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Harness Training A Cat: Your Ultimate Guide to Leash Train your Cat

  • 10 min read

Hello, cat lovers! Welcome back to PurrfectJourney, your go-to source for all things feline. Today’s blog post is all about harness training a cat. You might be wondering, “Can cats really be trained to walk on a leash?” The answer is a resounding yes! In this detailed guide, we’ll delve into the process, benefits, and best practices of cat leash training. So, let’s dive right in!

Importance of Cat Harness and Leash

Leash training a cat, ambitious? Maybe. Rewarding? Absolutely! Teaching your furball to strut their stuff on a leash can open up a world of exciting outdoor adventures for them. Imagine your cat safely exploring the mysteries of your backyard, meeting new insect friends, sniffing out fresh scents – it’s an explorer’s dream!

Plus, let’s not forget that it’s not just about satisfying their boundless kitty curiosity. Leash training can also be a fantastic way to help your cat stay fit and active. It’s the perfect combo of physical exercise and mental gymnastics.

Think about it – your cat, taking in the great outdoors while securely harnessed and leashed, all under your watchful eye. It’s like a VIP tour of the wild side, with you as their personal guide! And who knows? You might find leash training your cat to be a delightful experience for you too. So, why not give it a whirl? Your kitty might just surprise you!

harness training a cat

Is It Safe To Use A Harness on A Cat?

Absolutely! Harnesses are designed to distribute pressure evenly across your cat’s chest and shoulders, reducing the risk of injury. Harnesses provide more control and safety compared to a collar, particularly if your cat gets spooked or tries to run off.

Pros and Cons of Cat Harness Training

Like any training tool, a cat harness has its pros and cons. Let’s discuss them a bit:


    1. Allows your cat to safely explore the outdoors.

    1. Provides a secure way to travel with your kitten.

    1. Can help manage certain behavioral issues, like aggression or restlessness.


    1. Some cats might feel uncomfortable or restricted.

    1. It requires time and patience to harness train your cat.

    1. Not all cats will adjust to lead and tether training.

Harness Training a Cat: Before You Begin

Before you jump into the world of cat leash training, there are a few things you need to consider. Let’s go through them step-by-step.

Get your Cat Right Harness and Leash

The first step is choosing the perfect cat lead and tether. Look for a harness that is snug but comfortable, adjustable, and made from durable materials to walk your cat. There are two main types: the H-style harness and the figure-eight harness. It’s essential to select a harness that fits your cat’s body shape and size. For the leash, a lightweight, 4-6 foot long leash will do the trick. This best cat harness buying guide from Adventure Cats could be helpful.

 A cat walking outdoors with a harness and leash

Introduce the Harness 

Before putting the harness on your cat, let them sniff and explore it. This helps your kitty associate the harness with a positive experience. You can also give them treats while they’re checking it out to create a positive connection. The SPCA Medicine Hat has a great article on positive reinforcement in cats that you might find useful.

Let the Kitty Explore the Harness and Leash

Now that your cat and the harness have had some quality time indoors, it’s time to kick things up a notch. Lay the harness on the floor and invite your kitty over for a closer look. Don’t be surprised if they give it a gentle paw tap or decide it’s the perfect spot for a nap – that’s a great sign! It means they’re getting comfortable with the harness.

Get your cat a chance to explore the harness in their own time, they’ll start to realize it’s not a scary object. Instead, it’s something that’s part of their world. This little trick is all about letting your cat familiarize themselves with the feel and smell of the harness, making it less of an alien object and more of an everyday item. Baby steps, remember? Slowly but surely, your cat will become more and more comfortable with the presence of the harness.

Put the Harness on While Being Indoors

Time for the next big step – actually putting the harness on your feline friend! Before you do this, make sure you’re in a quiet, familiar space indoors. A place where your cat feels at ease is perfect. You don’t want to add any unnecessary stress or distractions to the mix.

Begin with short sessions. It might just be a case of ‘harness on, treat, harness off’ to start. Just like with everything else, your kitty’s comfort is our top priority. So, if they’re not feeling it, it’s totally okay to call it quits for the day and try again tomorrow.

As your cat starts getting used to the feeling of wearing the harness, you can start to gradually extend the time they spend in it. Don’t forget those treats and cuddles though! Let’s keep this a positive experience for your kitty. Remember, we’re aiming for a happy, confident cat who sees the harness as a ticket to fun adventures, not something to be scared of!

How to Put a Harness Correctly

To put the harness on your cat, follow these steps:

    1. Place the harness on the ground with the straps open.

    1. Gently lift your cat and position them over the harness.

    1. Fasten the straps around their chest and neck, making sure it’s snug but not too tight. You should be able to fit one or two fingers between the harness and your cat’s body.

