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Not all cats love being walked on a leash, but the Siamese cat is infamously considered to be just like a dog. Infamous for enjoying the outdoors, these intelligent felines were bred in ancient Thailand, so they have a huge history of roaming free and not being domesticated. This makes them the perfect feline to train for walking on a leash.
How to train a Siamese cat to walk on a leash is relatively straightforward, but there is a lot that can go wrong. This guide will be your comprehensive how-to on introducing the leash or harness, warnings to take seriously, how to walk them once outside, and more. With the right knowledge, your Siamese will get the free time it dramatically desires.
Siamese cats are one of the oldest felines on our planet, and their rich history makes them more adventurous than your standard window-sill sleepy kitten. These felines are jungle cats by nature that want to let their curiosity roam free. With the right precautions, you’ll know how to train your Siamese and avoid any mishaps like losing them, traumatizing them, or worse.
How To Train a Siamese Cat to Walk on a Leash:
Siamese cats are a hilarious and beautiful breed of cat that is both smart and demanding. Known for being the most vocal of all the felines, these little chirpers will let you know with a small chirp or a loud monotone roar precisely what they think of things.
One of the most loving characteristics of Siamese cats is their pretense of wanting to be near you. A Siamese may follow at your side and napless than other feline breeds. This is because they don’t want to miss the action and want to be involved in your life.
This partner in crime doesn’t just despise being alone; they will downright get depressed if not given enough time and affection. Siamese may seem like a bit more of a handful than the average cat, but this goes with them being more intelligent, incredibly loyal, and eager to adventure outside with you.
Though he despises being compared to a dog, the Siamese cat is more likely to teach you a trick. Before walking your feline, you’ll want to get a sense of his responsibility. If your Siamese is completely wily and untrustworthy, perhaps they shouldn’t go outside. Maybe they are this rambunctious because they need to release the pent-up energy.
Before beginning, I want to note that if your cat is not vaccinated or on flea, tick, and heartworm prevention treatment – Do not even think of taking them outside. You don’t want these pests in your home, but worse than this, your Siamese could develop a parasitic infection that could be fatal.
If they are up to date on shots and preventative care, you can go ahead and begin with these steps.
Introduce Them to the Leash
A great place to start is to introduce them to the harness or leash. This is done easier when you start them out as kittens, and they can get comfortable with the idea of being near a leash. Older cats may have a harder time learning new tricks.
The greatest advice I can give you to begin is that the act of going outside needs to be a positive experience for your Siamese, or they’ll never enjoy it. Animals will feed off of your energy, so be self-aware to remain calm and at ease.
You can treat them even more with a bit of food in their bellies before heading off, which will feel like a wonderful reward they can associate with the leash and going outside. Bonus points for holding the gravy near the leash, so they think they’re completely related.
Strange noises will frighten most any cat, so be sure to do lots of practicing inside. This means popping the harness and Velcro or anything your kitty wouldn’t be accustomed to. There will be a lot of new noises out in the world, so you’ll want to prep them for it this way.
Some people will wait a week or more just to put the leash on them. It may take them some time so don’t worry if they fuss and don’t want the harness on at first. This is normal. Allow them to smell it, be near it, and even play with it.
Putting on the Leash
Hold your Siamese and put a treat in front of their faces. As their eating the treat, put the harness loosely over their head and give them a moment to see how they react. If they freak out just try this a few more days before even trying to secure it.
This may seem like a slow process at first, but some of the best advice on this was from a YouTube Channel host who described that your cat lives 15-20 years, sometimes longer if in good health. What is a few months of training them to walk outside? Especially in the grand scheme of all the wonderful times, you could have in nature together over the next decades.
“Put the harness on right before mealtime, so that the dinner distracts him from the new sensation and keeps him from focusing on removing it,” Dr. Kat Miller, director of ASPCA anti-cruelty behavior research says.
This time is very crucial to the process as most cats never have the sensation of something being on their back. It will be very unfamiliar, and you don’t want them to associate the leash or harness with running off and bolting to get away from it.
