Is it Cruel to Put a Cat on a Leash?

Young Abyssinian cat color Faun with a leash walking around the yard. Cute cat in harness sitting on the lawn. Pets walking outdoors, adventures on the green grass in the Park.

Cat walking is a new trend which has been gaining in popularity over recent years, thanks mainly to social media. But is it okay to walk your cat? After all, this is a relatively new craze, but most domestic cats are either house cats or are let outside to prowl the surrounding area on their own. So, why has this new craze begun? Do cats like being walked, or is it cruel to put them on a leash?

Why Would You Walk a Cat?

Cats are not pack animals and tend to prefer exploring by themselves. Unlike dogs, cats do not need the same level of exercise, so there is no onus on the owner to walk them daily. So why would anyone even consider it?

According to the good folk at Voyager Harness, there are some valid reasons for taking cats on a walk. Those who do have a cat harness for their pet will probably tell you that they are taking their cat out for exercise, fresh air, and mental stimulation. They want their pet to be able to see more of the world without worrying that something bad will happen to them or that they won’t return.

As to whether it is cruel to attach a cat to a leash and a harness all depends on the individual cat. Some cats like to go outside on a leash while others hate it and will flop on their sides when any attempt to put them in a harness is made.

Do Cats Like Leash Walking

The reality is that while some cats can be trained to walk on a leash, in general, most do not like it. The reason for this, according to the RSPCA, is that because a sense of control is very important to cats, if it is on a leash it might feel very restricted. It may then become distressed, especially if they felt they couldn’t control the environment around them.

Think about how cats hightail it when they see a dog or hear a loud noise. Being on the end of a leash would prevent them from doing this. Cats like to have the ability to run and hide when faced with something they find threatening. If a cat on a leash were alarmed and tried to run, it could end up hurting itself.

Follow Your Cat’s Lead

If you intend to try out walking your cat on a leash, it is best to test it indoors before you venture outside, particularly if you have an indoor cat that is not used to being outside. Start by putting a good quality cat harness on your pet to see how it reacts to it. She is unlikely to enjoy it at first, but you can try it a few times to see if she gets used to it. Remember, if your cat seems overly stressed by being placed in a cat harness, it is probably best to leave her as she is. If she is stressing out in the harness when she is still in the house, she is not likely to fare much better outside.

Even if your cat is used to being outside, she is unlikely to enjoy being placed in a harness so that you can go for walks together. You might want to take her for a day trip and think a leash is the best way to keep her safe, but the whole experience could be too much for her.

The experts say that cat walking is something that should be assessed on an individual basis and only done if the cat is comfortable with it.