Do You Walk Your Kitty on a Leash?

Every now and again, a reader writes me to tell me that they are taking their cats for walks and loving it.  Also, every now and again, a reader writes me asking if I have recommendations for leashes and harnesses because they would like to start to take their kitties for walks outside.

I do not take mine for walks.  When they were 1 or 2 years old, we got some leashes and harnesses to try on them and Charlie was paralyzed from it being around him and wouldn’t move.  The more I thought about it, the more I didn’t really want to do it – as I didn’t want his paws on street, etc.  So it didn’t work out for us.  But, I would like to hear your experiences and be able to share with readers looking to do it where they can start.

Below is a video that one of our readers posted on our Facebook page the other day of her two Ragdoll cats going for a walk.

Do you walk your kitties on a leash? If so, what leash and harness do you use? In other words, what brand and why? Do you like it?

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Hi, I’m Jenny Dean, creator of Floppycats! Ever since my Aunt got the first Ragdoll cat in our family, I have loved the breed. Inspired by my childhood Ragdoll cat, Rags, I created Floppycats to connect, share and inspire other Ragdoll cat lovers around the world,

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  1. Hello Floppy cat lovers:
    Our boy Mulsanne now 7 years old really wanted to go outside and we were lucky enough to win the prize from this site called the Lupine pet leash and harness/collar combination system quite a few years ago.

    They actually provided 2 sets of all which we’ve been using for years and they’re GREAT. They’re flatish in design versus a coiled design so the don’t roll or pick up cat fur and come in many colors and patterns. (I understand they’re replaceable for any reason however, ours remain in great condition.) You’re cat will never escape the harness and color if fitted correctly.

    Mulsanne never minded wearing them because it meant he was going outside on a walk or to bask in the sun or lay in the grass. We walk him around the block with our dog (which I think contributed to him WANTING to go out.) We pick him up to cross streets and only ever puts paws on clean concrete. We even hook him up to a longer light weight lead in the fenced backyard grass, while keeping him company. We never leave him unattended while harness/leashed or tied out, but he’s enjoyed MANY hours enjoying outside gardens, visiting neighbors, and even meeting other dogs (as long as they’re calm and not puppy energy.)

    So, yes I recommend you try it if you think your cat is inclined to enjoy it. I think it’s up to them and you shouldn’t or can’t make them. Either they’re interested and want to go out, or they don’t.

    As an alternative to walking the cat, consider a flat bottom pet stroller, I got an inexpensive Outward Hound (for dogs apparently) used from Craig’s list that has also gone miles with a floppy cat inside (wearing his harness/leash set with the leash loosely wrapped around push handle) with me holding on to avoid escape! Using a stroller, I can walk farther/faster and get exercise. That particular pet stroller can be fully zipped to avoid escape also instead of leashing the cat.

    For the timid cat, I recommend the stroller. However, always protect your precious floppy cat from ill mannered dogs or people for his/her own protection.

    Have fun outdoors with your floppy cats! We’ve enjoyed every moment of leash walking and strolling.

  2. JLSmithson says:

    Artemis has a harness that has a skull & crossbones on it, which matches his collar. I got it in the dog section of PetSmart since Artemis is a big boy. I have taken him around the neighborhood for walks when its nice and he gets lots of attention. The down side is that now, whenever the front door is open, he thinks he can just go out and go for a walk. Aside from that, he is the only one that we take outside. The other three think that the outdoors is too big and scary.

  3. says:

    Hi, Jenny!

    I’ve had cats escape from harnesses — it seems any fright can make them twist and be gone in a shot — so a reliable harness was really important when I considered wanting my RagaMuffins to be able to go outside, chip or not. The breeder recommended dress or vest harnessses made with Velcro fasteners, made by graciepawprints on etsy that work like a charm.

    Here’s her link, and here’s a photo (if I can figure out how to load…). Shucks. Can’t figure how to share the photo…


  4. Teresa Reid says:

    Yes, we have Lupine harnesses and leashes for all 3 girls. But, they aren’t used for walking per se because we don’t have any sidewalks. Sometimes I take them out on the driveway and out on the back porch in the summer months. I like having those on them in case that a stray dog or cat appears in the yard. I can pull them quickly and safely into the house. We don’t have any fences so that is why they are so important. Especially like the Lupine harnesses because they can’t get out of them since they have a collar portion as weLloyd as a part that separately goes around their chest. Some of the others, I learned that they can get out of in a second which would be dangerous.

      1. Teresa Reid says:

        You are welcome Jenny! Thank you!

  5. Emily loves to take strolls around the backyard on a harness and leash. She used to like to go out in the front and even down the street, but a neighbor got too excited to see her once and came screaming up on us. Emily freaked and is now very tentative about going in the front. But, she loves to explore the same places in the backyard over and over. I bought a Kitty Holster after seeing it used on Jackson Galaxy’s show. I like it because it’s very secure. She enjoys wearing it and has never done the “flop over” like most cats when it’s put on! I even leave it on for awhile when we come in the house so she can show off.

    1. was the neighbor a child or an adult? Is this the Kitty Holster? What size do you have for Emily and how much does she weigh?

      1. The neighbor was an adult who was excited to see a cat out walking! She let out a scream and came at Emily way too fast! Obviously not someone who had been around cats very much.
        Yes- that’s the Kitty Holster. I bought it from their website which gives some good guidelines of which size to get. Emily’s is a Medium/Large and weighs about 12#. The Velcro makes them very forgiving in sizing.

      2. Patricia Bain Holland says:

        This is the kitty holster I use on all of my cats, even though we live on a farm I wont let them go out without their halter on.

  6. Sylvia Mohr Bartlett says:

    Hi, Floppycatters! Jenny, thank you for posting this question as I have been hankering to ask you about this. In your situation, you have an enclosed yard and well trained kitties whom you feel safe bringing outside, but it won’t work for us…we live in a mobilehome park where pets are not allowed outside unless they are either on a lead (leash and harness) or in a carrier or in an enclosed stroller…there are no exceptions for cats. The park managers are nice, but firmly dog people and they trap and take to the shelter to be euthanized any ‘feral’ cats found loose outside, so we can’t risk letting our cats outside. Some in the park also put poisoned treats out (which personally I think should be illegal). The managers try to stop that, but can usually only do that after some creature is dead from the poison. We don’t have fences between lots as the lots are only slightly larger than the mobile homes…so that’s our situation. The only way our kitten will ever be able to go out will be if we can raise her to accept a lease and harness and I might try that, but only if I can find one that will work with a long haired cat and that Molly when she grows up, will accept.

    1. YIKES! Sylvia – in that situation – I am not sure I would ever let mine out, even on a lead.

      1. Sylvia Mohr Bartlett says:

        Up until now, that has always been our policy…our cats were strictly indoors cats (in fact, in our contracts for the purebred’s it said they HAD to be strictly indoor cats. There are so many diseases they get exposed to outside that we have never had to worry about. Oh, Jenny, what do you think of heartworm prevention for cats? This year the mosquitos are really bad already, in February…because there is so much standing water, I guess, so I’m concerned because it is really hard to keep them completely out of the house.

  7. Such an interesting topic, Jenny! Wonderful post! Lurved the video! 🙂 <3
    No, we don't walk Miss PSB on a leash. She's strictly an indoor kitty. But I am always fascinated by those folks who do walk their kitties on a leash and enjoy it!

    Big hugs & lots of love!

    Patti & Miss Pink Sugarbelle 🙂 <3

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