Travel Tips

Walking on a Leash 101 with Cupcake

One of the most common questions I get when I’m out with Cupcake is “does she walk on that leash?”

To be fair, they ask because Cupcake’s favorite pastime is to lounge like a cat of leisure when we are on our outings. This is especially true when we are at our regular coffee shop patio stop visiting with friends.

I usually answer that question, “The princess likes to be carried.” But the truth is more complicated. When Cupcake was a kitten, she loved walking on her leash and exploring. As she got older, she decided that she wanted to be carried. I don’t think there was a specific incident that caused this, but I have wished she would walk and explore a little more often.

So I decided to work with her on it.

black and white tuxedo cat gives fist bump in pet store

We are starting indoors, at the big box pet store, which is one of the places outside the house she feels most comfortable. Cupcake will walk on the leash there, but usually it’s a singleminded quest to find the cat trees.

To encourage her to walk other places, I brought out the big motivator: her favorite treat. Cupcake thinks crunchy treats are the cat’s meow, and she will do just about anything to have one. So asking her to walk in the environment of the pet store is nothing when there’s a treat being promised.

Just look at that happy body language as she follows the treat!

black and white tuxedo cat walks on leash in pet store

She will follow me as far as I’ll lead her through the store… at least until I run out of treats! It’s a good start, and I hope to graduate to getting her to follow along when she doesn’t have food as a constant distraction.

One thing I noticed is that after we work on it a while, like with all things, Cupcake’s patience and attention span starts to shorten. When that happens, she can start to get creative about getting what she wants, and it doesn’t always involve following the rules.

If you are on mobile, you can watch the video above directly on YouTube.

When Cupcake is done, she is *done*, and she lets you know somehow. Thankfully, like in the video above, she is pretty good-natured about it and is only letting you know that her patience is wearing thin. She made sure I knew that I had exceeded the number of times she is patient enough to walk back and forth along the back aisle of the pet store interesting.

black and white tuxedo cat walks on leash in pet store

We will continue practicing with her so she is more comfortable walking instead of being carried.

Does your cat walk on a leash?

Getting started teaching your cat to walk on a leash is easy once she is comfortable with a harness. #cat #catonaleash #travelingcat


  • Musette gets carried because I don’t trust her yet. Treeno has two options on leash – he sits or he RUNS. Which is annoying, if I run to keep up he just runs faster 😉 Plush would prefer to be carried but he will walk of we wait and let him lead. Then it’s just keeping him from going where I can’t follow like in crevices of rocks or down under walkways into brush. It isn’t at all like walking dogs is it?

  • MOL! That SO reminds me of when my human was training me to walk on a leash. Unlike Cupcake, I decided after a while that it worked for me, and I liked it better than being carried, or put in the sling (unless I’m fussy or tired, then it’s the sling for me). Now I trot along like a good kitty… unless I don’t feel like going where my human wants me to go. Then I’m not so good! But I’m more often good. 😉

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