How To Leash Train Your Cat

October 1, 2020 // 8 minute read

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If you plan to have your kitten join you in your outdoor activities, such as a walk around the neighborhood or even a hike along the nearest trail, you will need a cat harness and leash. You will need to know how to leash train your cat and the harness must fit securely and comfortably on your cat. Many prefer using a cat harness that is escape-proof to ensure that they don’t lose their cat. Likewise, the leash should be long enough that your cat isn’t tugged.

Leash training your cat will also come in handy when you are traveling with your pet or just taking them to the vet. Walking your cat also provides the physical and mental challenges so your pet can lead a healthy lifestyle and be entertained at the same time. But before all that, you must first teach your cat how to walk on a leash.

cat wearing an escape-proof cat harness while walking with a leash

Is It Possible To Leash Train A Cat?

Yes, it is definitely possible to leash train a cat. There are specific cat breeds you can walk on a leash that love it and might be easier to train than some. But this doesn’t mean your cat shouldn’t have the opportunity to do so. Just have realistic expectations and remember that not all cats are up for walking on a leash and exploring the outdoors. Certain cat personalities are more accepting of it than others.

It is recommended that you introduce a harness to your cat as a kitten because they are naturally more accepting at this stage. Older cats can also be trained, but it might take longer to do so. Hence, a lot of patience is required. Just keep in mind that you should never force your cat outside of their comfort zone. A feline can still have indoor exercise and entertainment, after all.

Should You Leash Walk Your Cat?

Walking your cat on a leash might sound like a bad idea. However, it is far from it as cat leash walking offers your feline friend physical and mental stimuli. This will help improve their overall well-being.

Before you try walking your cat, there are certain behaviors to look out for. These are telltale signs that your cat might have what it takes to leash walk. Does your cat spend a lot of time staring outside, watching passerby, birds, and insects? Do you see them pawing at the window or the door? Does your feline pet try to go out of the door every time you open it?

If the answer to these questions is yes, your cat might be one that enjoys being outdoors. But before your cat joins you in exploring the natural world, find the right harness first. There are several types available like a cat walking jacket or an H-style harness. After this, you can start leash training.

How To Train A Cat To Walk On A Leash

There are some steps you can take on how to leash train a kitten. These are as follows:

Introduce The Cat Harness & Leash

The key to getting your cat acclimated with the leash and harness is to make it a positive experience. This means toys and treats. Start by leaving the harness and leash by your cat’s favorite toy or food dish. You can also hold out these walking tools and let your cat smell it. Give your cat treats after sniffing it. New noises can also be a cause of alarm to your cat, so you should also undo the Velcro or snap open and close the buckles. This will help get your cat used to the new sounds from the harness and leash.

Put The Cat Harness On

Slip on the harness on your cat, but don’t fasten it just yet. Give your pet more treats to distract them and help associate the experience with something positive. You can also try putting on the harness on your cat before mealtime. The food will distract your cat from the new sensation and keep them from removing it. Do this repeatedly for several consecutive days.

Once your cat is comfortable wearing the harness, try and fasten it. Practice adjusting the fit as you should be able to insert at least two fingers under the harness. Otherwise, it might end up being too tight or too loose on your cat. Leave it on for a few minutes and give your cat another treat.

Observe how your pet reacts. If your cat seems comfortable wearing it, leave it on for a bit longer. If they seem upset, give them a treat as a distraction and slip it off. Try again at a later time and remove the harness before your cat reacts negatively this time. Remember that it will take some time for your cat to get used to it as they likely haven’t experienced wearing something on their back before.

Attach The Leash To The Kitty Harness

Once your cat is comfortable with the harness, you can try attaching the leash. But first, make sure you are in a room with space for your cat to roam without the leash snagging on things like the furniture. You can try to either let the leash drag or to hold it loosely in your hand and let your cat roam freely. Give your cat a lot of praise and treats in the process as well.

After you both have practiced this, it’s time to guide your cat gently. Apply gentle pressure on the leash and call your cat to come to you. Reward them with a treat when they do come. Your cat might freak out when they feel the pressure from the leash. This is the last thing you want to happen as your cat might end up wriggling themselves out and dashing away from you. Therefore, it is best to try it indoors until they get used to it.

Go Outside

Take things slowly. Start by carrying your harnessed kitty in your backyard or a nearby quiet area. Allowing your cat to walk out the door might make them get used to it. Your cat might, therefore, try and go out even when they aren’t leashed.

Once you are both outside, put your cat down on the ground gently and let them decide when to explore. There is a possibility that your cat might get frightened and freak out, so it is good to bring a towel. You can use this to wrap up your panicked pet to avoid being bitten and scratched when you bring them back inside.

Don’t force your cat out of their comfort zone. Let them decide on the extent of the walk they want. Remember that although some cats will be happy to go with you on long walks, there are also a few who’d rather just sniff around and lounge in the sun.


How Long Does It Take To Leash Train A Cat?

Patience is very important when leash training your cat to go outside. This is because it might take anywhere from several days or even weeks to make sure your cat is comfortable in the harness.

Cats need time to warm up and become familiar with new experiences. Don’t rush your kitten. Otherwise, the negative experience might keep your pet off from leash training permanently.
Why do cats flop over when you put a harness on them?

One of the first things you might notice when you put a harness on your cat is that they flop over. Don’t worry! A cat paralyzed by a harness doesn’t mean that they are hurt. Falling over or freezing is your cat’s survival response when grabbed by a predator. The harness triggers this response, so you will need your cat to move past this instinctual behavior.
To do this, you will need to motivate your cat using toys, treats, and a lot of praise. Praising your cat while you put them in the harness will give them confidence. Rewarding your cat for any small advances with using the harness will do the same. Making the experience as positive as possible will help make cat leash training more successful.


Walking your cat is a rewarding activity for both you and your cat. Just remember never to leave your cat unattended outside. Your cat might end up tangled in the leash and possibly injured. Also, keep the training sessions short and positive, and you are bound to see progress. Good luck!

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