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How to Take Your Cat for a Walk

By Colleen Williams
March 25, 2019 • 3 min. read
cat on a walk outside
cat on a walk outside


It’s the pet parent’s responsibility to provide an ample amount of play and exercise for their pets, but sometimes we fall short! Dog parents get in their pup’s workout through dog walks and outdoor play, hamsters are given toys and exercise wheels to get them to stay in shape, but how do we get our cats to exercise?

Cats, just like other pets, were bred from wild creatures who once roamed the outdoors freely. With a bit of exposure and the right guide, getting your kitty out and about will no longer be a task – but instead a fun time to play while getting in some exercise for the week!

Because the majority of cats aren’t used to going out for walks, you may have some obstacles to overcome, especially if your cat is older. Kittens may be easier to train but it doesn’t mean you should give up on your old gal just yet! The trick is to slowly introduce these new things to them, starting with:

The Harness

Unlike dogs, cats do not adjust well to getting tied up with a harness. First, it’s important that you get the right size for your cat. Getting one that is too big would not be secure since, with their flexibility, they could easily slip out of a loose harness. A small harness would also be extremely uncomfortable for your cat since it might be too tight and could cause difficulty in breathing or movement.

Before you decide to put it on your cat, make sure that you slowly introduce it into her periphery by placing it near her food bowl or bed. Encourage your kitty to sniff it and touch it by using treats and snacks as a reward. Over time, when she becomes more acclimated to its presence, try putting it on. Do this carefully and slowly. Be sure not to force her into it as this would only traumatize and associate the harness with negative emotions.

When you get the right size harness and you’ve got it on them, observe their movements around the house while they have it on. Let them wear it for a few hours within the day and when they are able to walk comfortably around with the harness, you can then attach them to…

The Leash

Restricting a cat’s movement would solicit you a few intense glares and possible hisses and scratches. Most cats are not used to such limitations.

Before you even begin to attach her harness to the leash, be sure that your cat has already been exposed to it. In the same method applied with the harness, introduce the leash into your cat’s surroundings. When she is comfortable with it, go ahead and attach that leash.

Letting her walk around the house with the harness and leash on is important. Lightly hold the leash while still giving her the freedom to roam.

You can introduce training by lightly tugging at the leash upon your commands. Use treats to supplement your commands. The goal is to get your cat to feel comfortable walking with you around the house. When you feel that she is, you can go ahead and…

cat walking on a leashBring Your Kitty Outside

If you have a small outdoor space, a backyard, a garden or an enclosed but outdoor area where you can start to walk your cat, let her take the first steps outside. It’s important that you do not force a cat to go out against their will.

Begin by placing your cat at the door and gently tug her to come outside. Reinforcement with treats and rewards can help entice your cat to walk outdoors.

While outside, remember to never leave them alone, as cats are prone to anxiety. You also wouldn’t want your cat getting used to staying outside alone since they may attempt to do this without you. You can start taking your cat out for a few short minute walks, and slowly prolong your walks over time.

Training your cat to go out on walks may not be an easy endeavor, but if done the right way, it would surely benefit both you and your kitty to get some quality time and exercise.

Take it slowly and always be aware of your cat’s reactions. She may hesitate for a while but with your guidance and these tips, you’ll get there.

Content provided by Cats.How. At Cats.How we believe in cats and their extraordinary abilities. We’ve dedicated Cats.How to all the present and future cat parents and cat lovers out there and we strive to provide you with curated quality and useful content every week. Please visit us at Cats.How.

colleen williams
By Colleen Williams

Over the past decade, Colleen has written about health, wellness, beauty, and even pets for The New York Times, The Cut, Refinery29, xoVain, Healthy Paws Pet Insurance, and Seattle Met Magazine, as well as many beauty brands. She has a BFA in Art History from the University of New Mexico and an AAS in Fashion Design from Parsons School of Design in New York.

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