Walking Your Cat on a Leash, or "I can has leash?"

Today when I was out and about at a local street fair, I saw a bunch of dogs on leashes…and then a kitty on a leash. The woman “walking” the cat wasn’t having too much luck; mostly she had to resort to holding the cat.

Is this common where you live? Is it possible to teach a cat to walk on a leash or is it pretty much like trying to herd them? Is there any reason for doing it?

We’ve walked our cats on leashes. They didn’t really like it (the first time we put leashes on them, they squatted down and refused to move, as if their weight had suddenly increased), but eventually they got the hang of it, and it wasn;'t at all difficult. But later we found it easier not to have them on leases at all.

I can’t say that I ever see anyone else doing it, but every pet shop I’ve been in carries cat leashes. Somebody must be buying them.

I have a leash for my cats. I don’t walk them much anymore, but I used to take one up to the bar with me sometimes. Usually, it went something like: My friend and I start walking to the bar. My (used to be) outdoor cat would start to follow us, so we’d grab the leash and take him along.

Cats are harder to leash-train than dogs, so a lot of the time I would carry them to my destination, then let them run around the bar or cafe as far as their leash would allow. I know another leash-trained cat that is much much better at actually “walking” on the leash. It’s a skill that needs to be practiced, and I’ll admit I don’t walk them often enough for them to really grasp the concept.

It’s not particularly common in my area, most people giggle and gawk at a cat on a leash.

I used to have a cat that I would walk on a leash that was attached to a shoulder harness, but I had to walk very slowly because my cat would like to stop and sniff stuff. Generally he was a very active cat.

That’s my main problem too. They like to check out all the interesting stuff out there, so it takes forever to get anywhere. Most of the time they’d be ok following me, stopping to check stuff out on the way, but sometimes they just want to go in a completely different direction. And they can be quite stubborn about it.


Sam likes to sit in a little triangular patch of grass that’s between the front porch, the driveway, and the flower bed. She mostly looks at birds and gnaws grass.

I’ll occasionally lift her up and put her down near the sidewalk. She’ll make her way back to her spot, stopping to sniff every six inches or so. It takes us a good fifteen minutes to traverse twenty feet.

I’ve tried putting my cat on a leash, but he does the sudden increase in gravity thing. He doesn’t mind the harness, at least, and it’s easy to get it all on him. I mostly just use it for control of the cat when traveling (so he can’t get away) and use the leash to lash him to the passenger’s seat when driving. Maybe if I kept him on it longer he might get used to it but, as I said, I mostly see it as a safety net for moving the cat outside a carrier.

I’ve tried too. My poor kitty lost all of his bones until I took it off…

We call that “making themselves heavy.” Cracks me up.

My SIL tried the leash thing and it didn’t work out for her either. We’ve just grounded our cats for life and don’t even think about it anymore.

I used to live in a very quiet residential area so I let the cat lead me most of the time, and usually after a few minutes I’d end up sitting in the grass and watch my cat play while attached to a long leash. I knew it would be nothing like walking a dog. He was a great cat.

It’s been awhile since I visited Berkeley, but the last few times I was there I noticed a series of shoulder cats. These cats are leashed and ride on their human’s shoulders as the human walks down the street.

There weren’t a huge number of such cats, but at least 3-4 each visit, and I wasn’t spending much time walking around. Anyone else ever seen it?

there was a guy in my neighbourhood that had a shoulder cat. it was an abyssinian.

there was a woman who walked a black cat on a leash.

I’ve seen a youngish kittenny cat sitting happily on its human’s shoulder as the human was riding a bicycle along a very busy city road. Weird = it looks completely unworried and fairly interested in just looking around.

I saw a cat on a leash last afternoon, but it’s the first I’ve seen in ages.

My parents have a harness and leash somewhere. We only used it a few times, for the same reason that everyone else mentions. (*) I’m sure many people have bought them, only to toss them in a closet right away when it becomes clear the cat is having none of it.

  • For those poor people w/o kitteh, a cat can, if it’s sullen and not wanting to move, double it’s weight and take on the physical properties of a bag full of pudding. You can’t pick it up anymore from the top, and it becomes very hard to scooch your hands under it. Our cat would get growly if you kept trying, and I always either gave up or ended up getting attacked (which just helped me pick her up; hah! :D)

I’ve seen a couple of people doing this, and, based on the places I’ve seen it done, it appears that those who do so want their cats to get exercise (the cats don’t seem to agree, but I digress), but fear their cats getting struck by moving vehicles.

The first experience with a halter and leash can be pretty exciting. My daughter rescued a cat through the animal rescue league when she was in college. She decided that the cat needed to get out of her apartment but did not want to let it run lose. Her answer was to take the cat out on a leash. The maiden voyage (which I witnessed) was spectacular. The cat, a middle aged former Tom, did not go limp. He went nuts–clawing, screaming, running and jumping. At one point he was well over my head and I’m over six feet tall. I thought the poor thing was going to actually die of apoplexy before we got him trapped in a coat and got the harness off of him. Based on our experience I would not recommend taking a cat for walkies – maybe a hamster wheel instead…

I have a harness and leash for Micky, not for walking but just so he can be outdoors with us, eat grass, etc.

He’s fine until he feels a tug, and then he does the collapsing thing. I think it’s a natural reaction to the tug on his neck – he thinks his momma is gonna pick him up.

We have a harness/leash for the cat, but mostly we carry him if we want him to actually go somewhere. So we’ll put the leash on, carry him to the park, and then he’ll meander and sniff while we’re at the park. The leash stays on so that he can’t go far without us. Then we pick him up to carry home. He will sort of walk down the street with the leash, but it takes like 45 minutes to walk the length of two houses, because he wants to sniff everything. He doesn’t seem to mind the leash itself, but he’s indignant at the idea that we would lead him anywhere with it.

I get revenge in other ways with my cat. Want to hop on my keyboard? throw kitty off said keyboard, hop on me at 4:30 am, toss kitty off bed. I think she still likes me.
I am kind and I don’t really toss her people.

black rabbit, did you steal my cat? Seriously. I would think so if he weren’t sitting here sniffing my toes.

I have leash for Merlin, but I have not yet attempted to walk him on it. Do let me know how that goes.