These day it is not at all unusual to see folks out walking their feline companion using a cat harness and leash.
Many of us keep our cats indoors for many reasons. One drawback is that our cats may not be getting sufficient exercise.
Of course playing with your cat helps keep her in trim, as does cat equipment such as kitty condos or climbers. But a regular walk about may be just the thing for keeping your indoor feline in tip top shape. A cat harness and leash is essential for accomplishing this safely.
If your cat has never been walked on a leash before then she is going to need training and it will take quite some patience.
You cannot take a trip to the pet store, select a leash and harness, and be out walking your cat the same day. It is going to take time for your cat to be comfortable with the idea of wearing a harness, let alone being restricted by a leash.
Please, understand that cats should never be walked with a leash attached to a collar. Cats are not built the same way as dogs, their necks are not as sturdy. A leash attached to a collar would put a strain on your cat’s neck when she resists the pull, a harness is essential.
The first thing is to get your cat to wear the strange looking contraption. This can only be done with gentle loving persuasion. A good tip is to just leave the harness on the floor for a few days, let your cat sniff at it and get used to it as an object.
Next, attempt to get kitty into the harness, all the time talking to her soothingly. Yes, it is likely she will resist, wriggle and fuss, maybe even attempt to scratch. Don’t force the issue, let her be and try again later.
When your patience has triumphed and your cat is harnessed, give her a lot of praise. If she accepts wearing it all well and good, keep her in it for no longer than ten minutes, but it is more likely she will protest and if she does let her wear it for a few moments, then release her before she gets stressed. Again giving plenty of praise.
Repeat this routine until your cat is quite comfortable walking around wearing her harness indoors.
Now is the time to attach the leash, but don’t try to walk her yet even indoors. Let her drag the lead around, watch that it does not snag on anything. The idea is to get your her used to the idea that a cat harness and leash go together.
When your cat is happy with wearing both leash and harness, pick up the handle of the leash. Follow your cat, don’t try to get her to follow you just yet. Should your pet sit down, pull at the lead or stop, then don’t pull, keep the leash slack and use enticing words to try and persuade her to move.
After several sessions, you may be able to congratulate yourself that you’ve trained your little pet to walk around indoors wearing her cat harness and leash, well done.
Now for the outdoors.
Make it a very short walk out at first, and pick a quiet time. Most probably kitty will not be much interested in walking at first, too many new smells to check out.
Don’t try five mile hikes, she is only a cat, investigate where she wants to with you in control to keep her out of trouble. Your feline friend will get great benefit from her little walks on a cat harness and leash, a little exercise, fresh air and some relief from being indoors.