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For a lot of cat parents, the decision to raise a cat indoors is a tough one. On one hand, it’s no secret that outdoor cats have shorter lifespans and face more dangers than indoor cats. But for some adventurous kitties, life behind closed doors can be boring. Walking a cat is one way to get the best of both worlds, giving an intrepid indoor cat a taste of the outside world while keeping them safe.
Though not all cats are enthusiastic walkers, we’ve found a surprising number are game. For those kitties, the key to a safe and satisfying walk is a good leash or harness and a few indoor training sessions. From short-length nylon models to bungee leashes that deliver gentle correction, there’s no shortage of options on the market. The best cat leash depends on your unique situation.
To learn what factors to consider when shopping for cat leashes, we spoke to Dr. Lindsay Butzer, DMV, and PetMeds partner. Read on to see our top picks for the best leashes to help you and your cat safely enjoy the great outdoors together.
- Best Harness and Cat Leash Set: Red Dingo Classic Nylon Cat Leash & Harness Set
- Best Short Leash: Leashboss Padded Traffic Handle Short Leash
- Best for Two Cats: Mighty Paw Double Leash Attachment
- Best Long Cat Leash: Four Paws Cotton Web Training Lead
- Best Bungee Leash: PetSafe Come With Me Kitty Harness and Bungee Cat Leash
- Best Reflective Leash: Chai’s Choice Premium Outdoor Adventure Padded Reflective Leash
- Best for Big Cats: PetSafe Nylon Dog & Cat Leash
Best Harness and Leash Set: Red Dingo Classic Nylon Cat Leash & Harness Set
Whether you’re heading out for a quick stroll around the neighborhood or a day hike through the woods, safety is paramount. “A good cat leash should be lightweight, durable, and comfortable for both you and your cat,” says Dr. Lindsay Butzer. “It should also have a secure clasp to attach to the harness.”
The Red Dingo Classic Nylon cat leash and harness set is simple, sturdy, and easy to use. The ½-inch nylon won’t stretch, and both the metal leash attachment and cute fish-shaped harness clips offer superior strength and security. Though it only comes in one size, the harness is fully adjustable for chest girths between 10.6 and 18.9 inches. It comes in four different colors.
- Made from nylon and abrasion-resistant ribbon
- Strong and secure fish-shaped clips
- Harness is fully adjustable at two points
- Available in four different colors
Best Short Leash: Leashboss Padded Traffic Handle Short Leash
When you’re first training your cat to walk on a leash, Dr. Lindsay recommends you “start out with it short and close to you while your cat gets comfortable on the leash.” Over time, and with practice, they’ll get used to it and you can give them a little leeway.
Measuring 24 inches long and 1 inch wide, this short leash is designed to give you up-close control over your pet. It features a padded neoprene handle for comfort and a heavy-duty rotating swivel clip for security. The nylon webbing material is stretch-resistant with the help of reinforced stitching. This leash comes in two colors and four lengths from 12 to 30 inches.
- Durable nylon webbing with reinforced stitching
- Padded neoprene handle for comfort
- Available in 2 colors and 4 lengths
- Heavy-duty rotating swivel clip for security
Best for Two Cats: Mighty Paw Double Leash Attachment
Many cat lovers will agree that there’s no such thing as too many cats. But even the staunchest feline fanciers may change their minds when those cats are on a leash. If you’re brave enough to walk two cats at a time, a leash with dual attachment points may come in handy.
Available in a 5/8” or 1” width, this double leash attachment is sold with or without a handle. It’s made from stretch-resistant nylon for lightweight strength with heavy-duty metal harness attachments. Reflective stitching provides increased visibility in low-light conditions. Because you can adjust the length of the two sides separately, you can easily accommodate cats of different sizes.