Attach the Leash

You’re doing great, and so is your cat! The next milestone on our journey is attaching the tether to the harness. Now, this can feel a bit strange for your cat initially because of the extra weight. So, it’s a good idea to let them explore around the house with the tether dragging behind. This gives them the chance to get used to how it feels without any added pressure.

Just make sure to keep an eye on them while they’re on this mini indoor adventure. You wouldn’t want the tether getting caught on anything. You’ll probably see some truly hilarious ‘backwards walking’ as they figure out this new appendage, but remember, it’s all part of the process. And soon enough, they’ll be strutting around like they were born with a tether attached! Remember to keep the encouragement and treats coming – this is a big step for your little explorer!

Gradually Increase the Time Duration of Harness

As your cat becomes more comfortable with the lead and tether, gradually increase the time they spend wearing it. This will help them build a positive association with the harness and make the transition to outdoor walks smoother.

If your cat shows any signs of distress or discomfort, remove the harness and try again later. Remember, patience is key when it comes to harness training a cat.

Tips for Leash Walking

Here are a few tips to help make your cat’s tether-walking experience successful:

    1. Start in a quiet, familiar area. Before venturing into the great outdoors, start tether training in a quiet area of your home or yard.

    1. Use treats and positive reinforcement. Encourage your cat to walk on the tether by rewarding them with treats and praise. This reinforces the positive association with the lead and tether.

    1. Pay attention to your cat’s body language. If your cat seems anxious or scared, take a break and try again later. Remember, the goal is to make this a positive experience for your cat.

    1. Be patient and consistent. Harness training a cat takes time and patience. Be consistent with your training, and don’t rush the process.

For more tips on cat behavior and training, check out our Cat Behavior Guide.


Harness training a cat can be a fun and rewarding experience for both you and your feline friend. With patience, consistency, and plenty of positive reinforcement, your cat can learn to enjoy walks in the great outdoors safely.

Keep in mind that every cat is different, and what works for one might not work for another. Always listen to your cat and adjust your training methods to suit their needs and comfort level. Remember, patience is key when it comes to harness training a cat. Every cat is unique, and while some may take to a harness like a fish to water, others may require a bit more coaxing. That’s okay! Just follow the steps in this guide, stay patient and consistent, and soon you’ll have a cat who’s ready to explore the great outdoors safely and happily with you.

As always, thanks for stopping by PurrfectJourney! If you found this article helpful, please share it with your fellow cat lovers. Don’t forget to check out our other informative posts on cat care, behavior, and more. Happy training!

For more guides and tips on living your best life with your feline friend, don’t forget to check out our other blog posts. And if you found this post useful, please share it with your fellow cat lovers. The more we share, the more we help cats live happier, healthier lives. Stay purr-fect!


Can you really train a cat to walk on a tether?

Yes, you can! With patience and the right equipment, you can harness train your cat to walk on a tether.

Is it safe to use a harness on a cat?

Absolutely. A well-fitted harness is a safe and effective tool for cat tether training. It distributes pressure evenly across your cat’s chest and shoulders, reducing the risk of injury.

What are the benefits of using a cat lead and tether?

Harness training allows your cat to safely explore the outdoors, providing them with mental stimulation and physical exercise. It also offers a secure way to travel with your cat.

How do I get my cat used to a lead and tether?

Start by letting your cat sniff and explore the lead and tether. Then, gradually introduce the harness by putting it on your cat indoors and letting them wear it for short periods. As they get more comfortable, you can attach the leash and eventually start taking your cat outside.

How long does it take to harness train a cat?

Every cat is different, so the training period can vary. Some cats may adjust to the lead and tether within a few days, while others may take several weeks. Patience and consistency are key during the training process.

What should I do if my cat doesn’t like the harness?

If your cat seems uncomfortable or stressed, remove the harness and try again later. Try associating the harness with positive experiences, like treats or playtime. If your cat continues to resist the harness, consult with a professional cat trainer or a vet for further guidance.

Can all cats be tether trained?

While many cats can be trained to walk on a leash, not all cats will enjoy it. It’s important to respect your cat’s comfort level and never force them to wear a harness or walk on a leash if they’re not comfortable.

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Anum Basit

Anum Basit

Anum Basit is the founder of PurrfectJourney, a cat travel blog that provides expert insights and advice for cat owners who love to travel. As a lifelong cat lover, Anum has gained extensive knowledge and experience in the field of cat travel. She understands the unique challenges that cat owners face when traveling with their feline companions and is committed to providing informative and engaging content that helps them navigate these challenges with ease. Anum's passion for cat travel has inspired her to create a platform where cat owners can find valuable information and resources for traveling with their furry friends. Follow her on PurrfectJourney for the latest insights and tips on cat travel!