Updated: August 9, 2022 by Kristen Chapple
If you think about it, the situation with cats and dogs as pets is not fair at all. Dogs do get to play outside, but for most cats, being outdoors is just a dream. If they ever dream, that is. But both of them love being outside. So why wouldn’t you take your cat for a walk like you do with your dog?
This sounds easier than it really is, so here we’ll show you some tips of how to take your cat for a walk. Cats are a lot more independent than dogs, so letting them outside on their own might not be a good idea. Keeping them in a harness and leash will also be harder to achieve than with a dog, but it’s not impossible.
How to Take Your Cat For a Walk
Most cats enjoy being outside, smelling new, fresh things, running and playing around, so you should give your little furry friend the chance to do so. Expanding their environment to the outside world is a healthy thing for your cat.
Not all cats will accept walking on a harness and leash, but most can be trained to do it. The best time to do it is when they are kittens, though some adults respond well too.
Training should involve baby steps and a lot of treats. Food. Cats love their food. First, you need to introduce the harness to the cat. Leaving it by her food tray, or letting her sniff it and give her treats afterwards should work well. Anything that gets your furry friend to associate the harness with a nice treat should do the trick.
The next step is to put on the harness. That also works in conjunction with food. Provide her with treats as you do that, or do it right before feeding, so she can associate the harness with a positive experience. Once she is comfortable with it, move on and fasten the harness.
It might take a few days, sometimes even weeks, for your cat to get comfortable with the harness, since she hasn’t probably felt something like that before. Be patient.
Once your furry feline friend is comfortable with the harness on, apply the same rules with the leash. Attach the leash, give her some treats, leave her to adjust to it. As she gets more comfortable with it, take the leash and try to have an adventure inside your house. Teach her to respond to your calls by applying some pressure on the leash. Walk around the house first and build up her comfort zone to include the harness and the leash.
The Outside World
Once your cat is comfortable walking in a leash around your home, move things forward by going outside. Again, take baby steps and provide her with treats.
Start in your backyard if you have one and try to keep the first exploring sessions short, because your little furry friend might be on alert in the beginning. Try a quiet area first, if possible, to reduce the noise and distractions. Once your kitty becomes more and more comfortable, you can go for longer and longer walks together.
Always pay attention to the cat. If she isn’t comfortable doing something, don’t force her. Be patient.
Don’t leave her out on her own. Always go with her, to let her understand that she’s only going out with you.
Don’t tie the leash to something and leave your cat unattended. That might not work the same as with dogs. Cats are different.
Always be patient. Take small steps, go back a few stages if needed, and try again later. Depending on the cat, it can take even a few months for her to become comfortable with the idea. Some cats will never do it, and you should accept it if that’s the case.