published Monday, August 1st, 2011

Chattapets: Let cats lead on leashes


The Humane Educational Society, 212 N. Highland Park Ave., will have a kickoff meeting at 6 p.m. Thursday to prepare for a multi-agency adoption event. Scheduled Sept. 9-11 at Petsmart on Gunbarrel Road, the adopt-athon will involve not only HES but McKamey Animal Care and Adoption Center, East Ridge Animal Shelter and Catoosa Citizens for Animal Care. Volunteers are needed to help set up, hang posters, foster animals and work the event, among other duties. To RSVP, email

Training cats in even simple acts of obedience, like walking on a leash, may seem like a pipe dream. But difficult and impossible are two different things, experts say.

In 16 years, John Jordan, the manager of Petsmart's Gunbarrel Road store, said he's only seen three owners walking cats on a leash and can't recall any requests for feline training.

"Cats are more independent than dogs are," Jordan said. "They don't want to be tied up or restrained. That's just not part of their nature."

According to veterinarian Bruce Vogle, however, training a cat to walk on a leash requires patience, but it can be done.

Here are some tips Vogle offers in his book "Complete Cat Care."

• The ideal leash-trainable cat is confident and unafraid of the outdoors.

• The lead is for your cat's safety, not to direct it, so never apply pressure to it.

• Begin lead training in an indoor location, such as in an empty hallway.

• Once outdoors, avoid dogs or loud environments in favor of quieter locations.

• Allow the cat to direct the lead at first. Attempting to control the lead may make it decide to stop moving at all.

• To change direction, pick up your cat and place it down in the desired area instead of pulling on the lead.

about Casey Phillips...

Casey Phillips has worked as a features reporter in the Life department since May 2007. He writes about entertainment, consumer technology, animals and news of the weird. Casey hails from Knoxville and earned a bachelor of science degree in journalism and a bachelor of arts in German from Middle Tennessee State University, where he worked as the features editor for the student newspaper, Sidelines. Casey's writing has earned numerous accolades, including first and second place ...

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