How to Take your Cat for a Walk

a walking cat on a leash with owner

While taking dogs for walks is a well-known activity, the last decade has seen a dramatic and perhaps surprising increase in the number of owners who are now taking their feline friends to explore the great outdoors. But, is it really a good idea to take your cat for a walk? How can it benefit her?

Most people believe cats to be quite content lounging around in the comfort of their homes. However, felines tend to fall into one of two varieties. The first are certainly homebodies, preferring the warmth and sanctuary of their living environment and rarely venturing outside. The other type of cat is much more adventurous, and can appear restless or irritable when stuck inside your home. Sometimes, these ‘outdoor’ cats will destroy furniture and furnishings in frustration, or exhibit other undesirable behavior. These cats are much more likely to benefit from being taken for walks.

Do I need to use a leash?

Not all cats will want to walk on a leash, but it is definitely worth trying to get your kitty used to using one. Most pet owners actually find a harness is much better to use. This is because they sit around your cat’s body and make it harder to her to escape – something that is particularly important if she is likely to run off or access places that humans can’t!

There are a variety of different cat harnesses to choose from, and which is right for your pet will depend on her size. Your local pet store or Flamingo Pet Clinic's veterinarian should be able to make a recommendation for you.

Walking a cat

You will quickly find that walking a cat is a completely different concept to walking a dog. While you can train a dog to walk alongside you on the route that you want to go, your cat won’t be nearly so compliant! Instead, you will end up accompanying your cat while she roams and explores. Keeping her on the harness is a good idea, particularly if she is prone to following her curiosity further than you would like!

Walking a cat is often a gradual process, starting with getting your kitty used to wearing a harness. This in itself can take days, weeks and even months. Let your furry friend spend some time getting acquainted with it, first by leaving it lying around the house so she can sniff it, then by getting her to wear it.

Once your cat is comfortable wearing her harness, you can begin to take her outside. While some furbabies will be happy to head out and explore their wider world immediately, others may only venture as far as the end of the garden path to begin with. The important thing is to go at your cat’s preferred pace, otherwise, you could end up causing her great anxiety. If after a few attempts she doesn’t seem to enjoy the experience, it may be that your cat simply isn’t going to be suited to going for walks.

When planning walking times and routes, try and choose ones that avoid contact with dog walkers and their canine companions. It is the natural instinct for dogs to pursue cats, and this could cause your kitty to become distressed and try and slip their harness. You should also make sure that your cat is up to date with all of her vaccinations so that she is protected should she come into contact with any diseased animals, whether wild or domestic.


For every cat that prefers to stay in the comfort of their own home, there is another that will enjoy the opportunity to explore with their owner. For further advice on how to take your cat for a walk, contact and speak with us at Flamingo Pet Clinic.