Walking Your Cat: Is it a Good Idea? – Benefits vs Risks

Translated by Nick R

Many cat owners all over the world are adopting the trend of taking your cat for a walk as you would do with a dog, and I’m sure you’ve wondered whether this is appropriate considering how different cats are from canines.

So here I’ll explain everything you need to know before going for a walk with your feline.

Is necessary to take your cat for a walk? 

Not really, if we think about the reasons why we take a dog out we realize cats don’t need this kind of activity in their routine.

These animals are not as sociable as dogs, they are more independent and territorial so they won’t make friends easily in the park or wherever you take them.

On the other hand, they are pretty clean animals, take care of their hygiene very well on their own, and only need a litter box to relieve themselves. So a walk is not going to help them to relieve themselves either.

Besides, cats don’t need that kind of physical activity to let off steam or release their pent-up energy because they often engage in other activities (at home) that entertain them and keep them calm.

However, some people take them for walks because they live in small apartments with little room for the feline to wander, and probably have no easy access to windows to observe the outdoors.

Likewise, some owners don’t let them go for walks on their own because they might have an accident or get into a fight with another animal that could hurt them.

So, with that in mind, they prefer to take them out on a leash to keep an eye on the feline and make sure nothing will happen.

What dangers will your cat face? 

Now, walking with your feline on the street or in the park can be dangerous for him.

First of all, we know that dogs and cats can get to attack each other, especially if they haven’t been socialized with the opposite species before. In the street, we can find all kinds of canines, some docile and some more aggressive.

So by taking your cat out you can put him at disadvantage if a dog tries to attack him. That situation might end quite badly for everyone.  

And, on the other hand, your cat could become overly stressed by being in an unfamiliar place with lots of unfamiliar noises, people, and animals. He might even try to run away if something startles him.

If you notice that your pet is scared, drooling too much, trembling, and very alert to everything around him, you better give up and go back home, your cat is not enjoying the walk.

Moreover, keep in mind that cats are hunters, so when going out, they may try to hunt different animals such as rats or birds, and take them home. Not only is there the problem of diseases, but also the fact that the birds they hunt could be important for the ecosystem, especially if you live in a biodiverse place.

Benefits of going for a walk for your cat 

If you have accustomed your cat from puppyhood to wearing a harness and walking with you, he will probably not be afraid or stressed on the street and will even enjoy it as he discovers new sounds, objects, places, and smells.

According to a survey conducted by Mars Petcare, more than half of the world’s domestic dogs and cats are overweight. So this type of activity (walks) could prevent your feline from suffering from obesity.

In addition, it should be emphasized that obesity can be the beginning of other diseases such as diabetes, therefore a good diet and a regular walk could save your feline from these ailments.

Note: Only walk your cat if he doesn’t find it stressful.

Tips for walking your cat 

Now, if you decide to do it, here are some tips for successfully walking your feline.

Get him used to the harness 

It’s not wise to let your cat loose because he could run away (if he gets scared) and get lost or have an accident, or hurt smaller animals, so you must teach him to walk with his harness.

And I recommend the harness more than the collar because the latter can hurt your pet’s throat if he pulls on the leash.

If you can, you better teach him this as a baby so he accepts it more easily, although depending on the feline’s personality he can adapt at an older age.

You can follow the steps below to teach him to use the harness and leash:

  • Get a harness of the right size for your cat, and show it to him before putting it on; let him get used to the object so he won’t be afraid of it.
  • Then you can put it on and observe how comfortable or uncomfortable your cat is with it. If your cat is used to wearing clothes or other items, he will surely take it quite well, but if not, leave it on for a few minutes a day and give him treats, such as snacks, so that he associates it with something positive.
  • Once he is completely comfortable with the harness, add the leash to the equation and try to walk with the animal by your side. For this you can hold a snack that he really likes in one hand so your pet will follow you attentively. When they get from one point to the other, you can give him the treat.
  • After having practiced several times at home, you can go out with your feline. You can also teach him other tricks so that you have more control of his behavior.

Appropriate place 

You should take him for a walk somewhere more private where you have better control over the other animals that may enter, such as a garden.

However, if you don’t have that option, you can look for places where there is no influx of dogs or that are quiet enough so that no accidents occur.


Although it’s not really necessary for a cat to go for this kind of outing, walking it can bring some benefits and if done properly, the feline will enjoy walking with his owner with no problem whatsoever.