Categories: Cat Products

Cat on a Leash

Bushwah an F1 male Chausie on a leash. Photograph ©copyright Helmi Flick

Is a cat on a leash realistic? Yes, only don’t expect to go walkies in the way you would with a dog. Dogs are pack animals (and so are male humans) and they will follow etc. Dogs are of course more trainable than cats. But with patience and praise and some best quality food your cat might be trained to wear a leash.

It goes without saying that you won’t be needing a conventional collar. They don’t work for cats and are dangerous anyway. The kind of harness that you see in the picture above is as good as it gets. These harnesses are designed for cats. They are lightweight figure of 8 style halters. Don’t fit it too tightly nor too loosely otherwise your cat might have it off.

The purpose of using a leash on a cat is not primarily to go for a walk and get some exercise (although your cat will get some exercise), it is for your cat’s safety and to stop him or her running off.

You cat will, as usual, do pretty much as it pleases unless you have invested a lot of time in training. Or you start at an early age. If a cat  becomes accustomed to wearing a leash as a kitten I would foresee little problem when he or she becomes adult. The best examples are with expensive and large wild cat hybrids as in the video above. This is an F1 Savannah cat bred by Martin and Kathrin Stucki.

Talking about training, how do you train a cat to accept a leash? You’d be lucky of you could just put it on and wait for him or her to trot out with you. More likely your cat will try and get it off, initially.

Once you have put it on; wait a while, (s)he’ll probably roll over and try and get it off based personal experience. Now’s the time for patience and to tease her into accepting the harness by offering her favorite tasty food (best quality chicken or in my case lightly cooked prawns – instant distraction and reinforcement of good behavior).

Keep up the above over a three day period or so until (s)he accepts the harness.

Attach the lease and gently train her to walk by walking forward and gently tugging on the leash and show the prawns. She’ll follow and give her a reward. She’s starting to become a cat on a leash. There will be more times when she will be non-co-operative of course. Remain patient and reinforce with rewards.

Phase out the rewards gradually – time to go out…?

Needless to say start somewhere safe and quiet. He or she will go at her pace and she’s the boss. Beware of her eating grass if in a park (possible pesticides). The place you go should obviously be known to be safe for her. Cats are very sensitive to surroundings so she’ll be constantly distracted by investigating etc.

She Finn Frode and his cat on a leash as a very nice example of a cat on a leash: Walking an old cat on a leash.

See also cat clicker training.

In Moscow – photo:
gary oppenheim (Flickr)

Picture of black and white cat © jacob earl reproduced under creative commons.

From cat on a leash to cat facts

Please comment here using either Facebook or WordPress (when available).
Michael Broad

Hi, I am 70-years-of-age at 2019. For 14 years before I retired at 57, I worked as a solicitor in general law specialising in family law. Before that I worked in a number of different jobs including professional photography. I have a longstanding girlfriend, Michelle. We like to walk in Richmond Park which is near my home because I love nature and the landscape (as well as cats and all animals).

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  • All of our cats accept a harness and leash without question. However, we have a large cat enclosure in our yard that they have doggie door access to 24/7, so we just use them when we take them out in the front yard. Harnesses made exclusively for cats only should be used. Never attach a leash to a collar if your cat wears one.

  • Hey guys I have a tiny little ginger persian his name is eddy he is the most adorable thing but he won't listen 2 me he keeps running outside like a crazy thing and when I call him he usually come but if he's outside and I call he doesn't come he is really sweet but I don't think he'd work on a leash also we have 2 other cats that live outside but he's a full on indoors cat our garden is safe for cats but he keeps getting himself covered in mud and black jacks he won't come and he's very naughty how can I keep him from going outside I've done research and most sites say persians should never be let outside but my mom keeps letting him out and saying oh its natural its good he's gonna run away if you don't let him out he's gonna hate you would you like to be locked up the whole day but she doesn't know and everybody just let's the cat out and then I have 2 chase him and catch him and they don't even go after them I'm the one that ends up doing it have you got any hints on how I can keep my persian cat inside

    • Hi, nice to hear from you. Your problem is a classic. Both of you are right and the answer is not that easy. Eddy sounds adorable by the way. You say your garden is safe. By the way as you use the word 'garden' I assume you are English. I remember your name.

      For me there is no doubt that cats are better off smelling the air and the ground. They are better off being outside sometimes as it is more natural. The fact that she wants to go out indicates she likes going out. So I agree in principle with your mum. But as you say, you have chase after her etc.

      The reason why people say Persians should not go out is because:

      • Americans tend to give this advice and in America they keep cats in much more than in Europe. So the advice is not necessarily perfect advice. It is not bad advice but it biased towards keeping cats in full-time.
      • Persians have long fur and it gets dirty easily and is hard to clean. Keeping a Persian indoors makes it easier to maintain a Persian

      Both are not fantastic reasons to keep your Persian in. As you garden is "safe' (is it really safe?) I would advocate letting her out in the garden but ask your Mum to fetch her in and wash her if she needs washing.

      The alternative is to build a catio or cat enclosure that is clean but outdoors. That is not as expensive as it seems but it will cost and take time etc.

      Note: I favour natural life. Naturalness improves health as it lets a cat express their natural desires. Persians are a refined purebred cat but they are the same as a moggie inside. They want to hunt and chase etc. My advice will always favour a natural existence provided it is safe. I would advise finding a compromise that meets that objective.

      If you disagree I don't mind. Your question can produce many different answers. The answer should always be what is best for the cat?

  • HI
    looking for a good dependable leash for my cat, i got one but it,s no good he keep,s slipping it off over his head ,would like something not to heavy but something comfortable for him can you help me please.

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