Walking pets doesn’t only apply to dogs, you can take your cat on a walk too!
A harness is a great way to keep your cat safe and secure on your outdoor adventures! As much as cats love exploring the outdoors, the idea of letting them run off on their own may make you nervous.
A harness can be tricky to use on cats, as they don’t tend to enjoy being restrained or tied to anything, but with the appropriate steps, you and your cat can bond while exploring the outside world together!
This article will be going over the different harnesses you can use for your cat, and how to get them used to it.
What Are Cat Harnesses Used For
Cat harnesses are designed to help restrain your cat when walking in public places such as parks, hiking trails, and other areas where there might be dangers.
Harnessing your cat allows you to control their movement, making sure that they stay close by your side at all times. This helps prevent your cat from getting into trouble and also keeps them out of harm’s way if an accident does happen.
They are also useful for any trips to the vet or when you want to go traveling. Your cat may become fearful when they need to be placed in their carrier, and their fight or flight reaction may cause some havoc.
Placing a harness on them prevents them from being able to escape, making this process much easier for the both of you!
The same applies to any baths your cat may need. Cats are known for disliking water, and they are likely to try and escape during bath time. A harnessed kitty will allow you to hold them in place while you wash them.
There are two main types of harnesses, one of them is the figure-eight harness. It has two loops attached to each other, and they form a figure 8 shape. The head of the cat will go through one loop, followed by the torso going through the other one.
It is always advised that you measure your cat before purchasing a harness, as having the right size will ensure they are comfortable and more likely to get accustomed to using it.
How To Put A Figure Eight Harness On Your Cat
You should begin by finding the smaller loop of the two and looping that over your cat’s head.
The larger loop should have a buckle. You should unbuckle it and guide it to meet underneath the chest of your cat before buckling it there.
Fasten the harness, so it fits snugly around your cat.
The other type of harness is an H-harness. As the name suggests, it forms a letter H with two loops connected by a strap.
The process is similar to the one above. Simply slip your cat’s head through the smaller loop. Then there should be a metal loop that will join the harness and leash together. Hold that between your cat’s shoulder blades.
Make sure to unbuckle the other loop, place your cat’s legs through the harness and securely fasten it by the chest of your cat.
How To Train Your Cat To Use A Harness
As excited as you may be to take your cat outside the minute your harness arrives, there are some steps that need to be taken in order to make your cat comfortable.
Cats love having a routine, and any changes to their environment can make them stressed. Therefore, when you are introducing new things to them, this has to be done slowly.
Start by placing the harness next to their food, you can even scatter some treats on it, so they associate the harness with positivity. Do this for a few days, so those feelings are being reinforced.
Once they have had some days to do this, start draping it over their back, so they can get used to the feel of it. Keep giving them treats while you do this, and once they are comfortable, you can fasten the buckle in place. Once you have fastened it, you can reward them with treats.
Let your cat wear the harness around the house for a few days, so they get comfortable having it on. This will also allow you to see whether it is the right fit for your cat.
Once they are comfortable wearing it, attach the leash and let them walk around with the leash dragging behind them. Let them do this for another few days, and once they are comfortable, you can walk them around your home as a practice run.
When you are practicing indoors, it is best to let your cat lead the way. This will allow it to get comfortable with you holding the leash behind it.
Before you take the next step and go outdoors, make sure your cat has a collar with some kind of ID tag. This will ensure that if the unfortunate event occurs where they escape and run away, they can be easily returned to you if someone were to find them.
Braving The Outdoors
Once you are certain your cat is comfortable and secure in its harness and leash, you can begin to brave the outdoors. You should begin to introduce new environments slowly.
If your house has a patio or a porch area, you can begin by letting them pace around that space, leaving your front door open, so they can retreat indoors if they become scared.
You can repeat this every day for a few minutes until your cat becomes comfortable. As time goes by, you should be able to take your kitty on some short walks, allowing them to explore the world they are so curious about, with you by their side.
Harnesses are wonderful things to introduce to your cat’s life and will allow them to explore the outdoors with you being in control.
However, this item must be introduced slowly, with a lot of positive reinforcement being used, so they associate the harness with happy thoughts.
It is important to note that not all cats will enjoy being walked with a harness, so if your cat seems stressed out whenever you put it on, it may not be the right activity for them.