People often liken a Savannah cat to a pet dog. One reason is their love of water, which is rare among cat breeds. Another reason is their training abilities and the fact that your Savannah will walk on a leash.
Keep in mind that the Savannah is a wild cat at heart and will act accordingly. However, the notion of going for a stroll outdoors in nature may pique these cats’ interest, prompting them to wear a leash thanks to their curious and playful personalities.
Continue reading for tips on how to get started.
Why Should I Walk My Savannah On A Leash?
Many owners avoid walking their cats on a leash because they think other people view it as “weird” or “pointless.” However, walking your cat on a leash is a great way to expose them to nature while keeping them and other animals safe.
When a cat walks outside alone, they are exposed to many risks. Firstly, they may fight with other cats, catch the feline immunodeficiency virus, or get pregnant. In addition, cats can get lost, be stolen, or eat poisoned pests.
And preventing your pet from roaming can extend its life considerably. The average lifespan of an indoor cat is 13 to 17 years, significantly higher than an outdoor cat, which is only 2 to 5 years.
But, cats are natural predators and love to explore the outdoors, so taking your feline for a walk on a leash can provide it with the best of both worlds. In addition, walking together gives you and your Savannah an excellent opportunity for bonding.
How Do I Get Started In Training My Savannah To Wear A Leash?
The most important thing is to start slowly. Savannahs are large, athletic cats who can be skittish when feeling anxious or energized.
Begin by putting the harness on your cat and rewarding it with a treat. Then, allow your feline to get used to the feel.
In the early stages, present the harness to your cat as a gift. Then, spend time with them and allow them to get used to the smell, texture, and feel of the harness.
When you put the harness on your Savannah, ensure that all of its limbs are correctly positioned; this way, you prevent any pain or injury. They may meow, to begin with, but they will usually simmer down once they get used to the sensation.
Next, take your cat for a walk around the house wearing the leash; maybe venture into the back garden.
Again, reward your cat for time spent on the leash. Once your Savannah (and you) feel comfortable with walks on the leash, try taking a walk outside.
Keep the walk short, to begin with, traveling no more than a couple of hundred meters from your house. Then, as your cat becomes more confident and comfortable in the harness, you can increase this distance.
Once your cat understands that the harness means it gets to go outside and play, they’ll be much more obliging in letting you put their harness on.
Importantly, never let your Savannah go outside unaccompanied. These animals are curious and can reach speeds of up to 35 miles per hour, so you must keep them under constant supervision outdoors.
How Do I Get My Cat To Walk With Me On A Leash?
Getting your Savannah onto the leash is only half of the battle. Next, you have to get them to follow instructions on where to walk. At this stage, be patient and avoid tugging.
Call your cat in the direction you would like them to go and begin walking that way. If they don’t follow, try holding out a small treat as an incentive. If your cat gets stuck in one spot, try picking it up and moving it a foot away in the direction you would like it to go.
Repeat this process until your cat gets used to following your instructions. Then, continue gently guiding it with the leash to prevent any aggressive behavior.
Will My Savannah Enjoy Taking Walks On A Leash?
It’s a cat’s natural instinct to explore the great outdoors, so your feline will appreciate any time outside. The only trick is getting them to enjoy being in the harness.
To do this, make sure you praise them and tell them how good they look in their harness. Your Savannah may not understand your words, but it will appreciate your praise from the tone of your voice.
Your cat will be more likely to enjoy being on a lead if they feel special when they’re wearing it. You may even find that your cat begins to seek out its leash and meow for you to take it for a walk.
What Kind Of Leash Do I Need For My Savannah?
One of the most important things to remember is that cats are built very differently from dogs. While the latter has a strong neck that can withstand the full force of the leash, a cat does not. Therefore, if you try to use a dog leash on a cat, it will not end well.
Instead, you’ll need to source a leash explicitly designed for cats and comes with an accompanying harness. This ensures better safety for your cat when going for a walk outside.
I’ve compiled a list of some of the best harnesses for cats.
How Do I Find The Perfect Leash For My Savannah?
Your cat will require a harness and leash for supervised outdoor walks. Local pet stores and various online vets offer a wide range of colors and styles to suit your need.
Harnesses come available in several standard sizes. In general, an extra small harness is for cats up to 2lbs in weight; a small harness is for cats between 3 and 5lbs; a medium harness is suitable for cats between 6 and 10lbs. And a large harness is for those 11lbs plus.
Most harnesses should be adjustable to allow little wiggle room to fit your feline’s body perfectly. In addition, the harness should possess a clip or velcro that is secure but not too tight around the body.
When the harness is fastened, you should be able to slip two fingers between the cat and its harness; this shows that you have the perfect fit for your Savannah. Of course, as they grow, you’ll need to adjust the harness and periodically invest in new ones.
Due to the size of a typical Savannah cat, a regular feline harness may not provide ample room, and you may need to resort to a dog leash. The most important thing is to ensure the leash comes complete with a harness and that the piece is suitable for the requirements of your cat.
Harnesses that are elasticated are great for allowing extra give if the cat suddenly decides to change direction. In addition, they allow the Savannah some freedom while keeping its distance from you restricted.
What Are The Best Tips For Walking A Savannah On A Leash?
The most crucial consideration for walking your cat on a leash is to make sure you purchase the correct one. The harness must fit securely around the cat’s body without being too loose or tight. Never attach a leash to its collar, as it can lead to strangulation.
Kittens are very quick to adjust to new behaviors, and you can start leash training them as early as eight weeks old. You can teach older cats, but it’ll take a little more patience and determination.
When you’re out, keep an eye on your surroundings. For example, if a dog approaches, you may want to pick up your cat so that they feel safe and protected by you – this also prevents a dog from getting too close to your Savannah or attacking them.
In addition, look out for bushes, fences, or anything your Savannah can climb on or go underneath. Otherwise, you’ll have to retrieve them from whatever spaces they find themselves in.
Keep your language simple. Some general conversation is pleasant to keep your cat calm and happy, but keep it short when it comes to commands so they are easy for your Savannah to learn.
Try phrases such as “Come on,” “No,” “Good boy/girl,” and “Hometime.”
Training your Savannah on a leash allows them to explore the great outdoors while minimizing the risk of infections or injuries.
Thanks to their curious, playful, and intelligent nature, Savannahs are one of the easiest cat breeds to train, and with a bit of patience, you’ll be taking your cat for outdoor strolls in no time.