If you notice them trying relentlessly to wriggle out of it, try treats and soothing tones. Keep them in a small space and work your way up to roaming the whole house to practice.
Choosing a Harness
Because of the cat’s agility, you cannot just rely on a leash alone. A collar and leash they will almost definitely slip out of. You will 100% need a feline harness sized to your cat’s body type.
Read reviews to be sure you’re getting a quality harness for cats that they can’t get out of. Don’t go cheap here or you’ll lose your baby and never forgive yourself. I recommend can escape-free harness like the Toleap Cat Harness. It comes in various sizes so you can fit it to a smaller or larger cat.
Once they’re comfortable with the harness, secure the fastens tightly but not too tight. You want to be sure nothing is blocking their air passages or oxygen supply, but also not so loose that they can slip out of it. Cats are sneaky and will drag it on the ground, rub on trees, anything to escape from something uncomfortable. Best to secure these slightly tight so they can’t escape this way, but please use reason.
As far as fit, you should be able to slip a pinky in the leash or harness, not three fingers.
If they’re receiving it well, continue to give lots of love and affection, so your Siamese now associates wearing the harness with positive times.
You’ll want a leash at least 6 feet long. I wouldn’t go a whole lot longer than this, or they can skip out of sight too far. Use your personal discretion and know the wants you have for these outdoor sessions.
Practice Walking Your Siamese Cat Inside First
For the first few weeks, you’ll want them to get used to the leash and having it around. Walk them inside a few laps every day, so they feel it is normal. Wearing it around the house while you do normal activities will gradually get your feline more and more comfortable.
You can even leave the harness on while they’re eating. Many report their Siamese feels very secure and safe while in the harness.
Now add in the leash and have them drag that behind for a little while. Keep an eye on them as you don’t want them to get stuck somewhere and caught on something. They probably won’t panic but just in case, keep a watchful eye during this time of adjusting them to the leash in this first month or so.
The primary thing I want to stress here is – Do not allow your cat to walk outside, even on the leash.
This is incredibly important and will save you so much heartache in bad habits down the line.
You will always carry your Siamese outside and through the door.
This is, so they do not get a false sense of confidence and start bolting outside. They may not have the harness on but still feel their love of outside pulling them out the door when they’re not secure.
You do not want to give them this false sense of confidence or have a door-dasher on your hands. A door-dasher is a hard problem to fix, and it can easily be avoided by this little psychological trick.
You will always carry them outside, so they don’t even know the feeling of walking through the doorway themselves. Please if this guide teaches you nothing else, carry them every time.
Find a quiet area, so if your neighborhood is in the hustle and bustle of the city, your Siamese or any other cat will probably be terrified. Many cats hide when exposed to strangers, so you don’t want a highly-populated area either.
Find a wooded or quiet place to take them with lots of trees and things to sniff. If you need to commute somewhere – travel safely. This means having a carrier crate and a technique for calming them in the car.
Once you arrive and set them down outside. Start small, and maybe they want to be outside for a few minutes. Perhaps your backyard on the leash is an excellent place to start so they can enjoy small intervals.
Again, if they rush back to the inside or a well-known place – this is normal. They’re seeking safety from the unknown and need time to adjust to it not being the unknown.
The good news is, Siamese are known to love the outdoors and embrace them more easily than most other cat breeds. They were made for roaming and hunting so their natural instincts should kick in relatively quickly.
If you live in a residential or quiet neighborhood, it can be good to take them for walks in this area. Don’t let children or random people come up if they’re not used to strangers as it may scare your Siamese. The perk of walking close to home is that if they ever do get out, they’ll know the area and their surroundings.
Siamese cats are tremendously intelligent, so if they do get out by some chance, you’ll have a much higher likelihood that they can find their way back home.
It may take some treats and encouragement, but after some practice, your Siamese will be roaming about on their own accord.
Always keep a close eye on your Siamese or any feline. Never let go of the leash under any circumstance.
Why Walking Outside is Good for Them
It may sound funny, but just like humans, cats have happy hormones released in their minds when they experience natural sensations like birds chirping and bugs hopping.
