So, you’ve mastered leash-training and can now, successfully get your cat to walk on a leash. (Woohoo!) But can you actually take cats on walks? In a similar way to dogs? And if so, how do you take a cat for a walk? Plus, what do you need to know, do and consider before you go? Well my friends, let’s break it all down. Here’s how to take a cat for a walk – the complete guide.
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Can You Take Cats On Walks?
So first off, can you take cats on a walk? Like, literally? Well in short – yes!
All you need is a harness and a leash, and you can indeed, go for a walk with your cat.
It may not be as common, and of course, there’s certain differences and extra precautions that we’re about to run through that you should certainly bear in mind.
But you can take a cat for a walk in the same way that you can walk a dog. (I know, it’s pretty freaking cool!)
Should I Take My Cat on a Walk?
Now if you’re wondering how to take a cat for a walk, the question may also rise of, “should I take my cat on a walk?” I mean – will they like it? And what are the benefits? Well, to break it down…
Do Cats Like To Go On Walks?
Ultimately, whether or not a cat likes to go on walks, depends on:
- Their Personality: It goes without saying, cats that are more curious, adventurous and playful are far more likely to want to go on a walk than those that are shy or timid. So characteristics certainly play a part a big part when it comes to enjoyment. (Just like your personality influences the kind of things you like too!)
- Their Breed: Different cat breeds also have different personality traits. (Typically.) This means that certain cat breeds are actually more likely to prefer going on a walk than others too. For example: rag doll’s, abyssinian’s, bengal’s and maine coon’s (to mention just a few!) are all active and easy(ish!) to train, which means they’re far more up for walks!
- Training: The last key factor as to whether cats like going on walks, is when you introduce them to it. Almost any cat can grow to love walks if they’re used to going on them from a young age… So the earlier you start, the easier it is. Although it’s worth mentioning, cats as a whole are more trainable than you think – so start with the first stages and see how well they seem to take to it!
Ultimately, you know your cat, their character and what they do and don’t seem to like, so whether or not your cat – specifically – will like going on walks, can only really be determined by you!
The Benefits of Taking a Cat For a Walk
Now if you can get your cat to like walks, there’s many benefits so it’s really going to help to add value to their life!
For example, taking a cat for a walk is a great way to exercise your cat… It’s great for them! (But it’s also great for you too, as walking and hiking can get you in shape, so there’s the added bonus there too.)
See, it works your cats muscles and bones! It’s also good for their mind and stimulates their senses… Not to mention being great fun and stopping them from feeling cooped up indoors!
I especially recommend taking a cat for a walk if you have a cat in an apartment. Or even just walking them around your garden if you have an indoor cat. It makes the world of difference!
How To Take a Cat For a Walk
So now we’ve got that out of the way – how do you take a cat for a walk? What’s the best way to go about it, and what things should you consider if you’re going to be taking your cat for a walk? Well, let’s get stuck in, shall we?
1) Ease Into It Step By Step
So first up, when if you want to take a cat for a walk, you have to make sure you’re not rushing it or forcing it. Work through the other key stages before you attempt to go on a full blown walk, which means:
- Getting a cat used to a harness, and comfortable wearing it.
- Once they are, you can then add the cat leash on and train your cat to walk with on a leash.
- Once you’ve done this, you’re a major step towards taking a cat for a walk. Initially however, you don’t want to push for a walk straight away. (This would be far too much, too soon!) First you want to take them out somewhere smaller and easier, like in a back garden. This would be your best bet!
This is what we did with our Cody. Watch his first adventure outdoors:
After your cat has been outdoors, with a leash on a few times, and seems happy with it, only then can you look to take your cat for a walk.
By taking it step by step, not only can your cat ease into it more confidently, but you can too.
After all (particularly if you have an indoor cat), the thought of taking your cat out into the big wide world (which may bring worries of you losing them!), can feel a little daunting.
But it’s not. Or at least, it doesn’t have to be. Just ease into it, bit by bit.
2) Start Short
Keeping with the slowly-but-surely strategy when it comes to how to take your cat for a walk; always start short!
See, it’s easy to try to get ahead of yourself… You see all these adventure cats on Youtube / Instagram, you have your cat fully leash trained (woohoo!) and you see it as a fun and exciting cat challenge for you and your furry friend!
But (and this is a big but!) you need to make sure that you don’t try to run before you can walk.
See, a safe garden environment can be a lot different to the “great outdoors!” so pick where you’re going and be happy with any walk the two of you manage to do. (Even if it ends up being just a short loop… take this as a victory!)
If your cat gets spooked at any time, try to calm them down (of course) and if not – bring them home. Never push it too far, otherwise there’s the risk of undoing all of the good training and patience to date.
