If you have an adventurous cat who longs to feel the sunshine on their little pink noses, this walking the cat guide is for you. While it may be true that dogs are the most walkable pets, taking the cat for a walk is also common.
If you train your kittens well and follow the advice of vets and animal experts, your feline friend could enjoy a family walk as much as anyone. This becomes incredibly helpful for indoor cats who seek the outdoors, as it keeps them safe while still allowing them some freedom.
Can You Walk a Cat?
Absolutely. It may not be in all the ‘kitten manuals’, but cats walking isn’t as strange as it sounds.
Of course, some cats are indoor-lovers and will not enjoy being outside among loud noises, fast cars, and other animals (such as your neighbor’s dogs). So knowing your cat, and allowing them to show you if they’re comfortable with being outside is important.
But if your cat is an outdoor junkie and gets excited whenever the doors are opened, I’d be willing to bet that taking cat for a walk will be a fun event!
⇒ Another option for getting out and about with your cat is to invest in a cat carrier. Check out my guide to the best carrier for cats.
Tips on How to Walk a Cat
If you’re still training your cat to go for walks, here are a few things to keep in mind:
- Use a harness or vest to attach the leash to, and not their collar.
- Get them used to the harness indoors first.
- Be patient, it may take some time for your kitten to understand the ‘cat walking on leash’ concept.
- Use training methods like a clicker and/or treats.
- Make sure you have the right gear, and that it’s comfortable for your cat.
- Choose walking times that are quiet, to avoid unnecessary chaos the first few times.
- Don’t go too far, and don’t expect a rushed pace – how a cat walks is very different to dogs, let your feline guide you.
- You may not be able to walk the cat near your house if the street is busy and noisy. In that case, rather drive them to a quiet spot where they can walk peacefully.
- Create a routine for taking the cat for a walk, to avoid your cat trying to leave the house every time you do.
- Watch that your cat doesn’t lick or eat any strange looking plants and insects. There is a list of toxic plants that you wouldn’t want them to be putting in their mouths.
- Your kitten should have all its vaccines before going out for walks, so avoid taking them while they’re too young.
Basic Items For Cat Walking
To walk your cat, they’ll really only need a harness and a leash. The harness is important, as cat collars are not secure enough to use when walking on a leash. Treats are also good to take with you on the first few walks, as part of your training.
If you’re worried your cat may not walk the full way, then a portable carrier that you can easily take with and put them into is a good idea as well.
Tip: You may also need a clicker for training your cat to wear the harness and walk on the leash.
Types Of Cat Harnesses
As walking cats becomes a more acceptable and understood practice, the products available just keep expanding. There are currently various harnesses that you buy for your cat such as an escape proof cat harness, with different fabrics, styles and even purposes.
Your choice of cat walking vest will depend largely on your kitty’s size, age, and comfort needs. The best kitten harness will be very different from what’s best for your elderly cat. The most important feature to look for, though, is that it’s safe and escape-proof.
There are three main styles of cat harnesses:
This is the most basic style of cat harness, and often the best type to start with. As the name suggests, the harness is the shape of a figure 8 and wraps around your cat’s shoulders, over its back, and behind its front legs. It usually has one small loop that goes over the cat’s head, and a larger loop with a buckle for the chest.
Figure 8 harnesses offer adjustable sizing and will tighten if your cat decides to try out a mastermind escape plan. They’re not very restrictive, and allow cats to move around naturally.
You may find your cat forgetting they even have it on. Especially after a few trips.
H-harnesses also have two loops, one for the head and the other for the chest. Except that the cat H-harness has two straps that join these loops, one down the back and the other underneath the tummy. These give quite a bit of mobility to the cat, much like the figure 8 harness.
The H-harness has a collar-loop, which circles the cat’s neck, and the second loop secures the body. This allows the cat to move around without pulling too much or choking it.
The lead secures to a loop further down the cat’s back, so that there isn’t pressure near the neck. The H-harness and cat figure-8 holsters are the best cat harnesses for large cats.
A jacket full-body cat harness offers more security for squirmy cats. They come in full jacket-style as well as butterfly-style vests. This style is ideal for cats who squirm and scratch at the usual harnesses.
These come in a variety of colors, styles, and patterns, so you can really have fun when buying a jacket harness. Although because of the designs, it’s most important to make sure you get a walking vest that fits well and is made from breathable materials.
Depending on your cat’s needs, you can get them a step-in vest, or an escape-proof cat harness if they’re prone to wriggling and writhing.
How To Put On A Cat Harness
Once you have the perfect fit for your cat, the next step is to get them used to wearing the harness. Your cat may be eager to get outside, but that doesn’t mean they’re eager to be strapped into any kind of harness.
Before you try to put the harness on them, it’s a good idea to introduce them to their new walking accessories slowly. Put it near them, let them sniff it and touch it, and slowly start making it a part of their daily lives. Use treats as well, giving them one each time you put their head through, strap it on, etc.
Each style of harness will present its own pros and cons when putting them on. The trick is to know the harness well, so that you’re not fumbling around with it too much, allowing time for your cat to make a run for it.
⇒ About to become a fur parent? Check out my Complete Guide to How to Look After a Kitten.
A swift movement over the head, and the quick but careful snap of a buckle will make harness time a lot smoother for everyone involved. Once the harness is on, make sure it’s not too tight (and not too loose either) before you put the leash on.
Harnesses should come with adjustable straps, so once it’s on the cat, hand your kitty a treat and spend some time adjusting it to make sure it’s escape-proof and comfortable.
Many harnesses will come with a cat leash, but there are different styles of leashes that you can swap out. And if a leash breaks or gets lost, you’ll have to buy a new one.
A leash for your cat is not very different to a leash you’d buy for your dogs, except some may be smaller. You can get really fun colors and printed leashes, which will make the whole experience just a little bit cuter.
There are also bungee leashes, which provide some freedom for your cat to explore ahead of you without you losing control of them. And if you have more than one cat, you could use a double leash to walk them together.
Retractable leads are available, although there is some debate around whether these are good for your pets.
Summary Of The Best Cat Harness And Walking Products
Walking your cat can be a great experience for both you and them. It can help use up some of the curious energy your kitten has inside of them. And it will allow them to discover the wonders of the outside world.
With the proper gear, and an eager kitty, your walking adventures should be pleasant and even eventful. You’ll both be able to breathe in some fresh air, enjoy a change of scenery, and get in your daily step count.
Please Note: This post contains affiliate links. That means if you click through on most of the links and end up making a purchase I will receive a small commission. This will not effect the price that you pay. I wanted to make sure that you were aware of this.
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