outside into your yard (or closest outside area) and just letting them wonder around with you holding the leash. After a few days the next step is taking it beyond the confines of your home and onto the streets. Just be careful of passing dogs since they may try to “play” with your cat. Try not to pull on your leash, since most cats don’t like being told where to go, so let your cat wonder at their own pace, exploring their new environments.
The important thing to remember when training your cat is to let your cat gradually get used to the idea of walking outside on a leash. They may be quite resistant if you try to make them do too much at once, so slowly taking it step by step is a good way to increase your likelihood of being able to walk your cat.
Walking young cats vs old cats
It is generally easier to train a younger cat to walk. They are still learning about what they like and dislike and are more inquisitive about the outside world. The important thing is consistency and letting the cat explore at its own pace.
Older cats may take longer to train since they are more reluctant to be on a leash and may already have mixed feelings about the outside world. It just means that an owner with an older cat will need more patience and you may need more encouragement from treats to get the cat feeling comfortable with the harness.
Not all cats will want to walk outside on a harness. If that is the case, just forcing them will do more damage than good. Respect their independence and you can always try again in a year when they are older and may be looking for more stimulating activities.