How to train a kitten on a leash

Training a kitten on a lead is a great idea if you want to take him outside for a walk in the garden. Here are a few tips on how to train your kitty to like the lead and harness.

Leash Training

Step 1: Get your cat used to wearing the harness indoors.

Place the harness on your cat without the leash attached. Give him a treat or two with the harness on then slowly take the harness off. Only give treats when the harness is on, do not give treats when the harness is off. Repeat this process while gradually increasing the amount of time your cat wears the harness.

Step 2: Get your cat used to walking on the leash (without tension) indoors.

After your cat is comfortable with the harness, attach the leash to the harness. Begin by allowing your cat to walk around as you follow with the leash loose. After a short time, remove the harness and leash and repeat this process for a few days until your cat is relaxed and freely walking.

Step 3: Get your cat used to leash tension indoors.

While supervising, allow your cat to drag the leash behind him or her while freely moving around your home. This will allow your cat to feel and get comfortable with a little bit of leash tension. Always make sure to supervise this and never leave a leash or harness on an unsupervised cat.

Step 4: Walk your cat indoors.

Put on the harness and leash and follow your cat as in Step 2. After the cat has walked a bit, gently try to lead your cat in another direction. Use treats either dropped on the floor or held in your fingers to lure your cat and then reward for moving if you need to. Reward your cat with praise and treats if he walks on his own, too!

Step 5: Go Outside.

On a dry, temperate day, start by walking your cat to the door, opening the door, and encouraging him to go outside. To help with this, toss a treat one-foot outside the door to lure your cat. If your cat is frightened or hesitant, do not force him to go out. Instead, stop for the day and try again later.
Make sure to bring treats for your cat when walking outside. Keep the time spent outside to a few lovely minutes. When it comes to training, it is far better to end on a positive note than a negative one.

Can I introduce a second cat or kitten to my home successfully?

The answer to this question should be yes!

But sometimes introducing a new furry friend to a home that has the ‘’boss’ cat, can take time.

Are you wanting to get a friend for your cat as you are away from home, working, busy? Sometimes this is a great idea as cats generally love to interact with one another and play, have company and snuggle together.

Cats are ‘busy’’ creatures and not only is it entertaining for us to watch cats interacting with one another, it can be good for them.

Is she/he a relaxed and laid back cat or is he/she a ‘dominant’ and more demanding personality? This is important when choosing a new fury friend as the ‘wrong’ mix can have an unwanted outcome and an unhappy first cat.

If you have a dominant cat, it may be best to look at a more submissive, quiet cat that will not tray and ‘take over’. If your first cat is a laid back quiet cat, a suitable temperament may one similar to this.

Cats are territorial and they are the ones that will establish who will be the ‘boss’. Most of the time the first cat is as the home has been his/hers ‘own’ place forever however sometimes the dynamics change and the new cat becomes the ‘boss’.

However they work it out, is ok, as long as they get along.

Having a new cat move in can sometimes take time. This is ok.

Some tips on settling a new cat or kitten in:

1.) Introduce the new one slowly! Please don’t take kitty home and believe that your original cat will fall instantly in love with him/her! It is important to keep them separated for a period of time.

The best way is to put the new cat/ kitten in a small room, maybe a bathroom or laundry, with all he/she needs. The new one will need his/her own litter tray, water, food, scratching post, food and toys. This is also great for the new one as he/she has come from a completely different environment and may be a little scared as well.

Some cats settle in easier than others. If you give the new kitten the entire house to roam, there is more chance it will take a lot longer for him/her to settle in. He/she will hide under furniture and possibly not know where the litter box is as well.

Keep the new kitty in that room for a day, two, three even a week or so if needed. Your first cat will of course ‘’know’’ that there is a new fury friend around but that is ok.

2.) Once your new cat or kitten is home, you can carry out the important process of ‘scent swapping’. To do this, stroke each cat without washing your hands to mix scents and exchange bedding regularly. Also gather scents from the new cat’s head by gently stroking with a soft cloth and dabbing this around your home and furniture to mix with your existing cat’s scent. For this reason, it is useful to delay the cats/kittens from meeting for a few days or even a week. If you have bought in a new cat, let them explore the rest of the house when your first cat is not in those rooms.  Keep these initial interactions short at first and try to end on a positive note.

