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Harness training

post #1 of 15
Thread Starter 
Well I bought a harness and a leash for the girls Saturday. Phantom LOVES it. Phenom on the other hand is freaked out by the harness. I got it on her and was adjusting it and she went crazy. Hissing and running away. She doens't really seem interested in the outside. That is fine by me. Should I keep working with her or just let her stay inside and let Phantom be the only one who goes out?
post #2 of 15
I would keep working with her - she will get used to it. You don't need to force her to go out by herself but I think it helps if an indoor cat is aware of its surroundings so that if there is an escape one day then the poor creature will probably find the way home.
post #3 of 15
Thread Starter 
Phenom is not the one I worry about escaping. She is very skittish and runs when the door is opened. Phantom on the other hand is very adventurous! I am going to try again with the harness and Phenom. But if I get the same reaction I think I am just going to let her be. I don't want to stress her for no reason.
post #4 of 15
When we had Molly and I put her in a harness and my quiet, gentle cat completely turned into a crazed lunatic. I gave up.

Abby tolerates it, and likes going outside occasionally. As Jenny mentioned, I want her to know the lay of the land in case she does get out for some reason.

Last time I brought her out, she was going too far into the woods, and kept pulling the leash to go further. I picked her up and placed her a bit away from the woods. She was mad, so she ran as fast as the leash would let her, and headed to the door of the house. I was really happy to see that she learned where home is.
post #5 of 15
My RB cat Sphinx didn't mind the harness at all. He thought it was a great idea because he was going outside.

Kuce though is terrified of the harness. We're still working with her as long as she allows it.

Both Luvbug and Lil' Jag are currently in traing. They have the harness downpat but the lead is something else yet.
post #6 of 15
When I had my DiddoKahli, she would urn up to the halter and lead rope to go out.

I would suggest that you continue working with the both cats. May I suggest that you also use your voice.

When you harness up, you can say "OK, now we have our harness on, we can go out. We do NOT go out without our harness on." You'd be surprised how fast the cats get it. If th4e cats are near the door without the harness on, say "NO, we can not go out without our harness."
post #7 of 15
I agree with Jenny and Karen that it's good for a cat to know the immediate surroundings, so that he/she can find the way home.
Even if you decide not to take her outside, or she doesn't like it, I'd still try to get her used to the harness, because it's quite useful for vet visits or traveling, e.g., if airport security or police insist on examining the carrier, you can take the cat out of it more easily.
post #8 of 15
I agree with everyone - just keep working on getting her used to it. Luxor HATES HATES HATES a collar so I'll try a beatie band soon. But Stoli will wear a collar and LOVES his jacket. I don't think he'd like a harness. Stoli enjoys going outside but one time he got scared and tried to get out of his jacket and ran away - - - - - but it was to my front door. And I'm thankful that he knows where he lives. Luxor won't be going outside until he can actually wear a collar and then we'll see.
post #9 of 15
By the way, DiddoKahli was walked around the neighborhood by me and we usually stopped at a neighbor's house to get some goodies. I felt that she needed to know where she lived and who to go to if she got out.

I never in a million years thought that cat would run out the door, but darn it, she did. She headed straight for the neighbor's house and I caught up with her as sat on the porch meowing for her treat. It scared the daylights out of me but I was so glad that I had taken the time to show here where she lived.
post #10 of 15
I would get Phenom and show her the harness and let her sniff it and keep it in one area where she can get used to it and the odour of it and then slowly put it on but loosely , don't tighten it up as maybe phenom feels that she is being confined and restraint and cats don't like that.

Let her walk around the house wearing the harness but no leash so she gets used to it. Just like you put a bridle on a horse for the first time. Let them get used to how it feels on their bodies. Even have your other cat Phantom wear the harness only in the house so both of them are doing the same thing. Do it for one hour with phenom and then remove it. Reward him when he does it well. Keep doing this and then attach the leash and hold onto the leash but let phenom walk around the house and you follow at first so he is in control of the tension on the leash. Do this three to four times and then you walk and let him follow so that he feels the tension on the leash and has to go where you are going. Do this in the house as he is familar with the surroundings.

Even do it with Phantom and phenom together so the two cats are walking together on the leash and harness in the house. It gets phenom used to the idea and comfortable and then he will know that the harness and leash is not harmful to him. When you want to let them outside open the door and let phenom make the first move to walk out on the leash and harness , don't walk out and pull or drag him as he will only fight as the outside is strange to him. Let him sniff the air and come out slowly with phantom. You have to do it slowly when you are putting a cat on a harness and leash when they haven't done it before as its new and strange to them and cats don't like being forced to do things and confined and restraint to things.

Once your cats are familiar with the harness and leash and they have done it many times its like second nature to them. If they do go outside I would just keep them close to the house , like in the backyard away from noises like cars as cats who are indoors are not used to those things.

When you finally get phenom to go outside do small trips out like 10 minutes and then increase it and let him go around the backyard sniffing and exploring and you walk behind him. Don't stress him out by pulling on the leash as that's when he will fight and get upset.

I hope this helps a bit. I had my cats on leashes when I first put them outside after a month of getting them and now they go out on their own. I even would bring out a toy on the lawn and they would chase it but I always kept the leash loose so they could roam around and sniff the backyard. They always led me < I never led them.

Good luck,

post #11 of 15
My neighbors harness trained their cat. For a while they had to pretty much drag the cat behind them. But now it's the funniest thing to see them walk down the sidewalk with their cat proudly leading the way on her leash.
post #12 of 15
How long should you train your cat inside with it? I read something once about a long process..first you lay it out and let them get used to seeing it, then eventually put it on them, then put it on them, letting them walk around in the house, then attempt to lead them.

This seems like it could possibly work, but I'm not sure.

Also, won't everytime you try to open the door, the cat will want to run out? It seems like it may be hard work..and I don't want her to run loose outside, I'd never get her back! I was thinking of maybe testing it out this Spring/Summer, as now it's cold and snowy.
post #13 of 15
You don't let them run loose outside. I've never hear of the long process you're speaking of. My neighbor just put the harness and leash on and took her outside.
post #14 of 15
I practiced with Jamie in the house for about a week before taking him outside, but that was partly because he was just getting his last round of kitten shots, and I wanted to wait until he'd had all of them. Two or three days would have been enough, I think.
He has managed to run outside two or three times, but he doesn't constantly try to. When he wants out, he's more likely to go to the drawer where I keep his harness and meow.
post #15 of 15
Thread Starter 
Phenom will have nothing to do with the harness. She hisses and hides when i try it on her. I don't want to stress her. Phantom on the other hand is loving it! I have been taking her out on nice afternoons! She is one happy cat outside!
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