- Two leashes are separately adjustable
- Lightweight stretch-resistant and waterproof nylon materials
- Reflective stitching improves low-light visibility
- Available in 5/8” or 1” widths, with or without handle
Best Long Leash: Four Paws Cotton Web Training Lead
Dr. Lindsay notes that the ideal cat leash length is about four to six feet. This length gives your cat “some freedom to explore while still being under your control.” If you choose to use a longer leash, Dr. Lindsay says, “It should be made of strong, non-stretch material like nylon or leather to prevent breakage” if your cat spooks and makes a break for it.
The Four Paws training lead is made from lightweight but durable cotton materials. It features a solid bronze clip that attaches securely to your cat’s harness or collar. Because the clip swivels, you don’t have to worry about it impeding your cat’s range of motion or getting tangled. The lead comes in four lengths from 10 to 30 feet. It’s a great option if you want to give your cat some supervised time to wander the yard, but shorter leashes are recommended for walks and hikes.
- Lightweight but durable cotton material
- Solid bronze swivel clip leash attachment
- Available in four lengths from 10 to 30 feet
- Measures 5/8” wide
A Note About Retractable Leashes: While retractable leashes may be an attractive option in situations where it’s safe for your cat to wander, Dr. Lindsay cautions that “they may not provide the same level of control as a fixed-length leash.” No matter what leash you choose, Dr. Lindsay reminds pet parents to “use caution and monitor their cat closely.”Find on Chewy Find on Amazon
Best Bungee Leash: PetSafe Come With Me Kitty Harness and Bungee Cat Leash
Cats who are born for adventure can quickly become confident on the leash. As they start pushing the boundaries, they may require gentle correction. A bungee leash has a little stretch to it. When your cat starts to wander, just give it a little tug to remind your cat not to stray. They’ll feel the resistance, but the bungee keeps the change from being too sudden.
The Come With Me Kitty harness and leash set from PetSafe is a great entry-level product for walking your cat. The 3/8” nylon harness is adjustable at the back and chest, and it comes with a bungee leash. Take your cat’s measurements carefully and choose from three sizes and six colors.
- Matching cat harness and leash set
- Harness is fully adjustable at the back and chest
- Available in three sizes and six colors
- Bungee leash enables gentle correction
Best Reflective Leash: Chai’s Choice Premium Outdoor Adventure Padded Reflective Leash
Cats can be unpredictable, and even the most confident cat can be easily spooked. When walking in low-light conditions, a reflective leash improves visibility to let drivers and other walkers know where your cat is. It’s a simple but important safety measure to take when walking your cat outside your own property.
Designed for pets who love the great outdoors, this leash is made from nylon webbing and lined with 3M reflective material. It features an ergonomic handle with soft mesh padding for your comfort. To ensure your cat’s safety, the lightweight Duraflex snap is made from heavy-duty zinc alloy. Choose from two widths, two lengths, and over half a dozen colors.
- Durable nylon webbing with 3M reflective lining
- Padded mesh handle for comfort
- Heavy-duty zinc alloy Duraflex snap
- Multiple widths, lengths, and colors
Best for Big Cats: PetSafe Nylon Dog & Cat Leash
Dr. Lindsay says, “Pet parents should consider their cat’s size, strength, and temperament” in addition to their own preferences for leash length and material. While many cats prefer a thinner, lighter leash, Dr. Lindsay suggests that bigger cats “may need a thicker, more durable one.”
Made from durable nylon materials, this PetSafe leash is available in both 4-foot and 6-foot lengths. It also comes in three widths—the ¾-inch or 1-inch width may be best for bigger cats. Made from durably nylon webbing, this leash is sturdy but lightweight enough that it won’t bother your cat. Choose from six different bright colors.
- Available in 4-foot and 6-foot lengths
- Durable nylon materials won’t stretch
- Heavy-duty metal hardware
- Three widths and six color choices
How We Chose
We selected the products featured here based on a combination of our own hands-on testing, comprehensive analysis of customer reviews across a wide variety of retail platforms, and interviews with veterinary experts.
We prioritized cat leashes with quality material, reinforced attachment points, and comfortable handles. Our picks are also influenced by the experience of living and playing alongside our own much-loved and strongly opinionated adventure kitties, who are never stingy with their feedback.