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Should You Walk Your Cat Outdoors on a Leash?

should you walk your cat outdoors on a leash

First, let me start by saying not every cat is a candidate for leash training. As with any type of training, there’s a learning curve but if your cat is easily stressed or you think she’ll never be comfortable, then don’t do it. You know your cat. Use that knowledge to make a sound decision that will benefit her and not stress or endanger her. Age is also a factor here. It’s much easier to train a kitten to accept leash-walking.

Leash Walking Your Cat Indoors is Vastly Different from the Outdoors

I’m a big proponent of leash training indoor cats but that doesn’t mean every cat should be walked outdoors. Cats are territorial and scent plays a huge role in their lives. When you take a cat outdoors she’ll be bombarded with endless unfamiliar scents. Some of those scents may be threatening. Additionally, cats can easily be startled by dogs outdoors, loud noises, cars, and even people walking by. If you think trying to hold a terrified and defensive cat in your arms as you head back to the safety of the indoors is easy, let me tell you it isn’t! This is how people and cats get injured and this is how cats escape from your control and get lost. So think carefully before you decide that walking outdoors is a good option. Know your cat, plan to only walk within your yard, and take precautions. Place a heavy towel over your shoulder before you head out for the walk so at the very least, you can wrap the cat in it should she panic. Another thing to consider is that your indoor cat, once she’s exposed to the outdoors, will be susceptible to parasites such as fleas and ticks. Make sure you plan in advance and begin flea/tick (and even heartworm) preventatives well in-advance of going outside. Finally, since the unthinkable can happen where your cat escapes, make sure she’s microchipped. As an extra precaution, have visible ID on her as well. The ID should say “indoor cat” so anyone coming across your cat will know she isn’t street savvy.