hey, @why-animals-do-the-thing; I know this was a recent topic of discussion about indoor and outdoor cats and safe ways to use the outdoors as enrichment, and just wanted to share this video of one of my two cats who is leash trained, Gizmo!
for those who say my cat must be an exception to the rule of leash training a cat; while he is very friendly and smart (he knows sit and wave and can jump through a hoop so far) my vet actually diagnosed him when I first got him with feline idiopathic cystitis. which basically means he has a hormone imbalance in his brain that makes him more sensitive/prone to more cat spazz runs than your average cat. Most of the time it’s marginal and he acts like a normal kitty, but if he gets too worked up he can make himself physically ill with UTIs.
Our first forays into leash training were…..a bit crazy; he was always fine with the harness but going into such a big open space was overwhelming for him at first. But with a lot of repetition and letting him decide how he wanted to interact with the outdoors he soon came to be the cat you see in the video! The rolling and casually exposing his tummy, non-dilated pupils, high carriage of his tail with the slow and lazy wags are all signs of an incredibly happy kitty! He will actually purr as I’m putting his harness on now (which is not typical for him; he’s not a big purr-er) because he’s learned harness=outside now! I always see videos of people dragging their poor cats along the ground in their harnesses and it drives me nuts! Cats are not dogs; expecting them to walk with you at your pace is unrealistic. A lot of people would have so much more success if they let the cats dictate their time outside and you just follow. Your main job walking a cat is to just make sure they stay safe and don’t get away! Also please get a wide mesh harness if you do this with your cat. They are much more comfortable for them and cats seem more relaxed in them comparable to a strap harness.
So, please, extend your cats lifespan by keeping them inside, but also expand their world in a safe and controlled manner through something like leash walking!