How Do I Start My Cat On Walks?

Do you ever feel like your cat is living a sedentary lifestyle? Are you looking for ways to get them moving and active? Well, have you considered taking your furry friend on a walk? That’s right – cats can be trained to walk on a leash just like dogs. Not only will it provide exercise, but it’s also an excellent bonding opportunity.

However, before you start planning your first feline hike, there are some essential steps to take. In this blog post, we’ll explore the best ways to get your cat started on walks. From introducing them to a harness to gradually acclimating them to outdoor surroundings, we’ve got the inside scoop.

It’s important to note that cats thrive on routine and familiarity. So when it comes to training them for walks, patience is key. We’ll give tips on how to slowly ease your cat into walking on a leash and reward good behavior along the way. Plus, we’ll discuss ideal locations for cat walks and how to handle any anxiety or fear they may experience during the process.

So grab that leash and let’s embark on a new adventure with your furry companion.

What is a Harness and Why Is It Important?

One way to do that is by taking them on walks. However, before you embark on a walk with your cat, it’s crucial to ensure their safety and comfort through the use of a harness.

A harness is a pet restraint that fits around your cat’s body, typically with straps that sit across their chest and belly. Unlike collars, which can be dangerous for cats as they can easily slip out of them or hurt their necks if they pull too hard, a harness distributes the pressure evenly across their body.

A harness plays a vital role in keeping your cat safe while on walks. Here are a few reasons why:

  • Safety: A harness prevents your cat from escaping or getting lost. It also gives you more control over their movements, which is especially important when walking in a busy or unfamiliar area where there may be other animals or potential hazards.
  • Comfort: A properly fitting harness is comfortable for your cat to wear. They won’t feel any pressure on their neck, which can be uncomfortable and even painful with a collar.
  • Control: A harness gives you more control over your cat’s movements during walks. This can help prevent them from getting into dangerous situations or running off in pursuit of prey.

When selecting a harness for your cat, ensure that it fits well and is comfortable for them to wear. Measure your cat’s chest and neck before purchasing a harness to ensure the right fit. Additionally, choose a harness made of breathable material that won’t irritate your cat’s skin.

Preparing Your Cat for Walks

Before you hit the pavement, it’s important to prepare your furry friend for the adventure ahead. Here are some essential steps to ensure a safe and enjoyable experience.

Introduce Your Cat to the Harness:

How Do I Start My Cat On Walks-2

The first step is to invest in a high-quality harness that fits your cat snugly and comfortably. A harness is safer than a collar and prevents your cat from slipping out and potentially getting lost or injured. To get your cat used to wearing a harness, introduce it slowly.

Let them sniff and play with it for a few days before putting it on them. Gradually increase the amount of time they wear the harness until they are comfortable wearing it for extended periods.

Vaccinations and Flea Treatments:

Outdoor environments can be full of potential risks and hazards, so it’s important to protect your cat from any potential diseases or parasites they may encounter. Make sure your cat is up-to-date on all their vaccinations and flea treatments before heading out on walks.

Train Your Cat to Come When Called:

Training your cat to come when called is crucial for preventing them from running away or getting into dangerous situations while out on walks. Start by calling their name and rewarding them with treats when they come to you. Gradually increase the distance between you and your cat and continue rewarding them when they come to you. With enough practice, your cat will learn to come when called reliably.

Introducing Your Cat to the Harness

Introducing your cat to the harness is the first step towards exploring the world together. But, before you start planning your next great escape, it’s crucial to follow some essential steps to make the transition as comfortable as possible.

Step 1: Let Your Cat Sniff and Explore the Harness

Introducing a new object to your cat can be daunting. Start by placing the harness near your cat’s food or bed, so they can get used to its presence. Allow them to sniff and explore it at their own pace. This step will help your cat become familiar with the harness and feel comfortable around it.

Step 2: Get Your Cat Used to Wearing the Harness

Once your cat has become familiar with the harness, try putting it on them for short periods while they’re indoors. Allow them to wear it around the house so that they get used to the feeling of being restrained. It’s essential to ensure that the harness fits your cat correctly. A harness that is too tight or too loose can cause discomfort or escape, respectively, so always ensure that it fits snugly but not too tightly.

