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Why does my cat follow me when I go for a walk?

Introduction: Cats are known for their independent and aloof nature, but what does it mean when your feline companion is constantly by your side, even on walks? In this blog post, we will explore the reasons behind why cats may choose to follow their owners on walks and delve into their fascinating behavior. Understanding the motivations behind this behavior can provide insights into your cat’s needs and strengthen the bond between you. So, let’s unravel the mystery of why your cat follows you when you go for a walk.

Understanding Cat Behavior

Cats have a reputation for being aloof and independent creatures. Unlike dogs, who are known for their undying loyalty, cats tend to do whatever they like. They are selective in seeking attention and companionship, and their behavior can often be puzzling to their human companions. However, understanding their natural instincts and behaviors is key to comprehending why they choose to follow you on walks.

Cats are Independent Creatures

Cats have a strong sense of independence ingrained in their nature. They are capable of taking care of themselves and are known for their solitary lifestyles. Unlike dogs who are pack animals, cats do not have the same inherent need for constant social interaction. However, this does not mean that they don’t enjoy the company of their owners. Cats have the ability to form deep bonds with their humans and may seek their attention in their own unique way.

Reasons Why Your Cat Follows You on Walks

There can be several reasons behind why your cat chooses to accompany you when you go for a walk. Let’s explore some of the common motivations:

Seeking Attention and Companionship

Cats are social creatures, despite their independent nature. They form close bonds with their owners and enjoy spending time with them. When your cat follows you on walks, it may simply be seeking social interaction and companionship. By being by your side, your cat can enjoy your presence and engage in activities together, strengthening the bond between the two of you.

Frequent outdoor walks offer opportunities for quality time with your cat, which can lead to a happier and healthier relationship. So, cherish these moments and make the most of the opportunity to bond with your furry friend.

Curiosity and Desire for Exploration

Cats are curious by nature. They have a natural inclination to explore their surroundings and satisfy their curiosity. When your cat follows you on walks, it may be enticed by the sights, sounds, and smells of the outside world. They may be eager to explore new territories, investigate interesting scents, or observe the environment from a different perspective.

The outdoor world can offer a plethora of exciting stimuli for your cat, and being by your side allows them to have a companion during their exploration. Just like humans, cats can find comfort and security in having a familiar presence during moments of curiosity and exploration.

Requesting Food or Treats

As a loving cat owner, it’s no surprise that your feline friend associates you with food and treats. Cats are smart creatures and have learned to communicate their desires to their owners effectively. If your cat follows you on walks and exhibits persistent behavior, it could be a subtle request for food or treats.

By following you, your cat may believe that they can persuade you to give them something delicious. They may have learned that their behavior gets rewarded with a tasty treat or a special meal. It’s important to acknowledge and understand these subtle requests from your cat, but also ensure that they maintain a balanced diet.

Showing Territorial Behavior

Cats are territorial by nature and mark their surroundings to establish their claim. By following you on walks, your cat may view you as an extension of their territory. They may feel the need to mark your presence and ensure that their territory extends wherever you go.

This territorial behavior is a way for cats to feel secure and in control of their environment. By following you, they are essentially marking their territory and reinforcing their bond with you.

Cat Body Language and Communication

In order to better understand your cat’s behavior, it’s important to pay attention to their body language and non-verbal cues. Cats communicate through various means, and being able to interpret their messages can help strengthen your bond and improve your communication with them.

Understanding Your Cat’s Body Language

Cats have a unique way of expressing themselves through their body language. Pay attention to their tail movements, ear positions, and overall posture to get insights into their emotions and intentions. For example, a relaxed and raised tail usually indicates a content and confident cat, while a low and puffed-up tail may signal fear or aggression.

By observing and understanding your cat’s body language, you can better respond to their needs and ensure their comfort and well-being.

Interpreting Your Cat’s Meows and Vocalizations

Along with body language, cats also communicate through vocalizations such as meows, purrs, and growls. Each type of vocalization carries a different meaning and can convey various messages. For example, a high-pitched meow may indicate excitement or a demand for attention, while a low growl can signify aggression or discomfort.

By paying attention to the different sounds your cat makes, you can respond accordingly and address their needs effectively. Developing a language of understanding with your cat is crucial for a harmonious relationship.

How to Encourage or Discourage Walking Behavior

If you enjoy having your cat accompany you on walks, you can take steps to encourage and reinforce this behavior. On the other hand, if their constant following becomes undesirable or problematic, you can also redirect their behavior. Here are a few tips:

Positive Reinforcement

Use positive reinforcement techniques to encourage your cat to follow you appropriately on walks. Reward them with treats, praise, and petting when they stay by your side and display the desired behavior. This positive association will encourage them to continue following you on walks.

Additionally, make sure to spend quality time with your cat during walks. Engage in interactive play sessions or introduce interactive toys to make the experience enjoyable for them.

Redirecting Unwanted Behavior

If your cat’s constant following becomes overwhelming or unwanted, you can redirect their attention to other activities. Provide toys or engage them in play to distract them from following you persistently. By redirecting their focus towards alternative activities, you can discourage unwanted behavior.

It’s also important to avoid reinforcing their behavior unintentionally. For example, if your cat meows persistently to request treats and you give in every time, they will continue the behavior. Instead, try to ignore the behavior or redirect their attention to more appropriate ways of communicating their needs.


So, the next time your cat follows you on a walk, remember that their motivations may vary. It could be their desire for social interaction, curiosity, a subtle request for food, or a display of territorial behavior. Understanding and respecting your cat’s behavior is crucial to maintaining a strong bond and a happy coexistence.

By paying attention to their body language, interpreting their vocalizations, and using positive reinforcement, you can encourage or discourage the walking behavior as desired. Keep in mind that every cat is unique, and their reasons for following you on walks may vary. Embrace these moments as opportunities for bonding and exploration, and enjoy the companionship of your feline friend on your adventures outdoors.


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