7 Steps to Train a Bengal Cat to Walk on a Leash

Bengals, as hybrids of the wild Asian Leopard cat, possess unique requirements for their care and well-being. Meeting their need for physical activity, mental stimulation, and a species-appropriate environment is essential to ensure they thrive as beloved companions.

Engage in Bengal cat training for leash walking to provide them with firsthand nature experiences and a healthy outlet for their energy.

So, how to train a Bengal cat to walk on a leash? To train your Bengal cat to walk on a leash, begin by acquiring a well-fitting harness and leash. Allow your cat to get accustomed to the harness indoors before introducing indoor leash walks. Once your Bengal is comfortable with indoor walks, gradually transition to outdoor walks or visits to animal parks. Patience and positive reinforcement are essential throughout the training process.

In this article, we’ll go through all the steps of teaching your Bengal cat (or any cat) to walk on a leash.

Training a Bengal Cat to Walk on a Leash – Learn All the Steps

Step 1: Buy an appropriate harness and leash for your Bengal

There’s a critical prerequisite to training your cat to walk on a leash.

And that’s to understand that cats do not walk like dogs.

Using a leash with a Bengal cat can be challenging as they tend to lead rather than follow. Pulling on the leash may cause choking or injury, making it potentially dangerous.

So, what’s the solution?

It’s as simple as this: Buy a harness.

A harness will distribute the tugging pressure on the leash and will keep your Bengal cat’s neck and windpipe safe. Now, you need to size your Bengal cat so you can purchase an appropriate-sized harness.

For this, measure your Bengal cat across its chest (under the neck) and behind its front legs.

How would you know if the size of the harness is a perfect fit for your Bengal? With the right-sized harness on your Bengal cat, you can barely fit two fingers inside the harness.

Such a size ensures that your Bengal cat can’t wriggle out but is also not feeling uncomfortable in an awfully tight harness.

From experience:

I’d say that you should probably buy a couple of harnesses to see which one fits best and keeps your Bengal cat calm.

One may fit better but make them uneasy, while another might be less snug but more comfortable for them. It’s essential to find the balance that suits your cat’s comfort and safety.

For leashes, you can purchase one which is specially made for cats instead of the dog variety. Cat leashes are often 3 to 6 feet long.

There are a variety of leashes to choose from; one viable option is the “bungee” leash which stretches and allows some leeway for your cat to wander.

Step 2: Let your Bengal cat get used to seeing the harness

Cats aren’t used to being confined by a jacket. In fact, that’s the last thing they want.

You need to understand that your Bengal cat would probably hate wearing the harness at first. Even making it used to the harness is a task on its own.

To help with that process, start by letting your Bengal cat get used to seeing the harness.

Put the harness close to its food bowl and let it stay for a couple of days.

A few Bengal cat owners also pick up the harness and just place it on the cat. If that helps your cause, then why not?

Another technique to help your Bengal cat get used to the harness is to place it in your dirty laundry for a night or two. This will transfer your smell to the harness and will make it more identifiable for your Bengal.

Cats associate smells with people, and if the harness smells like you, your Bengal cat would feel safe with it.

You can also place the harness down on the floor and put treats around it so your Bengal cat can associate the harness with happy thoughts and feelings.

Bengal cats are a handful, right? If you own one, check out our Bengal cat checklist. In that article, I outline the top 20 products that every Bengal cat owner should have, along with my recommendations for those products.

Step 3: Getting your Bengal cat used to wearing the harness

Once your Bengal cat is used to the sight of the harness, you can start putting the harness on your Bengal.

But let me tell you: your Bengal cat would hate it when you make it wear a harness for the first time.

In fact, it would probably move a lot and wriggle to try to stop you from doing that.

From experience, I’d say that the faster you put that harness on your Bengal cat, the better it is for both of you.

Once the harness is on, just let it stay for not more than a minute and take it off. Once you do, give your Bengal cat a treat, so it knows that it did an excellent job.

Gradually increase the time your Bengal cat wears the harness, keeping it on for a couple of minutes initially. This helps them get used to the feeling and ensures a more positive and comfortable experience with the harness.

Once you start feeling that your cat is now used to the harness, let it wear it for half an hour or an hour. Make sure you reward the Bengal for this good behavior and be empathetic towards its feelings.

