Is the answer, never? I know a lot of people don’t like cats on a leash like a dog. I can understand that. Some of my esteemed colleagues on PoC don’t like them. Perhaps all of you don’t like them. I have to gently disagree on this occasion (rare).
Please give this video time to load! Sorry. It does work but a bit slowly. The video above shows an example of when a cat leash attached to a harness is appropriate. This is a public place and a glamorous cat. One has to modify one’s aspirations of letting a cat roam free under these circumstances.
The cat leash on a harness (as opposed to a collar) allows a person to provide outside enjoyment to a cat where the cat could not normally be allowed out because she is too valuable or simply because there are too many dangers. It is just a question of practicalities.
You could argue that any cat should be trained from a very young age to accept a harness. Then you could attach a leash to the harness and get used to taking a cat outside in the garden or even on the pavement on a leash, if the area is quiet. I remember seeing a cat on a leash in Paris, France in the 1970s. The person must have been very adventurous. Many people looked at her and her cat. I also remember an American lady visitor to the flats where I live walking her Siamese cat around the garden on a leash. She had brought her cat with her from America because she was staying for a long time. She was very successful at it and her cat was comfortable with it.
Early acclimatisation to a harness and leash would allow a cat some safe outside experiences under close supervision. The problem with cats on leashes is that cats don’t really cooperate. Initially, it requires a lot of effort from the cat’s human caretaker. Not many people have the time or the will to engage in that sort of effort.
The key is starting young, making it much easier. Think of the benefits. The millions of full-time indoor cats could smell the outside safely. There would be no reason for not letting your cat outside unless you are paranoid about something I have not foreseen. Isn’t it time to think of alternatives to full-time indoor living under increased urbanization and hazards from road traffic?
It might remove some of the argument for declawing a cat. People who declaw say their cats are full-time indoor cats and don’t need claws. That is obviously incorrect because claws do much more than defend a cat. A cat on a leash outside could justifiably require claws to defend herself.
I am just thinking aloud. I don’t see the big obstacles to placing a cat on a leash but as I say, you have to train a cat to accept the whole experience while young when a cat is much more accepting of a harness and a leash.
Conclusion: the reason why cats on leashes are rare has little to do with the cat. It is because people don’t want to be bothered. I can sympathise but it is not a good reason. Or is it to do with preconceptions about treating cats as cats and not as dogs? Cats on leashes are a big compromise. They are far from the ideal. However, we have to compromise and the need to compromise becomes ever more pressing with increases urbanisation. Another important point is that cat haters would be prevented from complaining and hurting outside cats. In some states in Australia they have a curfew on cats going out at certain times. Wouldn’t a cat on a leash get around that curfew?
- Cat leash laws USA
- Some posts on leashes. Finn Frode used to walk his cat on leash. Finn, where are you? How are you? I miss you.