When you live in a crowded city you don’t want to worry about what might happen to your cat if you let it out to play. With so many dangers out there, including other cats, cars and stray dogs, you’d be forgiven for thinking that the only way to keep your cat safe is to keep it indoors at all costs. But have you ever thought of trying a cat harness?
It’s actually possible to train your cat to wear a harness, allowing you to take it for a walk on a leash in the same way as you would a dog. It seems incredible, and I was sceptical at first, but cat harnesses are proving really popular.
The most important thing in training your cat to use a harness and leash is patience. The younger your cat the easier it will be, but older cats will be set in their ways and may stubbornly refuse to wear the harness at first. But be persistent, try it on them for a few minutes each day and eventually they will become accustomed to it.
Don’t rush your cat, and don’t force it to wear the harness if it is really frightened by it. If your cat seems irritated try fitting it loosely at first to allow kitty to get used to the sensation of the harness, and then gradually tighten it up over a few days until the harness is eventually fitting properly and your cat is not bothered by the feeling of wearing it.
When your cat is happy with the harness you can try attaching the lead. It is possible to buy extendable leads, but I find it easier to keep my cats under control using a six-foot lead. This way your cat cannot suddenly shoot off in the wrong direction and catch you by surprise, or go and get itself tangled up around trees, fences, gates. park benches or anything else that grabs its fancy.
Cat walking is still something of a rarity and I’m sure you will attract many puzzled looks as you walk down the sidewalk with your cat at your side, but it is a rewarding thing for both of you. You get to spend more time with your cat and she gets to investigate the great outdoors with all of its interesting objects, smells and sights.
Another big advantage if training your cat to wear a harness is that it allows you to take it travelling with you, rather than forcing it stay in kennels while you’re on holiday. You get peace of mind that knowing that your cat is under control (as long as you’re holding the lead!) while your cat gets to enjoy a change of scenery.