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How To Walk Your Cat: It’s Easier Than You Think

Walking a cat on a leash is fun for you and your cat. Learn how from these 4 steps. By Roslyn Ayers, PetSafe Web Content Specialist

Roslyn loves spending time with her cats outside, and has even taught a few to walk on a leash! Follow her advice and you can too!

One of the big differences between cat people and dog people is that dog people get the experience of walking with their pet every day. Cat owners don’t get to take our cats to the park or sit outside with them at a pet-friendly restaurant. For cat people, the internet is our dog park, with all of its pictures of cute kittens.

That’s why walking your cat on a leash might sound like a wonderful idea. You get to show off your gorgeous feline and enjoy bonding time with your pet; your cat gets to enjoy a little exercise in the great outdoors. What could be better? Training your cat to walk on a leash is not easy, but it can be done. I’ve taught two cats to walk on a leash.

Skittles was young, so she learned pretty easily. She loved being outside so much that we graduated her to an electronic cat fence. The other cat, Bengali, was too nervous to enjoy his time outside, so we stopped taking walks together. Every cat is different, and not every cat enjoys walking on a leash, so keep that in mind going in. It takes patience and persistence, but letting your cat be a “wild thing” for a change can be fun for both of you.

So are you two ready to start exploring the backyard together? Here are the 4 most important things to know before leash walking your cat.

1.  Consider why you want your cat to walk on a leash. If you want to be able to take your cat to a park or walk around the block, keep in mind that not all cats will be able to do this. Your cat’s motivation is probably different from yours, and he may just want to chase butterflies for a few minutes or sunbathe for a few hours.

Cats can enjoy walking on a leash if you get the right harness. Choosing the right harness and leash can make the difference in success and failure when walking your cat.

2. Buy the right kind of cat harness and leash. Most cats can slip out of traditional collars, so they need a special kind of harness and leash, like the Come With Me Kitty Harness & Bungee Leash.

Cat harnesses sometimes come with instruction guides to help you get the most out of your training. You should also attach a special cat collar to your cat and an ID tag with your address and phone number in case she does slip out of the harness.

3. Start slowly and work your way up. Fit the harness on your cat and get her used to wearing it inside first. Next you can walk for short periods outside, staying close to the house at first and slowly moving farther away, until your cat is completely comfortable outside. Make it short, fun, and relaxed, and let your cat take the lead.

4.  Pay attention to your cat. Your cat’s body language will tell you if she’s feeling stressed or scared. Look for signs like flat ears, body low to the ground, meowing, and nervous tail twitching. If you’re not sure, try petting your cat; if she’s stressed, she may avoid your touch or go rigid. Your reassuring pets will also help her relax.

When you see signs of stress, try to figure out what’s making your cat nervous and move to a safer spot. Just take it slow and you'll be enjoying the outdoors with your kitty on a leash in no time!

Have you ever walked your cat? Do you think your cat would like walking with you?


ABOUT ROSLYN At PetSafe’s Knoxville headquarters, Roslyn Ayers is the Web Content Specialist. Roslyn comes from a family of animal lovers and has a B.A. in Writing/Communications from Maryville College. She has volunteered with various animal rescues in Tennessee and South Carolina. Roslyn currently shares her home with four cats.

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I walk my cats all the time. I have 4 tips. 1)Have your cats wear their harness in the house for a 3-4 days. There will be drama! Cats do that. But once they realize that the harness does not limit them, they will forget about it. 2)Set up a situation where after the harness is put on, they have outside access. Once the cat makes the connection - harness means outside, you will have no more issues with the harness. 3)Walking a cat, is more about you following the cat around. Its kinda fun. Seeing the world thru their eyes. After a while take a magazine or a smart phone. 4)Loud noises will send you cat running. Keep a look out, so you can keep up, as you both dash back to the door you came out of. Leave it open if you can.

Great tips! You’re right, cats don’t like to feel restrained, so they might need a few days to acclimate to the unusual feeling of a harness. These tips work for training a dog to wear a harness, too. If your cat frequently runs back to the house but you can’t leave the door open because you have other pets in the house, you could try installing a 4-way locking cat door and set it to “in-only” access during your outside time. That way your cat can get back in quickly but your other pets can’t get out. Thanks for sharing, Pam!

I’m so excited to try this out! My 7 month old kitten is always at the door, meowing to go outside. I let her out on our patio in our apartment and she will just roll in the dirt and have fun…but its just not enough for her. She has already slipped out of the apartment 3 times! She needs some daily outside time and Im happy to oblige

The other day (February 2016), we saw the most amazing thing: a family cat lounging on the tennis courts in the sun while its human family was playing with their little child. Then when the family left the courts, the cat simply followed them like it was a dog or any other family member. No leash, no collar, no voice commands. It seemed like a one-in-a-million cat! 

I can’t trust my own dog to go off-leash in a public place, but these people have a cat that can do it!

Will a cat use the bathroom on a leash?

Hi Lele,

Yes, some cats will potty outside when walking on the leash.

Some cats even prefer the feel of soil or grass to litter.

Thanks for reading!

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