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If your Bengal cat absolutely despises wearing the harness, then it’s probably because:

  • The harness is too tight
  • The harness straps are too broad and uncomfortable for your cat

In that case, you’ll have to revisit step 1 and buy a harness with thinner straps or one that fits better.

This is where having that extra harness can come in handy if you took my advice in Step Number 1.

Step 4: Let your Bengal cat move around with the harness

Once your Bengal cat has had the hang of wearing a harness for half an hour or so, you should allow it to move around the house while wearing the harness.

For this, leave the Bengal cat in the harness for a couple of hours.

A few Bengal cat owners have even left their cats in the harness all night, but your Bengal cat might get irritated if you leave the harness on for so long.

Whatever timespan you choose for keeping the harness on your Bengal cat, make sure you let your Bengal cat move around wherever it wants to and do not hinder it at that time.

Offering treats as a reward while your Bengal cat wears the harness reinforces positive behavior and helps them associate it with something enjoyable. After taking off the harness, providing more treats and gentle scratches will further reinforce the positive experience, making your cat feel appreciated and loved.

This positive reinforcement will build trust and make the harness-wearing process more pleasant for your beloved pet.

Step 5: Walk your Bengal cat indoors

Once your Bengal cat is used to wearing the harness, you should take the next step and start your Bengal cat training for walking on a leash.

For that, attach the leash to your harness and let the Bengal cat wander.

It is important to note that you should never walk with the leash in hand and make your Bengal cat follow you in the beginning. Keep the Bengal cat’s leash loose and let it move around while you follow it indoors.

As I mentioned in the beginning, cats don’t walk on leashes as dogs do. They would want to pace themselves and would have a hard time following you.

Allowing the Bengal cat to explore and move freely during the initial stages of harness training can be beneficial. This way, they can feel more comfortable and in control of their movements, which reduces anxiety and stress associated with wearing the harness.

During this time, it’s essential to keep your Bengal cat indoors.

If it goes outside, your Bengal cat would have a hundred different distractions and dangers.

You want it to remain focused on walking on a leash at this time and keep it safe from other dangers.

Also, the house would give your Bengal cat a sense of security and belongingness, which would help it to try its new activity of walking on a leash.

If you’ve ever owned a cat, you’d know that they are suckers for playing with strings and straps. So, the chances are that when you put a leash on your cat, it would start playing with it, biting it, or won’t move at all.

What you need to do is divert your Bengal cat’s attention from the leash. For this, use your cat’s favorite toy.

You could keep the toy at a distance, so your Bengal cat moves towards it. When that happens, it will automatically start walking with the leash on.

Just hold the leash loosely and follow your Bengal. Offer lots of treats and scratches during this time.

Step 6: Take your Bengal cat outdoors for leash training

Now comes the day that you and your furball had been waiting for.

Graduating them from indoor practice to outdoor adventures is a significant achievement. If it took you a couple of months to reach this point, you’re still on time. Training a Bengal cat to wear a harness can be a tiring process.

Start by putting the harness on your Bengal cat while you are still indoors. Then clip the leash on as well and take your Bengal cat straight outside.

Having a front or backyard in your house is ideal for this scenario. If you do, make sure it’s secure by fencing it from all sides.

You’d also want to make sure that the timing and weather for your walk are right. If it’s too hot and your Bengal is to walk on pavement, its paws could potentially burn with the heat. You’d also want to make sure that it isn’t too cold or that there’s no forecast for showers in your area.

The reaction of every Bengal cat is different when it’s taken to walk outdoors for the first time. A lot of cats make for the door as soon as they are put on the ground.

If that happens, take a stand and keep your Bengal cat outside for at least 20 minutes. If your Bengal cat continues to move towards the door, pick it up and take it to a place from where it can not see your house’s entrance.

As soon as an object catches your Bengal cat’s attention, it would start to move around freely and would relax.

Let it play outdoors and move around while you hold the leash. But make sure that your Bengal cat doesn’t end up in a dangerous or inaccessible place like bushes.

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Also, bear in mind that the location you choose for your first walk is essential.

Your Bengal cat should never roam around without you holding the leash, and it shouldn’t be able to move towards traffic.

It is also advised to keep a soft towel with you while you take your Bengal cat outside for walks. If any unexpected event happens, you can wrap your Bengal cat in that towel and rush back indoors.

