Take Your Cat for a Walk (Safely)

Who is right for harness training?

If your cat has experience being outside or bolts to the door every time you walk in, your cat may benefit from harness training. If your cat is terrified of new things and has never shown interest in leaving the house, harness training may be too stressful for your cat.

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Who your cat thinks she is on a walk

Highly active cats are usually game to walk on a harness and leash. A daily walk provides exercise and mental stimulation that active cats crave. In the same way that daily exercise for a dog is a no brainer; daily exercise for your cat should be a no brainer as well. Exercise can be provided by walks on a harness or interactive playtime with your cat. Base your exercise choices on your cat’s individual needs.

It doesn’t have to be like the Internet videos

We’ve all seen the videos. Someone is excited to put a harness on their cat but the cat just falls over suddenly comatose. The excited person tries to cheer on the cat but the cat is just slowly being dragged across the room. Sure, it can make for a funny video but you want your cat to actually look forward to walking on a harness and leash.

Introduce the harness slowly and encourage your cat with treats. If your cat is staying calm, try putting just part of the harness on and rewarding with a treat. This introduction period may take a few days (or longer), be patient and don’t push your cat to a point where they find the harness stressful or even scary.

Once your cat has the hang of the harness indoors, try taking him outdoors in it. If your cat enjoys being outside he should make the association between the harness and going outside pretty quickly.

Again, go slow. Your cat may only want to explore your yard. Let your cat set the pace for how far you are exploring on your walks. Some cats want to walk around the neighborhood and others may just want to lay in the yard to watch birds, the point is to enrich your cat’s life so whatever makes them happy is the goal.

Always test out the fit of a new harness indoors so you can be sure your cat won’t get loose on your walks.

Click the images below to start exploring which harness will work for your cat.

 

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