Are you thinking about traveling with your Maine Coon or are you simply thinking about taking your Maine Coon for a walk outside? Then you definitely need to know how to train a Maine Coon to walk on a leash. The question is, is this even possible?
Can every Maine Coon cat learn this? How to get your Maine Coon to get used to the leash? All your questions are going to be answered in this article.
First, get your Maine Coon to get used to the harness. Always offer treats before and while putting it on, so your cat knows that this is something positive. Take your cat with you outside on a leash and make sure that there are not too many distractions. Make 5 steps away from your cat and crouch down. Call your cat and if your cat comes, pet it and offer treats. Repeat this process until your cat follows you without any problems.
Above you got the short version to this process. Of course, there is more to know and I am going to describe the process in detail in this article.
I just wanted to make sure that you know right before the start that it is possible to train Maine Coon cats to walk on a leash and that there is a specific process to make sure that you are successful.
Further, this article gives you a couple of tips on what you should do and what you should avoid and if you even should walk your cats on a leash or if it might be even harmful.
How To Train A Maine Coon To Walk On A Leash
So the first step to training your Maine Coon to walk on a leash is obviously using a harness. Therefore you have to get your Maine Coon to get used to the harness.
There are many people who use the clicker method for this, but it also works if you just get the treat your Maine Coon likes most and offer it when working with the harness.
Step One – Put On The Harness
First, show your cat the harness and let it sniff at the harness. Make sure that your cat knows that the harness is nothing to be afraid of. As soon as your Maine Coon sniffs the harness, give your cat a treat.
Next, pet your cat and slip the harness over your cat´s head. Don´t do anything with the legs, just slip it over the head and if your cat stays calm, give it a treat and pet it. Show it that everything is fine.
If your cat stays calm, you can slip the harness over the legs correctly and lock it and as soon as the buckle makes the click sound, give your cat another treat. Your cat will get used to the harness.
Continue to do this process until your Maine Coon is completely comfortable with wearing the harness.
Step Two – Go Outside
Many people recommend training with the leash inside first. I don´t because I don´t see the point. If the cat accepts the harness, it won´t notice the leash on it anymore. So take your cat outside. Make sure that there are no distractions.
For that, I recommend driving to a quiet location somewhere in the green outside where you don´t expect any dogs, too many people or even cars.
Put your cat on the ground (The harness and the leash are on, of course) and move around 3 foot away from your cat and crouch down. Now call your cat and if it comes to you pet it and offer treats.
Why should you crouch down? When you crouch down, you will create a safe zone for your cat under your legs. Especially cats that are not that confident will come to you quickly to “hide” under your legs.
This is the point where you want to give your cat treats and make sure that it knows that everything is okay.
Repeat this process several times and if it works fine, increase the distance you move away from your cat and call it.
This way, your cat will learn that it has to follow you and that it should not run away or walk in front of you.
I highly recommend training this very often as it is very important to walk in front of your cats instead of just letting your cats go crazy on the leash. This way you can see potential threats early (like dogs or wild animals) and act accordingly.
Step Three – See The Signs
When step two works fine, you have to look for the signs that your cat starts to feel comfortable outside. When your cat is starting to sniff everything and when it starts to eat grass, you know that your cat is starting to feel comfortable.
It is very important to give your cat the time it needs to explore the surroundings in the beginning.
This will make sure that your cat feels safe outside. After that, you can slowly start to walk with your cat for a short distance. Don´t go too far at first and always walk slowly in the beginning.
After a while, your Maine Coon cat will follow you without any problems and you can walk longer distances.
Do Adult Maine Coon Cats Learn This As Well?
Many cat owners think that adult cats can´t learn this, because they would freak out when putting on the harness. This is absolutely not true. Of course, this depends on your Maine Coon cat´s personality and yes, in most cases it is easier to train a kitten, but the age doesn´t really matter.
All that matters is that you are patient and that you don´t force your cat to do what you want. Start slowly. The biggest hurdle really is to put the harness on. If you are successful with this, the next steps are pretty easy.
Always offer treats, this will make it easier for you since your cat will associate the harness and the walking outside with something good (and tasty).
Should You Walk Your Cat On A Leash?
Actually walking a cat has become a trend and whenever a trend occurs there are people that say that this trend is a stupid idea, it is harmful and so on and so forth. When it comes to walking cats, there are people that say that a cat needs a sense of control and that they need their territory in order to feel safe/ in control.
I don´t know if there are any official studies on this topic, I couldn´t find any. However, it should be common sense that you don´t walk your cat in a crowded place like a city.
Walking your cat somewhere in the green outside will not put your cat in any stress (except in the beginning).
Actually, this is pretty good for your Maine Coon cat. Think about it, your cat is inside your house the whole day, even though it is an animal that is designed to hunt, to defend its territory and so on and so forth.
Inside a house, your cat won´t nearly get as much exercise as outside and further there are a lot of things outside that can be explored.
New smells, new animals, trees to climb on, grass to chew on. This is a great exercise and experience for your cat´s mind and body.
Many indoor cats are bored and walking your cat on a leash can really help to prevent any psychological problems and other diseases that might occur due to boredom and too little exercise.
Never Use A Collar
The reason why I don´t even talk about a collar in the steps above is that a collar can be harmful to your cat. If something unexpected happens and your cat freaks out a collar can do serious damage.
Keep in mind that Maine Coon cats can weigh over 26 lbs and they are pretty fast and agile. So a collar is not what you want here.
Always use a harness. They might be a little bit harder to put on, but they are safe for the cat in case something unexpected happens. Click here to learn what the best harness for Maine Coons is.
A Cat Is Not A Dog
Even though you can train your cat to follow you, you should always keep in mind that your cat is not a dog. Your Maine Coon will take the time it needs, but it will follow you. You have to be okay with that and be patient.
Sometimes there will be smells and other things that are just too interesting and you have to be willing to let your Maine Coon cat do its thing. Your Maine Coon will reward you with being more relaxed and following you better.
Never pull on the leash. (I know you wouldn´t)
You´ve Got To Be Patient
You already know this, but I have to say it again, please be patient. The steps above seem easy and they really are, but they can take some time. It always depends on your Maine Coon.
Is your Maine Coon okay with wearing the harness? Is your Maine Coon confident or jumpy?
Never force your Maine Coon to do something it doesn´t want, always work with love and show your Maine Coon that everything is alright. This way you will get what you want.
Also, make sure that you are using the right training methods. The right methods and knowing when to stop training or how to reward your cat the right way are key to quick learning.
Our article on training Maine Coons will show you how it´s done! Read it here.
Walking cats has become a pretty big trend and it is actually pretty good for your cat. It is a lot of exercises and it prevents your Maine Coon from getting bored.
As you have seen, it is not really complicated to train your Maine Coon cat to walk on a leash, but depending on your Maine Coon cat´s personality it can take some time.
Always be patient and show your Maine Coon that everything is okay and that it is safe. Soon your Maine Coon will follow you around and – it will probably demand walks.
Just to make sure that you know what you are getting yourself into, haha.
However, if you want to offer a better life with more exercise and more things to explore for your cat, walking it on a leash is an awesome way to do so. I really hope that this article on how to train a Maine Coon to walk on a leash has helped you.
If you have any questions or stories you want to share with us, leave a comment below!