How to Walk 2 or More Cats on a Leash
It is easy to find information on how to walk one cat on a harness and leash relatively easily. However, walking and training multiple cats isn’t something that is often covered.
So we asked our community how they take their multiple cats for a walk.
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Walking multiple cats conjures visions of tangled leads, cats walking in opposite directions and trying to split a human and general mayhem. However, the Catexplorer community highlighted that this is not always the case. It is possible to successfully explore with multiple cats. You just need to be prepared.
Though, don’t you always need to be prepared to walk any pet?
One Human per Cat
One of the most common ways to explore with multiple cats is to have a human per cat.
This enables each human to focus on ‘their’ cat while watching their surroundings. This does make it easier to see if you are approaching a dog or another stimuli and act accordingly.
While these humans and cats are exploring together, each human-cat pair would be acting as if they are exploring by themselves. That is, each cat will have their own safe spot (for example a backpack), leash, harness and any other gear they need. The human concentrates on the cat, as if they are exploring by themselves.
With this in mind, each person will need experience with adventuring with cats. If someone new is exploring with you, we recommend training them in what they should be looking out for and doing. Perhaps at first you can buddy them with someone who has experience.
One Human with Multiple Cats
The reality is that it is difficult to always have a human per cat while exploring. It can be hard to match up schedules or even interest levels.
And this does not mean that both (or more) of your cats can’t go exploring with you. It just means that you have to prepare a bit more.
We suggest that you only walk 2 cats at once (or a cat and a dog) as this would be easier to manage. However, if your cats (or dog/s) are well trained and you are comfortable with it, you may be able to manage more at once.
The most common way to walk 2 cats is to have one in their backpack and the other walking on the ground on a harness and leash.
Training Your Cats
As with anything related to catexploring, if you training your cats properly, the options are endless.
In saying that you need to understand your cats’ personalities and their dynamic. You can easily do this at home. See how they interact together and react to their harness and backpack training. Chances are that one of your cats will be more receptive to their training.
Given your cats will be picking up on their training at different speeds, it is likely that you will have to initially train them individually. This does require an extra investment of your time, but will be worthwhile in the long run.
Backpack/Stroller and Shoulder Training
We suggest that you train both your cats to be comfortable sitting in their backpack (or stroller) and on your shoulders. This just gives you extra places for them to be on /in if they do get spooked while out and about.
Another great idea is to teach your cats to heel and sit by your side. This is a great option if you have an unexpected appearance of a dog or hiker that may spook them. You can do this by using clicker training.
Stop Leash Pulling
A concern when walking multiple cats is that they will pull you in multiple directions at the same time.
While this does happen, you can train your cats not to pull their leash. While walking one on one, if they pull the leash, stop walking and do not allow them to continue. Over time, this will help teach your cat to understand that leash pulling is not ok. In turn they will avoid doing this while walking together.
Walking in a Straight Line
Walking a cat is very different to walking a dog – they are unlikely to walk in a straight line. When you have multiple cats, who aren’t walking in a straight line, you’re likely to have a tangle of the leashes.
So it will make your job a lot easier if your cats can walk in a straight line.
Our suggestion is that you find a tight trail and encourage your cat to follow it. When they walk in a straight line, offer them rewards in the form of verbal encouragement, treats, and pats – anything that they like.
Over time this will help encourage them to walk in a straight line.
Get to Know Your Cats
While you are training your cats one on one, you will get to know their preferences.
Perhaps one loves riding in their backpack, while the other likes lying on your shoulders. This would be a perfect situation for carrying both cats, where one sits in the backpack while the other on your shoulders.
Or one cat might like hiking through trails with trees, while the other prefers areas with water and streams. You can utilise this and only walk the one happy cat at a time when you are in these places. The other cat can sit in their backpack.
Comfortable Around Each Other
Before you take both cats out exploring together, you need to make sure they are comfortable with each other.
