For the love of God, don’t walk the cat (video)

You simply can’t (generally) walk a cat on a leash like a dog.

But don’t let that stop people from trying.

I know one reader wrote me and said that their cat actually does walk with them around the block on a leash, but that’s the only one I’ve heard of them.  The rest tend to turn out like these videos below, which did succeed to put a smile on my face.

Follow me on Twitter: @aravosis | @americablog | @americabloggay | Facebook | Instagram | Google+ | LinkedIn. John Aravosis is the Executive Editor of AMERICAblog, which he founded in 2004. He has a joint law degree (JD) and masters in Foreign Service from Georgetown; and has worked in the US Senate, World Bank, Children's Defense Fund, the United Nations Development Programme, and as a stringer for the Economist. He is a frequent TV pundit, having appeared on the O'Reilly Factor, Hardball, World News Tonight, Nightline, AM Joy & Reliable Sources, among others. John lives in Washington, DC. .

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33 Responses to “For the love of God, don’t walk the cat (video)”

  1. Zuzucat says:

    I have an outdoor bengal cat that begs to be walked. She generally only stays in our backyard, but seems to love to walk along with myself and sometimes my kids. Note that she has never been on a leash. I think she just really enjoys the company and loves to explore a bigger range while under the protection of her “human family”.

    It’s a slow pace, with happy purrs, meow conversations with us and scratches from us along the way throughout the neighborhood. We’ve become a bit of a spectacle in the neighborhood, as it’s pretty rare to see a cat being walked. She’s followed me to a neighbors party, hung out at the party in the backyard, and then followed me back when the party was over. She also seems to enjoy it if I stop and talk to neighbors along the way and will wait patiently in their yard until we are ready to resume walking. Of course she’ll stop and do her business and check out the birds and squirrels along the way as any cat would.

    She’s definitely a cool cat. Although, I wonder if she is part dog. ;)

  2. mike31c says:

    Yeah, I had to put my cat on a leash since she had a improperly healed leg and she can’t run to safety if she was in trouble like other cats but she thought she was the Queen Defender of the Universe when she was out…

  3. Constant Comment says:

    He’s really turned out to be a very special cat. I had tried to find him another home over the summer after we got him neutered, but he apparently had other ideas about where he wanted to live. He fought a lot with other neighborhood outdoor cats and I was concerned that he would go after my two indoor cats, but he’s really acclimated pretty well to the household. I’ve had cats all my life and have never had any that were the aloof felines you always hear about.

  4. News Nag says:

    I’ve walked several types of cats with harnesses and leashes, starting from kittens and introducing them to it as adults. I tried my new and current adult orange tabby guy only once and he was like fighting a Marlin in the ocean with a deep sea rod and reel. Never again. I really thought he was going to go insane. Even if he could someday get used to it, I think it would by then have permanently damaged his psyche and our relationship. So it’s free-range walks only for my best friend, something we’ve now long perfected together, taking turns as alpha leader.

  5. News Nag says:

    Stupid and brutal person! You’re supposed to use a harness, not a collar, and even if you used a collar, CATS ARE ALWAYS SUPPOSED TO WEAR BREAKAWAY COLLARS THAT PREVENT STRANGULATION. Man, some people are so ignorant they’re cruel, even criminal.

  6. News Nag says:

    I never allow my cat to hurt or kill a mouse when I can rescue it. They enjoy catching it very very much. Just let that be satisfaction enough for your cat. There’s plenty enough extreme suffering in the world without letting it happen on your watch. Otherwise, it’s voyeuristic sadism for you, even though your cat might enjoy it.

  7. News Nag says:

    You are truly lucky to have adopted such a wonderful cat person!! I have one like that, who can take care of itself and stays with you from love and companionship. Sure, food and shelter are very important, but if it didn’t love you (which from the sound of your lives it surely does!), then it never would have fully adopted you as it’s done. If you haven’t read them (you too, Aravosis), I think you might really enjoy especially the cat chapters in the James Herriott series of books.

  8. News Nag says:

    Actually, it’d be a hoot as long as it takes place in your childish mind. In the world, it would be terrifying abuse for cats and you would pay a fine and/or go to jail for it. They’d also be removed from your dangerous home environment. You might be banned for life from having pets. I would concur.

  9. News Nag says:

    Wonderful, isn’t it? My wife’s cat would walk with her a block or two to a neighborhood swimming pool, wait right outside the fence while she swam, and then walk home with her. Now, that’s a pretty darned special cat! I learned from her and now walk my two orange stripey cats along and off the trail through the woods where we live. Sometimes they lead and sometimes I lead. Usually, there’s some compromise required, and also time to lie in the grass and take a mandatory cat break.

  10. News Nag says:

    And the Oscar goes to…

  11. Her?

    A white Scalia and a black Scalia. Go figure!

  12. S in PA says:

    correction: (I could keep an eye on him through the door)

  13. GeorgeMokray says:

    I had a cat who would heel. He’d walk with me, by my side through the neighborhood. Sweet, smart little beast.