Granted, your feline may want to eat that bird more than you do, but alas.
The outside stimulus and sunshine will give them a needed dose of differentiation from their routine. It will also provide them with exercise, which is heart-healthy and good for their lungs to move around in wider spaces. Heart and respiratory issues do run in the breed of the Siamese, so this free time is truly valuable for them.
When out on the walk, the feline is using entirely different parts of their brain as compared to the domesticated feline. They’ll be able to think of how to use their athletic bodies best and smelling things, identifying the world around them. Siamese cats are smart like human babies and are always consuming data to make sense of things.
Siamese cats are bred for this kind of athleticism and will probably climb some trees and chase things around. Don’t let them climb too high as we don’t want to call the fire department to get a cat out of a tree. But staying within the leash’s bounds should be high enough for them to be still able to get down.
The exercise will be a way for the two of you to bond and appreciate nature together. Fresh air and al little movement can go a long way to lengthening both of your lives and the quality of them.
Another perk is they can scratch their claws on actual tree bark instead of your furniture! As nature intended!
Warnings to Take Seriously
Some essential things that need to be mentioned are not to scare you, but to inform you.
Not all cats want to walk outside. Some of them will despise leashes until the day they die so you shouldn’t force it on them if the hatred goes on for months. Every cat does deserve the opportunity to try, so give it patience and a bit of time while keeping awareness of your specific cat.
Some serious warning to take into account before you begin training:
- Be sure your cat is spayed or neutered before starting the cat walking training process. This is because an unneutered male feline will be more likely to get restless and wild, trying to escape from his harness or collar. An unspayed female will run the risk of being attacked and impregnated by feral male cats.
- Siamese cats actually do not have the best night vision compared to other cats. Because of this, do not let Siamese roam free at night. Even if they’re an outdoor cat and you think they’re used to it, Siamese cats are more likely to be out in the road and get hit by a car. Consider keeping your Siamese outdoor cat indoors at night or at least in the garage. Don’t even walk them at night on the leash as it’s just not worth the risk. Better to leave them in for the night with a ball of yarn or some catnip.
- Do not ever leave your cat unattended during the walk. This means don’t tie them to a post and leave them. Not even for a little bit. This is very important once because you don’t want them to get panicked and tangle themselves in the leash.
Another scary prospect is that they could be attacked by another animal and have no means to escape or getaway. You do not want to leave your feline in this situation so keep an eye on them always, holding the leash at all times.
- Always transfer in large distances in a cat carrier. You do not want a petrified cat clawing into your lap the whole way home.
- If your Siamese is utterly terrified – be prepared for a freakout moment. For this, especially early in the process. You’ll want to have a towel to wrap them in and get them back to the safety of the cat carrier. The towel is to protect you from getting clawed and scratched as their first instinct will be to react out of fear. The degree of a feline’s high alertness in a new place is not to be underestimated.
Adventuring with your Siamese is all about lengthening their lives, so don’t put them in dangerous situations that may shorten it. Walk them responsibly and use common sense.
Keeping these things in mind will make you an informed cat walker and not make preventable errors. Once you’re in the flow of it, your cat will be back to normal ruling your world outside the house, just like inside the house.
Useful Advice & Tips
Some advice from popular discussion forums on the topic and from Animal experts that you may find helpful are:
- If something spooks your Siamese on the walk, resist your urges to pick them up and save them. Unless they are in actual danger, of course, allow them to see that things will be fine on their own. This will raise their confidence in dealing with surprises outdoors.
- Keep in mind that although Siamese cats are called almost-dogs, they still are cats. This means they may not want to do the most challenging hike with you and would prefer to walk the backyard smelling things and nap in the grass. Gauge your own instincts with your specific pet.
- As I mentioned, some cats are terrified by strangers. Some advice from other cat walkers on this is to engage with the person you’re walking by and use a nice calming tone. This may let your cat know that they’re not a threat.
- If you’re Siamese loves walks more than you could ever dream, don’t be bullied into taking them for a walk. Yes, your Siamese is very bossy so they may try to cop an attitude with you to go back outside and play.
