One of the most common questions I get when I’m out with Cupcake is “does she walk on that leash?”
To be fair, they ask because Cupcake’s favorite pastime is to lounge like a cat of leisure when we are on our outings. This is especially true when we are at our regular coffee shop patio stop visiting with friends.
I usually answer that question, “The princess likes to be carried.” But the truth is more complicated. When Cupcake was a kitten, she loved walking on her leash and exploring. As she got older, she decided that she wanted to be carried. I don’t think there was a specific incident that caused this, but I have wished she would walk and explore a little more often.
So I decided to work with her on it.
We are starting indoors, at the big box pet store, which is one of the places outside the house she feels most comfortable. Cupcake will walk on the leash there, but usually it’s a singleminded quest to find the cat trees.
To encourage her to walk other places, I brought out the big motivator: her favorite treat. Cupcake thinks crunchy treats are the cat’s meow, and she will do just about anything to have one. So asking her to walk in the environment of the pet store is nothing when there’s a treat being promised.
Just look at that happy body language as she follows the treat!
She will follow me as far as I’ll lead her through the store… at least until I run out of treats! It’s a good start, and I hope to graduate to getting her to follow along when she doesn’t have food as a constant distraction.
One thing I noticed is that after we work on it a while, like with all things, Cupcake’s patience and attention span starts to shorten. When that happens, she can start to get creative about getting what she wants, and it doesn’t always involve following the rules.
If you are on mobile, you can watch the video above directly on YouTube.
When Cupcake is done, she is *done*, and she lets you know somehow. Thankfully, like in the video above, she is pretty good-natured about it and is only letting you know that her patience is wearing thin. She made sure I knew that I had exceeded the number of times she is patient enough to walk back and forth along the back aisle of the pet store interesting.
We will continue practicing with her so she is more comfortable walking instead of being carried.
Does your cat walk on a leash?