How to Walk A Cat on a Leash

Thrift store Christmas
Just a crazy cat lady out on the loose.

I think I just crossed a line. A line into crazy cat lady territory. I clicked the orange button, buy now! Ship at once! Oh Amazon, you had me again. It was too late to go back. I really am a crazy cat lady now. I just bought a leash and harness for my twenty-pound Norwegian Forest Cat. I mean it was so easy to teach Leo to learn the sit command, how hard could it be to teach him to walk on a leash? I watched a YouTube video and away we went down the road to crazy cat lady!

Let’s face it, the forest cat and I are at our chunkiest right now. I tried doing squats indoors while holding a wiggly twenty-pound forest cat but what does he get out of that? I asked for a kitty-cat treadmill for my birthday in August. Leo thinks it’s a fine place to take a nap. It’s time this fat forest fellow for walks as his idea of playing is rolling on the floor. No joke, from the time he was a kitten, Leo refused to jump. He’s been like this his whole life and his big tummy shows this.

So one of my fall goals as autumn begins here in our mountain town is to take my cat for a walk on a leash. Nothing says oh those changing fall colors like a hiking guide trouncing through the neighborhood wearing her favorite autumn boots, sipping on a homemade Pumpkin Spiced Latte and walking her Norwegian Forest Cat, right? And this could be why I was weaving my way up our street at 4 p.m. sipping on a Pumpkin Spice White Russian instead. So do you have the patience to teach your cat how to walk on a leash?

Step 1. Introduce your cat to the harness

First of all, you have to make your cat not afraid of the harness. This was not the easiest step for me as my lazy cat became even more lazy when I put the harness on him. He just decided not to walk at all for the first three days. He would lie in the middle of the kitchen floor, he did this especially when I was trying to cook dinner. He would just yowl at me stretched out in the middle of the kitchen and look pathetic. I don’t care fatty, you are going for a walk. Eventually, your fat cat will get used to the harness and learn to walk again and not just be a land seal.

Step 2. Let your cat walk himself

“Walk me, bitch”

Attach the lease to the harness if and when your cat ever seems comfortable wearing the harness. Let your cat lead you on a “Walk” around your house. Be very gentle and let him go wherever he wants. Many times this ended with him just leading me to his favorite cardboard box to flop in.

Step 3. Let your cat lead you on a walk, assisted by treats.

Cats can be treat motivated but really they just want to be challenged so don’t make it all about the treats, no matter how fat your cat is. Even my fat cat didn’t care about the treats one bit when we stepped out into the backyard, finally on day five of taking the cat on a walk training. I found that letting him lead me around the enclosed backyard was a safe environment for him to get used to walking on the leash.

I do what I want!

Leo is usually a cat who is very good at coming to me when I call him but as soon as we stepped outside and this inside cat caught the sights and smells of the great outdoors, well he was like a four-year-old child. He lost all pretense in attempting to listen to me.

Step 4. Don’t let the dog help!

Do not let your cat get scared during these introductions to how to walk a cat on a leash. Letting the dog loose in the backyard to go bat-shit crazy as the leash training is happening is not recommended. Keep that bitch indoors until your cat is comfortable with her crazy puppy freak-outs.

Teaching a kitty-cat to walk on a leash is not for everyone but with the right training and a cat who is not too stubborn, it is possible! We like to say Little Leo is more dog-like then cat, so hopefully one of these days he will persevere at learning how to walk on the leash. He was able to learn to sit and learn how to get up on two feet so easily!