Like children, you can’t indulge their every want and need. This will only make for a spoiled brat. So don’t reward the crying behavior.
Even though they are more dog than a cat, you’re still the alpha in this house.
- If your neighborhood has some noises, dogs or other distractions that are too overwhelming for your feline, find that quiet area near your home. You want them to be relaxed and relate walks to a positive emotion. Not scared out of their minds or feeling under attack. This will make them bolt the other way to go back inside.
- Never allow your Siamese to go outside unattended. Of course, if they are an outside cat already, this doesn’t apply. But your domesticated baby is not prepared for life outside of the bubble. Don’t trust their outdoor keenness even if they seem completely at ease. An indoor baby is an indoor baby.
If Your Siamese Just Won’t Walk Outside
It’s okay! Don’t force them if they’re absolutely miserable in the great outdoors. It’s not for everyone as far as people, and the same goes for cats. Not all cats are made for that lifestyle and the overflow of stimulants and dangers. Taken back to their predator state, they may feel more like prey in the big bad outdoors.
Setbacks are normal and don’t be surprised if the process takes a few months, especially for an adult cat. Baby steps are the way to accomplish a well-trained cat.
If your Siamese is not having it, don’t be discouraged. You can take part in healthy alternatives like backyard parties. Or indoor camping.
There’s also something we can all be excited in this world which is – Catio.
Yes. You read that right. It’s an actual cat-cardio in some cities where you can take your feline to get some exercise.
Keep practicing with the leash inside and perhaps overtime a change will evolve, and curiosity will prevail!
Things to bring with you
Things to keep in mind that may be beneficial if you’re going on a long journey would be:
- Sun protection. – buy kitty SPF and apply gently to Siamese’s face or thin-haired parts of the body. Siamese cats do have a susceptibility to skin cancer like all cats. So if you’ll be doing a lot of adventuring, protect their fair skin.
- Hydration – keep water for both you and your adventure kitty. You may want to bring water purifying tablets like these if you need to get water out of rivers but don’t rely on natural streams. If you get lost, you’ll need proper hydration. Which leads me to…
- A recent photo of your feline – if they (god forbid!) get lost, you’ll want to have a recent picture of them to show to people nearby and ask if they’ve seen it. A kitten picture from 10 years ago will not help.
- Sustenance – if you’re going on a long hike, feed them beforehand waiting about 30 minutes so they can digest. Also, bring a backup can or two for if you get stranded. Have to be prepared!
Also, you’ll be burning more calories and moving more than the Siamese is probably used to, so refueling is vital if you’ve got a true adventure cat on your hands.
Other things to keep in mind are proper collar tags and even chipping your pet’s ear. This way, you will have a tracker on their ear and don’t have to worry about them getting lost. You can find them straight away and have this done at your local veterinary office. Any vet can track these chips for you.
Thoughts from Cat Walkers
Some ideas from those who have done the training to get their cats to be outdoor felines:
- “Mine will stand very still when I put the harness on her head. I think it’s her way of helping.”
- “Some days are better than others but don’t force it. It took about 3-4 months until my Siamese was really brave outside. Be prepared for anything.”
- “I had a Siamese growing up that would walk with me through the mountains near our home. She would jump up on my shoulder and ride along as I walked. The funniest little jungle cat, she would even run ahead of my dogs.”
- “Sometimes, I think they were never meant to be domesticated. They are meant to be outside roaming and free. This is where they’re the happiest, and you’ll see that too.”
Pay attention to kitty cues and what your cat’s body language tells you. If you’re both up to the adventure, it’s sure to be a wonderful time.
The bottom line here is that you are responsible for your cat and need to keep a close eye on them always. It can be a big commitment to train at first, but once your kitty loves the great outdoors as much as you, there’s no stopping what you can do together!
Walking your Siamese with the proper knowledge and understanding can be a beautiful and bonding experience. Mediating out in the thick of nature with your favorite fur baby is about as good as it gets.
So I guess the cat is officially out of the bag, leashes aren’t just for pups anymore!