Remember: the wellbeing of your cat(s) always comes first. Walk based on how they’re acting and feeling, and don’t worry if you don’t go far straight away. Build it up, slowly but surely. This leads me onto my next point…
3) Be Led By Them
Taking a cat for a walk is completely different than taking a dog for a walk.
It’s not all about the distance, and doing it JUST for the sake of exercise. There’s plenty of ways to exercise your cat, without pushing them too hard on a walk.
See, you’ll be taking your cat for a walk – predominantly – for enrichment, which means it’s more about exploring and tapping into their senses. The calorie-burning part of taking a cat on a walk is just a bonus!
For this reason, be prepared to stop… A lot. Your cat will want to sniff, scratch, listen, watch and take everything in around them. But let them! As that’s what walking a cat is all about.
Yes, you will decide where to take your cat on walk, and know the main route that you can go. But it’s then down to your cat to determine the pace and (to a degree) how far they want to go or how long they want to be out for.
Don’t pull your cat, don’t drag them, and – if possible – try not to rush them either. That’s how they’ll get the absolute most out of it, and enjoy it the most too, which in turn makes it easier to take your cat on a walk each time.
4) Go Somewhere Quiet
As you can imagine, the last thing you want to do is land yourself in dog territory and have any nasty confrontations or stressful situations for your cat.
You therefore want to avoid popular walking spots or busy pathways. Likewise, try to avoid busy main roads if you notice your cat gets frightened around loud traffic.
Instead find walks that you and your cat can have more to yourselves. Go somewhere quiet! This means either:
- Driving to then take your cat on a walk. (You just want to get them comfortable traveling in a car, and not dreading it – expecting to go to the vets!)
- Walking your cat in a cat backpack, then taking them out in a quieter area to walk with you the rest of the way. This works really well, especially when you get a cat backpack with mesh, because even if you do come across dogs, your cat can hardly be seen and so won’t be noticed. They’ll also feel more protected, yet are taking everything in along the way! This leads me onto our final point…
5) Don’t Forget, You Can Also Carry Them!
Taking your cat a walk doesn’t actually mean they have to walk themselves, every step of the way.
It’s just the fact that they’re able to come out and about with you – exploring new grounds and taking everything in. This is the best thing about it!
For this reason, I highly recommend investing in a cat travel backpack, as your cat can perch on the back of you (head out of the carrier even, whilst still being harnessed in) and gain many of the same benefits as if they were walking themselves.
So mix it up! This way you can stay out longer and cover a further distance. It’s a win, win!
Top Tips For Taking a Cat For a Walk
Let’s finish with some top tips for taking a cat for a walk now then, with extra advice and recommendations. See if you want to make it a little easier:
- Always opt for a harness over a collar. Collars can allow your cat to escape if they become frightened, panic and start to squirm. It’s not that they will want to run off. (If they’re a happy cat – they won’t want to.) But they may get spooked which could end in disaster. So always go for a harness instead of a collar. No harness is completely escape-proof, but they’re a lot more secure, and you’re far more likely to be able to grab them before they can get out. (If it comes to that at all, which hopefully it won’t anyway!)
- Use calming words and gentle movements. I know, I know, you want your cat to be as excited as you are, but understand – this is a big deal for them! So try not to run around or do anything to make your cat jump. Grab some quiet, gentle, budget friendly walking shoes and tread carefully, moving slowly, at your cats pace. Be their best friend and home comfort; encouraging them along!
- Protect them! You may be taking your cat for a walk, but remember – you’re basically like their body guard here. Grab your cat and hold them in your arms, should any potential “danger” come their way. You also want to protect your cat, if you’re taking them out on a walk, by ensuring they’re up to date with all their vaccines, plus flee, tick and worm treatments, as they’re more likely to catch something when venturing outdoors. And then of course – keeping an eye on them, if they start to poke their heads down badger / rabbit holes or in ground bee nests / ant nests even… Uh huh, having them exploring SOME places, isn’t always a good idea!
- Take lots of treats. Treats always work, well… a treat(!)… when it comes to training. Encourage them to associate positive things to walk-time and you’ll have far more joy every time it comes to taking your cat for a walk.
- Be prepared. Alongside treats, you also want to take water, which you can pour into a collapsible pet water bowl whenever you take a break. Cats don’t drink as much as dogs, but with the extra activity, it’s good to have it there in cat they do need it – especially on a hot day and with dry biscuits / treats! Also
How To Take a Cat For a Walk
So there we have it – how to take a cat for a walk. I hope you’ve found this both valuable and inspiring.
After all, it’s amazing how much you can actually do with a cat… And the more you put into Cat Parenthood, the more you get out, so it’s quite special, really.
Thanks for reading. Be sure to browse our articles for more!