Step 3: Attach a Leash and Take Short Walks

Once your cat has become comfortable wearing the harness, attach a leash, and take them outdoors for short walks around your yard or garden. Keep in mind that this is a new experience for your cat, so keep training sessions short and positive, using treats and praise as rewards for good behavior.

Step 4: Be Patient

Introducing your cat to the harness may take time. Be patient and keep training sessions positive. Remember that cats are creatures of habit, and they may need some time to adjust to a new routine. With time and patience, your cat will become more confident and comfortable walking on a leash.

Attaching a Leash to the Harness

Before embarking on your outdoor adventure, it’s crucial to ensure that you attach the leash to the harness correctly. As an expert in this field, I cannot emphasize enough the importance of selecting the appropriate harness and leash for your cat.

Firstly, choose a harness that fits snugly but doesn’t squeeze your cat’s body too tightly. Ensure that the harness is made of durable materials that can withstand wear and tear over time. When attaching the leash to the harness, be sure it’s not too long or too short, as this can make walking uncomfortable for your cat.

To attach the leash securely, use a sturdy clip that won’t break easily. Avoid using a weak or flimsy clip that could put your feline friend at risk of escaping its harness. Instead, choose a robust clip that can hold up even if your cat tries to pull away.

Before venturing outside with your cat, allow them to get accustomed to wearing the harness indoors. This helps them feel comfortable and confident when they step out with you. Start with short walks before gradually increasing the length of each walk.

Taking Short Walks

Taking your cat on walks can be a wonderful way to bond with your furry friend and introduce them to the world outside of your home. However, it is crucial to start with short walks and take the necessary steps to ensure your cat is comfortable before attempting longer treks.

Firstly, you should introduce your cat to the collar and leash. It’s essential to choose a collar that fits well and is comfortable for your cat, as some felines may not like wearing one. Let your cat get used to wearing the collar for a few days before attaching the leash.

Once your cat is comfortable with the collar, attach the leash and let them drag it around the house or yard. This will help them get used to the feeling of being tethered to something. The next step is to start with short walks in a quiet area where there are no other animals or distractions. Let your cat lead the way and keep the leash loose. Reward them with treats and praise when they do well.

It’s important to watch your cat’s body language during walks. If they seem uncomfortable or scared, take them back inside. Gradually increase the length and frequency of walks as your cat becomes more comfortable.

In addition, make sure you have all the necessary supplies such as waste bags, water, and a carrier in case your cat gets tired or overwhelmed. Finally, remember that every cat is different, so take it slow and let your feline friend set the pace.

Gradually Increasing Distance and Time Spent Outside

It’s an excellent decision, but it’s important to remember that cats are creatures of habit and routine. Therefore, it’s crucial to proceed carefully, gradually increasing the distance and time spent outside.

Begin by introducing your cat to a harness and leash at home. Allow them to wear it for short periods until they become comfortable. Then start with short walks outdoors, giving your cat time to become familiar with the sights, sounds, and smells of the great outdoors.

Watch your cat’s body language closely during these initial walks. If they seem hesitant or scared, take a step back and spend more time at the current level. Remember, your cat’s comfort should always be a top priority.

Once your cat is comfortable with outdoor walks, gradually increase the time spent outside each day, starting with a few extra minutes. Also, increase the distance you travel progressively. Start with shorter distances and work your way up. This will help your cat build endurance and get used to walking outside.

It’s worth noting that not all cats enjoy outdoor walks, so don’t force it if your cat seems unhappy or uncomfortable. Instead, consider indoor exercise options like interactive toys or scratching posts.

When preparing for outdoor walks, make sure your cat is equipped with a sturdy harness and leash that fits properly. A harness is safer than a collar since cats can easily slip out of collars.

Understanding that Cats Are Independent Creatures

If you’re thinking of taking your feline friend on a walk, it’s important to keep in mind that cats are independent creatures. Unlike dogs, they have their own personalities and temperaments that make them unique and special. So, how can you train your cat to explore the great outdoors while respecting their autonomy? Here are some tips and tricks.

