Cat Leash

Walking your cat on a leash

You may ask yourself: Is there such a thing as a cat leash? Does my cat need one? Can I train my cat to walk on a leash?

Well, the answer to the first question is yes. There are leashes especially designed for cats.

Cat on a LeashThe answer to the second question is that it all depends on your needs (and your cat’s needs, of course).

And the answer to the third question is yes; it is possible to leash train your cat.

However, let me warn you that it’s very difficult – though not impossible. It takes lots of time and patience. Besides, most cats don’t like the feeling of being tied down in any way.

Personally, I’ve never tried to train my cats to walk on a leash. However, I do know cat owners who’ve had success in leash-training their cats. Here you'll find some tips they've shared with me.

Why would you need leash-train your cat?

You have an indoor cat and you ask yourself whether it’s possible to take him out for a walk. Just for the fun of it. Read the section below for tips on how to do this.

There are also circumstances when you might want to leash-train your cat. Of course, it is not absolutely necessary to train your cat to use the leash, but it would be helpful. Here are some examples:

-Travel: Even when you use a carrier to transport your cat, it is a good idea to use a leash when taking your cat out of the carrier, just for safety. In addition, if you’re both going on a long trip, taking your cat out of the carrier will allow her to stretch her legs.

-Maybe your kitty needs exercise: One of my close friends has trained her cat to use a cat leash and takes her on walks. This is great for both of them as they both exercise while enjoying the view (and the squirrels). They also have a good time together.

-You want to socialize kitty: For example, you don’t want him to be afraid in case you do have to take him out during an emergency. So, taking him out of the house will help him get used to people and noises.

-In case of an emergency: Again, if there is an emergency, you can just put kitty on the leash and go. You don’t have to go get the carrier.

Note: It’s a good idea to have your cat wear a collar and a pet tag with your contact information. This information can be very helpful if she ever gets lost. Another good idea is to use a microchip, which can be implanted under her skin. This option helps you find your lost pet much more quickly.

Visit our cat collars page for more information. If you need a pet ID tag go to our pet tags page.

Use a cat harness

Obviously, cats are built differently than dogs. Their necks are much weaker than those of dogs. Therefore, cats can’t use leashes in the same way dogs do. Because of the anatomical built of a cat, a collar might even be hazardous to his health. In addition, most cats can easily slip free from a collar.

A harness is necessary for the safe use of a cat leash. Thus, make sure that you use a set of cat harness and leash.

Another option is to use a "cat jacket". This is a multi-function piece that provides warmth to your cat and also doubles as a harness.

Tips to leash-train your cat

-It’s very hard to leash-train a cat; most will resist the leash. So, you must arm yourself with lots of patience, especially at the beginning.

-If at all possible, start when she is a kitten as she will get used to the sensation of being strapped more easily.

-Be patient, it bears repeating. Most cats will not like the leash and even when they do get used to it, they might not like going outside for walks.

-Don’t force your cat to use the leash. And never use physical punishment.

-Start at home. In the beginning, train your cat to use the harness and leash indoors. Being in a familiar and safe place will help your cat to accept the leash.

-Start slowly, first just let your cat get used to the harness, then to the leash. Let him/her wear it for a while, then walk him/her inside your home. If your cat is not used to going outside, take him on a pet stroller so that he gets familiarized with the sights and noises while still being contained.

-Use treats to reward your cat every time he or she uses the leash. This way your cat will associate wearing the leash with a positive experience.

-When venturing outside, choose a quiet area so that your cat does not get frightened by the noises. If you have an enclosed yard, take advantage of that.

-Another important point to remember is that walking a cat is not the same as walking a dog. Cats will react differently to their environment than dogs. Cats, for example, might want to jump on trees, follow a bird, or seek a hiding place when scared by a noise. So take this into account when walking your cat. Above all, be patient.

Types of cat leashes

There are different types of cat leashes and cat harnesses. There are, for example, retractable cat leashes, which are very practical and can fit in your pocket.

Another good option is the figure 8 leash and harness set. This type of harness adapts to the cat’s body, making it hard for her to slip away.

Cat leashes come in different colors and sizes. And most are adjustable.

If a leash doesn’t work for kitty

OK, you tried to train your cat to walk on a leash, to no avail. But you still want him to enjoy the outdoors. If this is the case, there are several options you can explore:

-Use a pet stroller: You can find a wide range of cat-friendly pet strollers. These strollers give your cat safety and privacy while also allowing him to see and enjoy the surroundings.

-Give confinement pieces a try: There are different types of containment pieces that you can place outdoors; for example, there are domes made out of strong mesh your cat will certainly enjoy.

-Window perches anyone? Kitty can remain safely indoors while enjoying the outdoor activity.

Related links

Choosing a cat harness for kitty

All about cat collars

Pet ID tags

Leave cat leash and return to Cat Articles

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