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Is It OK To Put A Cat On A Leash? (Or Foolish Error?)

If you have an indoor cat that you want to take outside, but you are concerned about its safety, you may be wondering if a leash is OK for it  (click here for my best cat harness for leashes, on Amazon #Ad)?

Is it OK to put a cat on a leash?

It is OK to put a leash on your cat. Some cat owners choose to do this to give their indoor cat some exercise, keep their cat active while traveling in an RV, along with many other reasons. The most important thing is having a sturdy harness on it.

So, now you know. But, do you need a harness with these leashes? Do some cats resist these leashes? What are the benefits of walking your cat in this way? Keep reading for these answers, and much more…

Do you need a cat harness with a leash?

Is it bad to keep a harness on a cat?

A cat in a harness with a leash attached.

A harness with a cat leash is mandatory. This is because it could choke or irritate the cat without it. These harnesses are designed to keep your cat safe and comfortable while you take them out for some exercise.

Should I let my indoor cat go outside on a leash?

It is fine to take your indoor cat outside on a leash. However, some argue that they do not need to go outside. So, the choice is subjective to your belief. Either way, if you do decide to walk your indoor cat a harness is a good middle ground.

Meaning, you can keep control of your cat whilst it is exploring the outside world. This is quite desirable especially if you are anxious about your cat getting lost or stolen.

Do some cats resist the leash?

Most cats will resist a leash initially, and the harness even more. This is natural to them and takes some getting used to. Also, while on the walk they will need to learn how to walk with you, which may seem like resistance.

There have even been reports of some cats resisting being led back into their home after experiencing their home for the first time, but this is quite rare, in my opinion.

Can you take your cat to the park on a leash?

If your cat is comfortable on the leash and seems to walk with no resistance then there is no reason why you can’t take it to the park. This is under the assumption that the park is close by and you feel your cat will cope OK.

Is it weird to walk your cat?

is it weird to walk a cat

A weird look from a local walker.

It is not normal for most people to see a cat being walked, which can be regarded as weird. So you will get some funny looks that may unsettle you. However, many people walk their cats for legitimate reasons. So, the fact that it may be seen as weird, should not be a factor.

Now that you know the truth, let me explain the benefits of walking your cat, the reasons why people use leads and harnesses (click here for my 3 best cat harnesses) for walking, and more. Keep reading…

Why do people feel that it’s weird?

As discussed, yes, to be honest, it is regarded as being weird. Even if you currently walk your cat and use your harness, there is no doubt about it, people will weirdly look at you. But, that doesn’t necessarily mean it’s wrong, are you with me?

Often in society, people expect everyone to do the same thing or get weird stares. The reality is it shouldn’t affect your actions if you feel it’s what you want to do.

There are several legitimate reasons why you would want to walk your cat. For instance, maybe your training your indoor cat before you let him out on his own. Later in this article, I will expand on some other reasons why you would do this.

However, there is a big debate regarding ethics. Is this ethically right? Should you be walking your cat like a dog? Who knows, but, the debate continues.

What are the benefits of walking your cat on a harness?

In this section, I will explain some of the benefits of taking your cat for a walk using your harness (your cat walking weird in it? click here). There are a few to discuss.

You become the center of attention

If you like attention, then walking your cat with a harness is a bonus. You will definitely get some stares using a harness. You may not get many smiles, but it’s attention never the less.

Training an indoor cat

Also, if you have an indoor cat. And, you want to train her before letting her out outside. This is another good way of doing it.

Protection for an indoor cat

Aside from training. Maybe you just want to protect your cat from the dangers the outside world presents us. Using a harness is the best of both worlds. You get some exposure to the outside for your cat as well as the added protection that she will not be fully exposed to the risks.

What are the risks of letting your cat outside on its own?

There are several reasons why people would hold back on letting their cat outside. This is why there are many indoor cats these days.

For this reason, I’m going to reveal some of the reasons why people make the decision not to allow their cat to go outside.


Some cat owners are concerned that their cats may pick up fleas from outside and bring them in indoors. Which, in turn, may cause a flea infestation (click here to see how to get Flea Dirt off your cat).

This can be an issue when they are allowed to roam around outside. However,  it is important to understand that even if you keep your cat indoors it can still pick up fleas. How? Well, even we humans can carry fleas into our homes, without even noticing.

Poisons and pesticides

Another concern is exposure to poisons and pesticides. What? You may be thinking how can this happen?

Let me give you an example…

Rat poison is something used by other homeowners if they have an issue with pests, right? Unfortunately, not only rats are affected by this stuff.

If you have a cat that is allowed to go outdoors. There is a chance that it could eat this poison without understanding what it is.

Pesticides is another thing. Unfortunately, this is quite hard for anyone to see. Pesticides are used on lawns, vegetables, etc. It can be hard to detect. Be mindful, even if you are with your cat you still may not detect this.

There is no obvious way to get around it. Hence the reason why some people take the extreme approach and keep their cat inside all the time. Think of this as a belt and braces technique.

Hit by a vehicle

Collisions on the road involving cats is quite common. Think about it, how many times have you driven down the road and seen an unfortunate cat’s body that has been run over by a car?

Some cautious cat owners are not willing to take this risk. They decide to keep their cat inside to avoid the chance of this happening.

Unfortunately, as a child, I experienced this first hand. One of my first cats called Ajax, actually got run over. I will be honest, it was our first cat and we were devastated.

Attacks by other cats and dogs

Another big concern is other animals, such as other stray cats or neighboring dogs. These cats, dogs, or other animals can cause stress to your cat. They may even end up being attacked.

Sometimes cat owners may have had a bad experience with this in the past. Which causes them to have a very cautious approach going forward. Resulting in their new cat not being allowed out.

Disappearing Cat

Some cat owners have concerns that if their cat gets a taste for being outside it may not want to come back home. Cats disappearing is quite a common thing. However, in reality, it is not always because a cat runs away.

It could simply be that they got lost on the journey or something may have happened to them outside. Such as being knocked down and they never made it back.

What are some of the concerns about using a cat lead?

According to the RSPCA they do not recommend using cat leads. One of their concerns is, if your cat gets stressed and not happy with the environment, they tend to run away.

And there is a chance that the leash if attached incorrectly, can cause them to pull on the lead, break free and potentially run off and choke themselves on the lead.

Therefore they advise, if people wish to use leads, is to attach it to a harness, rather than the collar itself (Click here to see how to stop your cat from taking off her breakaway collar). This can reduce the chance of your cat choking itself.

Also, they recommend “dry running”. Basically, training your cat to use the harness indoors before going outside. So, they get used to the experience and do not do anything crazy while they’re outside.

Related questions:

In this section, I will cover some related questions to cat walking (Click here to see the best escape-proof cat strollers, to make cat walking a doddle). If you feel that there are some questions in your head, that have not been covered. Feel free to leave a comment below.

Why do cats sometimes fall over when they’re using a harness? This is because of their instincts. Naturally, cats are not used to using a harness. When this is strapped around their body and they feel the force of the harness, it may make them freeze up and not want to walk.

If you’re walking along at walking speed alongside them. They could fall over or may accidentally get dragged for a short distance. To avoid this happening, the best thing to do is to train them.

Ideally, you need to train them indoors first. This will get them used to the harness and break them in properly in no time.

Lindsey Browlingdon