  14. S in PA says:

    My (now deceased) big orange tabby boy loved his collar and leash – it meant he got to go outside and he loved going outside. On nice days I’d hook the leash around the door gate and let him hang out outside (it could keep an eye on him through the door) – he always got sooooo excited when I picked up the collar and leash. My current array of cats won’t have any part of it.

  15. Constant Comment says:

    But I haven’t used a leash…He “walks” like you’d expect a cat to: running ahead of us, hiding behind a bush–then jumping out at the dog, and hanging behind, then dashing to catch up. He even begs to go out in the Chicago snow. Go figure. :)

  16. LOL same for me, exactly.

  17. Right, you’re the one who mentioned the cat to me.

  18. melbach007 says:

    Cat sled racing would be a hoot.

  19. Constant Comment says:

    I was adopted by a stray cat last year. He lives inside now with me, my dog and two other indoor cats. His outdoor time has been severely curtailed, but he usually accompanies the dog and me on our morning walk. After we all return home, he scampers off for some alone time before he’s ready to come back in. His street smarts are pretty good–he dodges in bushes or under parked cars when dogs and people he doesn’t know pass us. He knows to stay away from busy streets and gets upset when the dog and I have errands to run in places where he knows it’s not safe for him to be. However, he dutifully waits for us to come back and we pick him up to walk back home. Quite the character.

  20. askance says:

    We have an approx. 6 year old (orange) tabby that we got from a shelter as an adult. Based on its reaction it had never been in a harness, but it has nevertheless learned to walk really nicely on leash and we take it out for walks daily.

    Like zeiche says, cats aren’t dogs and a different technique works (though dogs would probably benefit too, because no animal should be pulled along. My Scottie can testify to this lol). Basically you don’t drag the cat in the direction you want to go, you simply hold back and don’t let the cat proceed until it has chosen the direction you want it to go in. This sounds like it a lot of work but it quickly gets so smooth and intuitive it looks like the cat was following you. But if I want the ‘walk’ to be enjoyable for my cat, I have to let it be a cat: it wants to spend a lot of time ‘observing’ (birds, mice, butterflies) as opposed to ‘exploring’, and it feels safer going close to edges and bushes as opposed to cutting straight across a field. Our cat is a very good mouser too, but the downside is, it’s horrible to stand so close and watch when it plays with the poor mouse and eats it.

  21. Mike_in_the_Tundra says:

    These videos are funny, but the cats are definitely not happy campers. I couldn’t help thinking that if the cat’s staff sprayed the one cat with Pledge, they could dust the floor. Fortunately, my master is quite happy running and jumping around in a large screened porch.

  22. silas1898 says:

    I feel sorry for these people’s children.

  23. Jafafa Hots says:

    My sister put her cat on a leash.
    He hung himself.

    That was the end of leashes for cats in our family.

  24. OtterQueen says:

    Looks like what I go through trying to get my husband to go to the doctor.

  25. My tom, Toby, follows the family French Bulldogs and me as we walk down the alley.

  26. Tatts says:

    “Our cat’s broken.” I love the way he says that line, with a little accent. I saw this video a few years ago and still watch it, especially for that line.

  27. Sweetie says:

    The leash presses on the spot where the mother carries her kittens and causes an instinctual relaxation. That’s one theory I’ve heard, and it explains this cat’s behavior. Notice how it gets up right away as soon as the owner stops with the leash pressure.

  28. jasper says:

    I was able to train my two adult cats to walk on leashes. We moved to a house near a busy road and there was no way that I would let them out the door on their own.
    In fact, I walked both of them at the same time.

    It required enormous patience on my part to teach them and then to actually go for walks. Cats have to be allowed to set the pace and the direction. We might stand for five minutes while they decided which way to go.

    It was great fun when one wanted to go left and one wanted to go right. I would stand, arms extended, waiting for one of them to accept that we were going in the opposite direction to the one he wanted.

    I certainly missed these adventures after they had both died. I still have their leashes.

    My walks now involve only one cat. He learned as a kitten.

  29. Joyce Harmon says:

    Google “catio” for options for safe outdoor time for cats. I might try to teach my cats to walk on a leash if I lived in a world without dogs, but otherwise, no. Cat walker meets dog walker, and – then what?

  30. It would be neat to be able to have your cat outside with you and not worry about it getting run over. But yeah, the poor things. Chris said he tried it once as well, his wife brought a leash home with her. Didn’t go over too well with the cats :)

  31. nicho says:

    I tried putting a collar on my cat. He began choking and gagging as if he were being strangled — even though I could put my whole hand between the collar and his neck.

  32. zeiche says:

    Most cats can learn to walk on a leash, however the owner should understand a few things; It is not a quick or easy process. As John Aravosis says, it is not the same as walking a dog. And, training requires more patience than most people are willing to commit.

    Please don’t drag your pet around on a leash. It is mean and will make her hate you.

  33. Phil says:

    Some cats (usually a Siamese or mix thereof) are supposedly leash-trainable, provided you start when they’re young. I’ve never seen any evidence of it though. I wouldn’t attempt it with my orange tabbies.

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