Introduce new experiences gradually

Cats are natural explorers but also have a strong instinct to hide and protect themselves from danger. They can become easily frightened by unfamiliar sounds or sights. That’s why it’s crucial to introduce your cat to new experiences gradually. Start by taking them on short walks in familiar surroundings, such as your backyard or a nearby park. This will help your cat feel secure and confident while exploring the outside world.

Pay close attention to body language

Cats have a unique way of communicating their emotions and needs through their body language. As a cat owner, it’s essential to pay close attention to your cat’s behavior when introducing them to new experiences like going for a walk. If your cat appears nervous or fearful, take a step back and try again later. On the other hand, if your cat seems excited and curious, encourage them to explore more.

Understand their communication style

Cats have a unique way of communicating with their owners. They may become anxious or stressed if they feel overwhelmed or uncomfortable in a new environment. It’s crucial to understand your cat’s communication style and respond accordingly. For example, if your cat is meowing incessantly or hiding under the bed, it might be a sign that they’re feeling anxious or stressed out.

Respect their independence

Cats are independent creatures by nature and may not always want to go on walks. They might prefer lounging around the house instead of exploring the outside world. It’s important not to force your cat into doing something they don’t want to do. Instead, let them lead the way and allow them to explore at their own pace.

Tips for Making Walks Enjoyable for Your Cat

Taking your cat for a walk can be a fantastic way to bond with your furry friend while providing them with the exercise they need to stay healthy and happy. However, just like humans, cats have different personalities and preferences, so it’s important to make sure that they’re enjoying the experience.

Here are some tips for making walks enjoyable for your cat:

  • Start Slowly: Cats are curious creatures, but they can also be skittish and easily overwhelmed. Start with short walks in a quiet area and gradually increase the distance as your cat becomes more comfortable.
  • Choose the Right Equipment: A good quality harness and leash are essential for your cat’s safety and comfort. Collars can be dangerous for cats as they can cause injury to their necks if they pull or get tangled.
  • Pick the Right Time: Choose a time when your cat is most active and alert, such as early morning or late afternoon. Avoid walking your cat during extreme weather conditions, such as hot summers or cold winters.
  • Keep Your Cat Safe: Before taking your cat outdoors, make sure they’re up-to-date on all vaccinations and flea/tick treatments. Keep an eye on your cat at all times, especially if there are other animals or people around.
  • Make it Fun: Bring along some toys or treats to keep your cat engaged and happy during the walk. Consider taking different routes to keep things interesting for your cat.
  • Respect Your Cat’s Preferences: Not all cats enjoy walks, so don’t force them if they’re not interested. If your cat seems stressed or uncomfortable, stop the walk and try again another day.

During the walk, let your cat explore and sniff around at their own pace. Follow their lead and don’t force them to go in a certain direction or walk at a certain pace. If your cat seems tired or overwhelmed, take a break and let them rest for a bit. You can sit down with them and give them some pets and cuddles before continuing the walk.

Always watch for signs of stress in your cat, such as flattened ears or a tense body posture. If your cat seems stressed, it may be time to end the walk and try again later.


In conclusion, taking your feline friend on outdoor walks can be a delightful way to bond and keep them active. However, it’s crucial to prioritize their safety and comfort throughout the process. Introduce them to a harness gradually, allowing them to adjust to the new sensation at their own pace. Remember that cats thrive on familiarity, so patience is key.

When preparing for your walk, select high-quality equipment such as a sturdy harness and leash, and pick a time when your cat is most energetic. Ensure that they are up-to-date on vaccinations and flea/tick treatments for their protection. To make the experience enjoyable for both you and your cat, bring along some toys or treats.

It’s equally essential to pay attention to your cat’s body language during walks and respect their independence. If they seem stressed or uncomfortable at any point, allow them to take a break or end the walk altogether. Not all cats enjoy walking outdoors, so don’t force it if they’re not interested.

With these tips in mind, you can embark on an exciting adventure with your furry companion while keeping them safe, comfortable, and happy.