When our cats were about two years old, we had to take them on a 1200-mile road trip to move to Idaho. We knew that they’d be in strange places like hotel rooms and probably would not appreciate these unfamiliar environments. Because cats tend to run from things they don’t like, we invested in harnesses and leashes, so we could hang on to them.
The idea of walking a cat on a leash may seem silly to some people, but if you have an indoor cat, taking her for a walk can be a great way to let your cat experience the outdoors safely. Cats really can be taught to walk on a leash; it’s all in how you introduce the cat to the idea.
First you need to acclimate the cat to the harness. We left the harnesses out for a while, so they became part of the kitty household universe. Then we would put harnesses on the cats for short periods of time. Naturally, since it wasn’t the cat’s idea, initially each cat was extremely offended. However, over time, they got used to wearing their stylish new gear.
After the cats had adjusted to the harnesses, we attached a leash they could drag around. They thought it was weird, but again, they got used to it. Finally, once they were okay with the equipment, we took them out on a small adventure.
When we embarked on the move, the car with the cat carrier was packed to the gills with stuff. Because we had acclimated the cats to the harnesses, we could take them out of their carrier and into the hotel rooms attached to their leashes.
Because we had planned ahead, the cats didn’t mind being leashed, and I felt a lot better. With all the stress of moving, the last thing I needed was to lose a cat somewhere in the middle of Nevada.