If they are aggressive to each other at home, this will be very difficult to control while you are out and about.
This might take some time, but we strongly recommend that your cats are socialised to each other before you take them out together by yourself.
If you find that one of your cats is an instigator of naughty behaviour, keep this in mind while exploring. There is a chance that they will do this while you’re out and about too. Learn the warning signs at home, so that you can manage this behaviour or even nip it in the bud. Perhaps they do a cheeky meow or a specific tail wag beforehand.
Exploring Together Outside
Just as you trained each of your cats individually, we suggest you start small with your first outdoor experience with both your cats. Start in a safe space and slowly expand to locations with more stimuli.
If you love hiking, start with short distances and then slowly increase them.
Teach your cats to travel in their backpack/stroller together or have one in their backpack and one on your shoulders.
Ideally you would always have one walking and the other in their backpack, but sometimes you may have to carry them both.
Preparing to Walk Your Cats
If you are exploring by yourself, with multiple cats, there are several ways you can prepare.
Before walking your cats together, make sure that they would be appropriate walking buddies. Do they have the same energy levels, size, strength and confidence?
If not, you may have to vary how you walk with them. Perhaps one cat will need to spend more time in their backpack.
If one of your cats are further along in their training, don’t be disheartened. Your other cat may simply learn from watching them.
Choose an Appropriate Adventure
As with any type of catexploring, it is important to pick the right location and time.
Our suggestion is that you pick a location that is quiet and not very popular. Similarly walking your cat early in the morning or in the evening ensures that you are less likely to bump into other people or dogs that may spook your cat.
In saying this, always make sure that you feel safe!
You can also pick locations where your cat has a safe spot as a base. This could be a backpack or a stroller or your car. Rather than walking away from these places, you and your cats would explore around them.
At the end of the day, the location you pick should be one that you and your cats are comfortable in.
It is also ok to have different places where you feel varying levels of comfort. Just make sure that you keep this in mind and prepare accordingly.
If you are uncomfortable with having one of your cats on your shoulders, perhaps you can attach a hammock on the top of your backpack for one of your cats.
There are several types of leashes on the market.
While walking 2 cats, our recommendation is that you do not use a retractable leash or bungee leash.
Depending on the durability of a retractable leash, it may break and you may not be able to pull it back to you, and may lose control of the leash and one of your cats.
Similarly, 2 bungee leashes may be difficult to manage with 2 cats.
If you can train your cats to use it, perhaps you can use a leash splitter. This would mean that you only have to hold onto one leash.
In the unlikely situation that one of your cats gets scared and runs off, we recommend that both your cats wear a pet tracker.
It can be challenging to clean up after your cats’ bathroom breaks while holding on to their leashes and keeping an eye on them. Our suggestion is to prepare ahead of time.
Remove the bags from the poop bag roll
Pre-open the bags
Ties these bags to your leashes.
Hopefully this means you can clean up your cat’s business a lot faster!
Getting a Second Cat to Go Exploring
You may already explore with your cat and are thinking about getting a sibling for them, who you would also like to take exploring.
If this is your goal, make sure your second cat is suitable for exploring too.
In saying that there is a chance that they won’t be as advanced as your current cat. In fact, they will probably need some extra training on their own.
But this is completely fine. As we know, patience and consistency go a long way with our cats’ training. Also, it is likely that your new cat will learn from watching your current cat.
When getting a sibling for your cat, remember that it may take a while for both of them to get along. We strongly recommend that your 2 cats get along before your explore with them both.
Cats and Dogs
It is quite popular for families to go exploring with their cat and dog.
Traditionally dogs may be easier to train. As we know, cats can be trained too!
Having a dog sibling may make it easier to train your cat to walk on a leash and on trails as they will be watching the dog sibling.
At the end of the day, training any cat, with or without a sibling, needs patience from you and consistent training.
Do you explore with 2 or more cats or animals? We’d love to hear all about it!