Daily outdoor walks are crucial for your Bengal cat’s happiness. Gradually increase their freedom as they get comfortable. Remember, you have a significant responsibility to keep them safe, so never let them out of your sight during outdoor adventures.

Also, learn how to adjust your walking session’s timing according to changing the weather. Observe what sort of items or places interest your Bengal cat. Go to such locations more often to make your Bengal cat perceives walking as a treat.

With experience, you’ll learn a lot of techniques and gain practical knowledge on how to maneuver your cat on a leash. A common mistake that a lot of Bengal cat owners make is that they pull on the leash opposite to where the Bengal cat wants to go.

Harnesses are not always wholly escape-proof. If you pull counter to your Bengal’s weight, there’s a real chance that your Bengal might snuggle out of its harness.

Walking sessions should generally be kept to 30 minutes and not more.

Step 7: Walk your Bengal cat in an animal park

This is the final and most fun step of teaching your Bengal cat to walk on a leash.

By now, your Bengal cat should have it all figured out on how to maneuver itself with a leash. So, it’s safe to say that you can graduate from the backyard and take it to an animal park.

Animal parks are great places for socialization. If you have a Bengal cat, you’d know that it loves socializing with other animals and humans.

With so many animals around it, your Bengal cat would feel at ease and more connected to nature.

How to Discipline a Bengal Cat?

A lot of people perceive the Bengal cat to be “wild” because of its exotic coat. But the Bengal cat is quite a loving and smart breed.

Disciplining it is not a hard task at all.

Actually, a Bengal cat acts as any other domestic cat would.

One thing that you should keep in mind is to never discipline a cat by punishing it. You should stick to positive reinforcement techniques.

Reward them with treats when they follow instructions and withhold treats when they don’t. These intelligent felines often crave attention and treats, making it an effective training method. Enjoy the bond and obedience with your furball!

The same goes for training a Bengal cat to walk on a leash. Throughout the time that you follow the steps outlined in this article, you should reward your Bengal cat for following them.

Such positive reinforcement would help your Bengal cat associate happy feelings with walking on a leash.

What If My Bengal Cat Doesn’t Want to Wear the Harness At All?

This is certainly a possibility.

If your Bengal cat absolutely despises wearing a harness, you shouldn’t force it to wear one.

When training and interacting with animals, it’s essential to be patient, empathetic, and respectful of their needs and preferences.

Positive reinforcement, understanding, and mutual trust are key to building a loving and respectful relationship with our pets, just as we would with any other living being.

So respect your Bengal’s likes and dislikes and let it be. Play with it as much as you can so that your Bengal cat can involve itself in healthy playtime and utilize its excess energy.

Suki the Cat: Bengal Cat Hiking

When you’re talking about outdoor Bengal cat celebrities, Suki is a big name.
Meet your adventurous hiking Bengal cat, fearlessly exploring Canadian mountains, rivers, and canyons. Just like dogs, it adores being outdoors, splashing in water, and embracing the wilderness.

Frequently Asked Questions

Do Bengal cats need to be walked?

Bengal cats do not require regular walks like dogs do. They are domestic cats with an active and playful nature, but they are generally more content with indoor play and mental stimulation. However, some Bengal cats enjoy supervised outdoor adventures or leash training, but it’s essential to ensure their safety and avoid potential dangers. Always consider your cat’s individual preferences and needs before attempting any outdoor activities.

Are Bengal cats easy to train?

Bengal cats are known for their intelligence and curiosity, which can make them relatively easier to train to walk on a leash compared to some other cat breeds. However, not all Bengal cats will take to leash training, as individual personalities and preferences vary.

How do you teach tricks to a Bengal cat?

Teaching tricks to a Bengal cat involves using positive reinforcement with treats or praise. Start with simple tricks like “sit” or “come,” keeping sessions short to maintain their attention. Be patient and consistent, using clicker training if desired. Practice regularly to reinforce learning. Avoid punishment and focus on building a trusting bond through positive interactions. Every cat is unique, so be understanding of your Bengal’s individuality while enjoying the training process.

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Nadine Oraby

My name is Nadine; I am a passionate writer and a pet lover. People usually call me by the nickname “Joy” because they think that I am a positive and joyful person who is a child at heart. My love for animals triggered me to create this blog. Articles are written by vets, pet experts, and me. Thanks for visiting. Your friend, Nadine!

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