Walking your cat on a leash is the perfect way for little feline adventurers to safely experience the outside world. Sniffing out new scents and rubbing their furry little cheeks on everything in sight with their trusted ‘pawrent’ by their side would probably be described as the “Best. Day. Ever!” by our furbabies if they could talk.
Much like harness training, it takes time for both you and your kitty to get used to walking outside on a leash, so we’ve outlined some tips and tricks to help you and your floof enjoy safe, stressfree and superfun strolls!
How to leash train a cat
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Finding the right leash for your cat
It’s important to select the right sort of leash for your cat before venturing out. It might seem like an easy option to pick up a dog leash in your local pet store but retractable dog leashes in particular can be quite ‘grabby’ and can yank on your cat’s harness causing discomfort and making it harder for your kitty to openly explore - no fun, right?! So opting for a leash designed specifically for cats will make your trips out and about much more smooth and enjoyable!
Things to consider when purchasing a cat leash:
Lightweight with no bulky, heavy clasps that add weight to the top of your kitty’s harness
Specially designed for cats with weight ratio in mind, this is particularly important for retractable leashes
Strong enough to be able to handle the ‘zoomies’!
Check out our range of specially designed cat leashes here.
The Supakit harness range in particular has been designed for utmost safety and comfort and correct leash positioning plays a big part in this. Check out our handy diagram below that shows the ‘safe zone’ you should be in while walking your cat on a leash.
We also advise against tethering your kitty. You'll see from our diagram below that tethering creates a fixed point for your cat to pull against, usually causing their harness to slip off over their heads, otherwise known as the 'Escape Danger Zone'!
What to expect on your first trip outside
Cats are born explorers so when you first walk your cat on a leash you will notice how they meander, hesitantly at first, sniffing and rubbing their scent onto various objects and generally taking in their surroundings. You will probably find that your first few trips with your cat on a leash will involve you keeping a watchful eye over them while they make their way slowly around the space.
Be guided by your cat
It is important to allow your cat to explore new territory on a leash at their own pace. Think of their leash as a lifeline to you, keeping you connected while allowing them the freedom to explore independently, with you as their 'walking wingman', keeping an eye out for them, making sure they’re safe and sound and not wandering into places they shouldn’t – “step away from the rabbit hole!”.
Your kitty will naturally test their boundaries and how far they can explore as they grow in confidence on their leash. If there is an area that you would like to steer them away from, do so gently without dragging their leash, this can cause injury and hinder progress you’ve made in your cat’s leash training journey. Instead, try to lure them away from an area with their absolute favourite treat and coax them over to where you would prefer them to explore. You can also try holding their leash steady, giving a calm but firm ‘no’ command and allow them to realise themselves that you’re not going to change your mind!
Don’t be surprised if your kitty channels their inner ‘Mowgli’ and attempts to shin up the nearest tree. Our advice would be to steer them away from any tree-based gymnastics; leashes can get tangled around branches and if your furbaby is particularly agile, you will find it very hard to reach them to help them down. If you think your cat is likely to climb, keep their leash short and coax them away with some yummy treats.
Walking your cat on a leash can be one of the most rewarding and bonding experiences you will share together. Knowing you’re there at the end of their leash, keeping them safe strengthens the trust between you and your kitty and gives you both well-deserved time outside. Check out our other helpful blog posts 'How to Harness Train Your Cat' as well as ‘Cat Walking, Your Questions Answered’ for more top tips on heading out with your floof!