We have Coos the cat since a bit more than one year now. It was not the initial though to get a cat and take him to do some hikes with us. However, I decided to try if it was possible to train him to walk in a leash.
We started when he was really small, maybe 5-6 months old,1 to train him to wear a harness. He is now wearing already his third harness – so much he has grown.
In the beginning he wore the harness just for a few minutes inside, but really quickly he got used to the harness. As soon as he was comfortable wearing the harness (ie not walking like he was walking on a trampoline), we went to our backyard to explore.
I recommend to use in the beginning a soft leash (not a flexi type of leash) because if the cat gets scared and gets loose, the soft leash follows him softly when a flexi leash would make him even more scared.
When he was used to being in the backyard relaxed wearing the harness connected to a leash, we started training to travel with car. The car was a bit scary place in the beginning. The new sounds and the movement. We started training just getting to the car, starting the engine, sitting for a moment still him in my lap without moving the car and then stopping the engine and the exercise.
Quite soon we started to go for small rides, and I got him his own tiny seat belt. He prefers the seat belt ove the travel cage – it gives so much more freedom for him, but in case of quick stop or accident, he is safe anyway.
When he was used to travel with the car, we started exploring the parks nearby at the quiet times. I get nowadays quite early up and some weekend mornings we were already at 06:30 in the park before the dog owners woke up.
Step by step we went to more populated times to the park. He is still not used to dogs, he has not gotten enough exposure to them, I think. Or maybe he never will get to used to dogs.
I’m not an experienced cat trainer. Coos is my first cat. I used to be a dog person before and had two dogs at our home when I was a youngster. I am actually training the cat like I would train a dog. The only difference I have noticed so far is that a cat needs so much more time to get to used to the new environment.
Today we walked a new path next to our home where dogs are not allowed. We went a bit more than 1 km, spending approx an hour on that trip. Sometimes going forward, sometimes backward. Coos likes to go back and forth. I think he likes the movement, but is a bit scared of the new environment. When he has ones walked the path, he enjoys going a bit back because it is already safe environment.