Isn’t it dumb to walk a cat on a leash?

Depending on the part of the world, some ten to 20 years ago, seeing a cat on a leash would undoubtedly cause an amaze and videos uploaded on YouTube (if there were one back then) with a title “Dogcat” or similar.

Nowadays, however, seeing a cat on a leash is not so strange (well, it actually is here, where we live), while, on some occasions, cat owners might wonder is it normal for a cat to be walked on a leash? Cats are no dogs, right?

cat walking on a leash
We encountered this beautiful cat when visiting water works camp with our dog. He was the only cat among many large dogs, but enjoyed being on a leash for the most time. Photo: © pet-happy.com

Right! First, it’s totally normal for a cat to be walked on a leash, and second, cats are no dogs, indeed.

Why is it normal to walk a cat on a leash?

So, let’s talk about the first one. Why is it okay to walk a cat on a leash? First, because cats crave outdoors, but, as we have talked a lot before, outdoors of today are not safe for cats anymore. But, as well as outdoors provide danger, they also have a potential to provide things that are not present indoors, like fresh air, sunshine, wind breezes and communication to other animals via scent.

So, it all comes down to one thing – if you have an indoor cat who is intrigued for an outdoor life, the best opportunity would be training him to walk on a leash.

So, it’s not dumb to walk a cat on a leash, with an exception when your cat is afraid of outdoors. In such case you shouldn’t do it. However, there’s one more side of this story.

Cats walk on a leash different than dogs do

As much as it’s cool to walk a cat on a leash, it’s also necessary to remember cats are not dogs, and they walk on a leash differently. Or don’t they?

The leash for a cat is just a string attached to him, so he does not run away. You hold it, and let the cat choose where it goes. No need to pull and no need to guide your cat with a leash.

Of course, many dog trainers would say it’s not necessary to pull a leash of a dog either, but the real life tells us that it’s not necessary for well trained dogs only. Also, we still train our dogs to heel, or, at least, follow us. But it’s different for cats.

Cats do not follow us, we are the ones who should follow them.

We know cats walk by themselves, as Mr. Kipling already told us. And, despite the common belief, Kipling didn’t said that cats are solitary animals. He just told us that cats are the ones who make decisions by themselves. They want to come, they decide. They want to leave – they decide.

And so it also reflects in how we walk cats on a leash. They want to sniff here, we let him, they want to jump up and down in the muddy puddle – we let them if it’s okay with us. If they want to run in the jaws of a neighbors dog, we do not let them.

That’s what the leash is for. We do not pull our cat or tell him where to go. We just let him roam, and restrict locations we think are dangerous. And this is why walking a cat on a leash is not stupid. It’s a reasonable way to provide an outdoor access to our cat, when otherwise it’d be extremely dangerous.

Next, you can read this nice article on how to train your cat to walk on a leash. Thank you!