Every morning, Mr. Zi runs to the footstool where his leash is kept, drags it to the floor and sits there impatiently, making demanding noises, until owner Camilla Gresham puts his halter on. Then it’s out the door they go.

Just like a well-trained dog, Zi walks by her side, usually in the perfect heel position, and stops passers-by in their tracks: Is that a cat? On a leash? And look at those spots! Is he wild? A leopard?

Zi is a Bengal, an intelligent domestic breed of cat whose forefathers a few generations back were small wild Asian leopard cats and domestic felines. Like the rest of his breed, his back legs are a bit taller than his forelegs, giving him that stealthy, I-own-the-world walk. He is lithe and muscular, about 15 pounds, with soft, minklike, cinnamon fur with dark spots.

Walk this way

• Start as early as you can; it’s easier to train a kitten.

• Use an “8”-shaped cat harness, not a collar, for walking. But have a small collar with an ID on the cat, too.

• Get the cat used to the harness in the house without the leash. Put it on before you feed him so he associates the harness with something pleasant. Don’t leave it on very long.

• When he is comfortable with the halter, put the leash on and let him drag it around. Train when the cat is hungry.

• Use the cat’s name, followed by “heel,” as you would a dog. Move forward a couple steps at a time very slowly. When the cat follows, give praise and a treat.

• When the cat is comfortable with the leash, take him outside. Train on the grass and around bushes, which will interest the cat more than a sidewalk. Don’t train in a busy area that may scare it.

• Be sure the cat is up to date on vaccinations.

• Walk the cat in your yard only so it won’t get frightened by cars and dogs.

• Always carry the cat out the door so he doesn’t get used to running out the door anytime.

Gresham says Bengals are often called “doglike” because they love to play in water, fetch toys, talk (a lot), and demand more attention than most cats usually want. They make a good alternative for some people who are allergic to cats because their fur is peltlike, and they shed very little.

Gresham and her husband, Tom, got Zi from a neighbor’s relative who could no longer care for him. Zi was used to roaming the great outdoors, but the Greshams decided to keep him indoors for fear of wildlife. But Zi meowed pitifully to get outside, so Gresham finally decided to try a leash.

That he took to the leash so quickly is unusual, even for a Bengal. It usually takes training, says Laurie Clauss, veterinarian at Cattails Feline Health Center in Colorado Springs.

But any breed of cat can be trained to the leash at any age. It’s more a matter of intelligence and especially temperament, Clauss says. And it takes a certain kind of owner, too. “It’s a matter of patience. It usually takes a lot of training. You have to make the experience a privilege for the cat.”

Clauss says all cats should be indoor pets because of outdoor dangers and suggests walking a cat only in the yard for safety’s sake. Giving them a 10-minute leashed walk outside “is a neat way to get mental stimulation,” Clauss says.

Gresham doesn’t have any advice on how to train a cat to take to a leash, because Zi didn’t fight it or meow to have the halter taken off. “He took to it immediately. I think he knew that was the only way he was going to get some fresh air.”