A young Asian girl nuzzles noses with a tabby kittenA young Asian girl nuzzles noses with a tabby kittenA young Asian girl nuzzles noses with a tabby kitten
Barks & Mewsings

The Trupanion blog

Walking a Cat on a Leash: The Pros and Cons of Walking Cats

By: Kelli Rascoe

Bengal cat smelling grass while wearing a leash harness

Cat leash walking is a recent trend that is going to the felines. Gone are the days of cats laying around the house. It seems some cats want to be active with their families. For example, cat hiking has become wildly popular and this new trend allows for kitties to be out in nature adventuring with their families. Certainly, free-roaming cats and the idea of walking a cat on a leash are two very distinct concepts. We sat down with the Trupanion pet program team to find out if it’s possible to successfully walk a cat.

Walking a cat on a leash

Start young

If you’re going to commit to the task of cat leash walking, it’s incredibly important idea to consider your cat’s age. “The younger you start cat leash walking, the easier it will be to train the cat,” states the Trupanion pet program team. Also, the younger the cat, the easier it is to establish a routine and create a pack mentality with your independent feline. Definitely walking a kitten is a different experience than walking an older cat. To learn more about daily schedules, read here.

Harness vs. collar

Walking a cat on a leash is more likely to be successful if you are able to use a harness. “A harness is a safe and secure option for walking your cat. Also, there’s no way for a cat to slide out of a harness, unlike just using a collar,” points out Marmol. Certainly, the use of a leash, harness, and identification collar adds an extra measure of safety in case your kitty gets loose.

Cat leashes

Walking a cat on a leash can be a different experience than using a dog leash, due to the different style. Essentially, a cat leash is typically looser than a dog’s providing opportunities for your cat to explore their space. In addition, with the leash being looser, it can be less control for the walker. It definitely gives you the chance to keep tabs on that kitty, especially if they want to prowl on their own.

A fluffy cat sits on her smiling owners shoulder outside in the snow

Walking a cat: depends on personality

The right feline friend for cat leash walking can be a rare breed. Certainly, personality definitely plays a part of the equation for success, as does breed, age and gender. If your pet doesn’t take to cat leash walking “it could just be that your cat does not want to walk on a leash, and that is completely fine,” cites Marmol. Instead of forcing outings upon your furry friend, give them the option to roam or explore their own space, take it day by day and see where that leads.


If walking a cat on a leash is incorporated into your pet’s daily routine at a young age, you might see a lifelong habit form. Certainly, your best mate will become accustomed to the routine of the family activity and it will become familiar to them.


There is a level of trust that comes with walking pets. For example, when you walk your dog, they eventually learn to stay next to you and what your walking expectations are. In contrast, cats are naturally more skittish, and the act of walking on a leash might be a scary experience for them at the start. In addition, cats are also independent and headstrong. For example, they might not trust the person they are walking with, so there should be a level of trust in order for cat leash walking to be successful. It’s a good idea to build trust over time with familiar places and short outings, and let your cat lead the way.


Walking a cat requires an incredible amount of patience for the cat walker. Whether you are walking pets professionally or are a loving cat owner, certainly taking the time and being patient is a step in the right direction. Just remember this is a new experience for your furry friend and yourself. For more cat training tips, click here.

Cat wearing a harness outside in the sunshine

Three necessities for the cat-walker

Here are three necessities to always have when practicing walking a cat on a leash:

1. Cat treats

Just as their furry counterparts enjoy a good treat, certainly cats are no exception. Definitely bring a bag of treats to help encourage some walking and tail wags.

2. No fear

The cat owner or cat walker should be equipped with no fear of a potential altercation with a feisty kitty. “Cats definitely have a mind of their own, and aren’t afraid to use claws or teeth if they are unhappy,” chuckles Marmol. Moreover, consider the likelihood that the situation might come up, and prepare for helping the furry friend through the experience.

3. Additional leash options

It might be beneficial to bring a versatile selection of leashes with you while walking the cat. Some cats might prefer the option to walk on a dog leash, which would provide a more rigid walking experience. Naturally, the dog leash does not provide the flexibility to explore but might provide the safety and security the cat needs, as well as the owner.

Cat walking in the workplace and the great outdoors

Cat leash walking can be seen everywhere from the workplace to the great outdoors. It’s all about finding balance and what works for each cat.

“We’ve had a few cats walking on a leash in office, and each experience has been unique,” says Marmol.

Consider the option to start small with exploring a space, venturing outside on a leash, and seeing where the walk takes you. By being patient, flexible, and supportive in the experience you’re providing the best for your furry friend.

A group of kittens walking together through the green grass

Part of the family

The most important aspect of walking a cat is the human-pet bond. Naturally, your cat is a part of the family and is engaging in a healthy active lifestyle. If your cat seems to want to get out and walk on a leash, consider taking the opportunity to bond over this unique activity together. Also, if you have a multi-pet household, cat leash walking provides the opportunity for your pets to bond over a mutual activity.

Walking a cat on a leash is a fun and unique family-friendly activity. It allows for interactive play and family bonding, as well as daily exercise for you and your best friend. On your next family walk, consider taking along your cat or kitten.

For more on cats, read When Do Kittens Calm Down? 

A dog and cat snuggle

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Welcome to the Trupanion blog. A place to celebrate pets, pet health and medical insurance for cats and dogs.

This blog is designed to be a community where pet owners can learn and share. The views expressed in each post are the opinion of the author and not necessarily endorsed by Trupanion. Always consult your veterinarian for professional advice.

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