Cat leads or in this case retractable leashes for cats are an accessory many of the new 'catventurers' are considering. If you are one of them then you may have several questions on your mind such as 'are retractable leashes good for cats'? We are going to try and answer these for you by looking at both the pros and the cons. Only you can decide whether this will suit you and your cat's lifestyle but with some guidance we hope to make this decision a little easier for you.
Are Retractable Leashes Good for Cats?
Retractable leashes are neither good nor bad for cats they are simply an accessory to keep your cat with you. A retractable leash can pose a danger to cats the same as they can with dogs. The risk with a cat is increased due to them being more skittish than a dog.
First things first, here are some of our thoughts before we delve into this.
- A retractable leash such as a Flexi has people who love them and others who are not fans.
- A retractable leash can be a fantastic accessory providing an element of freedom to your pets.
- They can also be dangerous if they tangle around you or your pets limbs' or neck therefore a lot of care must be taken when using them.
- These leashes can suddenly lock and jolt you to a halt in your movement which can be unpleasant.
- A retractable leash can snap with too much weight on them.
- They can also give too much slack and if you do not lock them in time your pet could pull too far and cause an accident due to your lack of control.
- A retractable leash is often used on a collar which is not ideal, and they should typically be used with a harness.
Now we are clear on the above you may be thinking that retractable leashes are not good for cats but that's not necessarily true, so lets investigate the idea of a cat on a lead a little further.
Why Would You Use a Retractable Cat Lead?
Some cats are capable of exploring the world with confidence and want to be with you but also have some space.
Cats can show signs of boredom and stress. Some just aren't made for the indoors and need a more stimulating environment. Aggression and urination can all be signs that they need to exert some energy and these guys could be prime examples of a good adventure cat. Watch their behaviour with other pets and wildlife though!
A retractable cat lead can make this possible so long as the cat is not skittish, and their human is confident. Walking a cat on a leash is very different to walking a dog. Your cat will do their own thing at their own pace, taking an interest in little spots while you follow behind. If you plan to walk them in places such as a park, I strongly recommend you take a cat carrier in case they are suddenly frightened by a dog or other animal and they need somewhere to feel secure.
Many cat owners have started venturing out (catventure) with their cats to explore the world. This more than likely started with cats that were reasonably strong, confident, and capable such as the Maine Coon, Norwegian Forest Cat and Turkish Vans.
These cats are impressive beauties who can do amazing activities such as swimming with absolute enjoyment and confidence. Many of them are not as skittish as a typical home domestic cat. Outdoor adventure, walks, swimming, remaining calm on a retractable leash with a confident and observant owner all become possibilities.
We then have those who trained their cats from when they were a kitten. The owners have really worked hard to ensure their cats are used to a cat harness and lead, the outdoors, the noise, the interaction and other pets. They have essentially socialised and worked hard with their cats like many do with their puppies.
Then we have cat owners such as my immediate family who never trained them to be outdoor explorers. Their cats are happy to sit in the window and watch the world go by. Would I want to train them to walk outdoors with me? No, because they have never been outdoors before at least not much further than the local area and they would be too skittish to be safe to explore, especially on an extendable cat lead. However, we do have one cat in the wider family who is a little more confident and daring and training is in progress!
What Profile Should Your Cat Fit to Use an Retractable Leash?
Based on what we have discussed so far. They need to be;
- Trained from a very young age.
- Used to wearing accessories.
- Calm and confident without signs of being skittish.
- Able to approach other pets for social interaction without fear.
- Happy and loving the experience of joining you outdoors.
Is Walking a Cat on a Lead Cruel?
The RSPCA have advised cat owners against it in case it causes them distress but what if it doesn't cause them stress? What if it is pure bliss and you took the time and effort to carefully train them into this new lifestyle? For some cats it is most definitely not cruel and they absolutely love it and would have it no other way. For others, it simply isn't feasible and could be deemed cruel if they are forced into something they don't enjoy. Each case is unique and you as the observer must make that decision.
Can I Walk My Cat on a Lead?
Here are some Travfurlers who do 'Catvenuring' and have it down to a tee!
These influencers have put in so much time, effort and care to get to this point. This does not happen overnight.
For more details on how to train a cat to walk on a lead we have prepared an article to help here.
What Is the Best Type of Retractable Leash for a Cat?
If you have come to the conclusion, you are the right profile and can safely achieve this then your next obstacle is that the retractable leashes tend to be quite heavy and sturdy with good reason. Dogs are strong and pull and you need a heavy-duty strong handle to hold them. However, there is an alternative smaller Flexi cat lead which may be more suitable.
Remember - A Flexi is most certainly NOT the only choice for a cat. If you are not confident and your cat may be skittish then simply opt for a very well-made cat harness and leash. here are some other options such as a cat harness vest and other items which may be a better starting point for you.
The Extra Small 3 meter. Buy Here - Small Flexi for Cats
XS (Cord) - Max. 8kg
For little dogs, cats and other small animals up to a maximum of 8kg.
Extra small Flexi leash weight: 100g approximately
XS (Tape) - Max. 12kg
For little dogs, cats and other small animals up to a maximum of 12kg.
Extra small Flexi dog leash weight: 110g approximately
To conclude, it's not really a question of whether or not the retractable leash is good for a cat, it's whether or not you and your cat are suitable for a cat collar and lead especially a retractable leash for cat adventures. I hope this helps you to make the right decision.
Happy and safe travfurling to you all.