If either your first cat or new cat appears frightened, go back a few steps and keep them apart for a while longer. Continue scent swapping regularly and try again the next day. Do not be surprised if the two cats hiss and growl for a time period. This is normal and part of their territorial nature. If you keep these controlled, short meetings up regularly you should see an increase in both cats confidence and a reduction in the ‘’hissing’ ’as they become more familiar with each other, but if you don’t and are concerned about either cat’s safety, then it’s important to seek professional help or take further time for the introduction.

As things progress in the right direction, you can allow the two cats to interact more freely, but until you are sure they have become good friends, be present with them at all times. As all goes well and both cats are comfortable with each other you should see them start to bond and become friends.

3.) Ensure that your first cat continues to get the most attention. For example, always feed your original cat first and the new cat next. This is very important to prevent your first cat getting jealous and fearful that he/ she is now not your number one! If your first gets fed at 6am, continue that routine. The same rule applied to your play time and brush time with your first cat. Try not to change his/her routine too much.

There is no specific time frame that the cats will settle together, so please be patient and enjoy the process! Oh and take lots of photos!

Three ways to own a happy & healthy cat that loves you!

1. Keep your kitty indoors

If you train a kitten to stay indoors from a young age, he or she should not want to go outside hunting. The main thing is to provide plenty of entertainment for your cat in the home. Scratching posts, toys, boxes and beds are a great source of entertainment, especially if you are out for the day. Keeping your kitty indoors is important to protect him or her from parasites and environmental dangers, cars, getting lost, stolen or hurt. Indoor cats are usually healthier, too, which saves on veterinary bills for treatment of contagious diseases, parasites, and abscesses from fights with other animals. While it is true that cats enjoy sunshine, fresh air, and exercise, they do not need to go outside to be satisfied. Some cats can be taught to wear a harness, so they can go on a lead and walk supervised in the garden. If you have tried introducing your cat to the harness and you have been met with overwhelming resistance you may wish to consider the use of an outdoor enclosure, with a roof to prevent escape or have the sides angled inward at the top to prevent climbing over. Another option, if your housing situation can accommodate this, is to have two cats growing up together so they keep one another company and can play together. There are also many techniques that make it quite easy to introduce a new cat into a home where your cat has been the only cat.

2. Spay and neuter your cats

Entire cats are driven by hormones to try to escape outside to find a mate. By speying and neautering, you eliminate this added stress on your cat while at the same time minimizing the allure of the outdoors and chance of contributing to the unwanted cat population. Some people think that allowing your female cat to have one litter of kittens will make her a better natured cat, this is not so. Early age desexing is not harmful and will not only help your kitten settle into a wonderful new life, but the health risks for allowing her to ‘come into season’, find a male cat outside that could possibly carry diseases and have to birth kittens, will be eliminated. The other important aspect to bear in mind is that unless you are an ‘experienced’ or ‘registered’ breeder (in a cat society) of cats and know what to do with birthing and raising kittens, you are more likely to have concerns and complications that are dangerous to the mother cat’s health and the health of her kittens. These issues may lead to terrible health or even death of mother or kittens. There are considerable costs involved in breeding kittens that many people are not aware of. If you find yourself with a mother cat that has gifted you with some kittens, by all means make her comfortable and secure in a warm place and seek advice of how to raise these babies and find them loving homes. Ideally the kittens will need to be vet checked, wormed, flea treated, vaccinated, microchipped and desexed. There are rescue groups and vets that can certainly assist with information of what to do and help find the kittens good and loving homes. Breeding cats is not for the feint hearted and best to be left to the ‘experts’.

3. Love your cat! Domesticated cats crave human attention

It sounds simple but spending time each day, playing with him/her, cuddling, belly rubs, patting, brushing, talking, sitting with them and talking to them will help make a happy cat! Indoor cats do need access to activity that will stimulate both their mind and their body and provide the exercise that they would naturally engage in if they were out and about as well as interaction with their owners. There is no doubt that cats know how to get our attention. They ‘speak’ to us, giving a ‘solicitation purr’ to get their owner’s attention and to receive food. Cats may also use other subtle ways of interacting with us and we can use these to build the bond between us. If you are a cat owner, you will know that a cat seems to know ‘how you are feeling’, if you need more cuddles and attention from them today. Cats are extremely observant creatures, which means they may be picking up on habits you didn’t even know you had—especially when your emotions are running high or low. Even something like crying or laughing can be linked to some sort of action that benefits the cat—petting or praise, for example—that they’ll pick up on! Your cat can be a great coping mechanism for getting you past your blue mood. If you’re down in the dumps, don’t be afraid to give your cat some love—chances are, they’ll find you the next time you need a little TLC, even if it is for their own selfish purpose!