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What is everyone's opinions on harness/leash training?

post #1 of 14
Thread Starter 
So I am getting a couple of kittens soon, and am trying to decide if I should leash train them.

They will be indoor kitties, because the apartment I will be living in requires it and because I have always wanted some nice loving indoor kitties (my family always had indoor/outdoor kitties which are kind of gross to sleep with though I did).

I am trying to decide if its worth it to leash train them and take them for walks. The main pros I can think of are traveling easier (they will take car rides with me a couple times a year - some about 2 hrs, some about 6hrs), and they get to go outside which they may enjoy. The cons are that I've always thought it was a bit odd to take cats on walks, and they might not really enjoy the outside if leashed.

So what are everyones opinions on this so I can try to make an informed decision.
post #2 of 14
Well, my cats are harness/leash trained. Not they are ever on them. Damita wears a harness/leash to the vet, carries cause her to injur herself. Other than that, I take them out about once a year.

Your kitties might enjoy walks, they might not. It depends on the cat. My Lily is timid & HATES going outside. I do not force her & she is content to stay indoors always.
post #3 of 14
If you are adopting cats that have always been indoors, keep them that way.

If not, it's worth a trial, especially with kittens. Zissou is leash trained and she loves it. When I pull the harness down she goes running to the door, waits for it to be put on, and then pops right outside. On the few chances she gets to make an escape, she has a weird game she plays with me where she walks about leash-length in front of me around the third floow walkway here. She almsot seems afraid of being outside without her harness, and is definitely afraid of being outside without me.

They can enjoy everything just as well with a leash as without. You would be surprised how many people do this, every building I have lived in there has been at least one other person with a cat on a leash.
post #4 of 14
Best way to find out is to just try it. My cats are al indoor cats. 1 of my cats used to be an outdoor cat (until my neighbor threatened to cut his tail off) since then hes always been inside. But if the cat likes it out there, you really need to watch them or they will try to make a run for it. My cats hate it outside except for that 1. So theres no real way to tell how they will react until you try it. If they are find out there then its good, if they dont like it, dont force them to be out there. I wish my cats were leashed trained it would be cool to walk a cat lol i'd be oppisite outside from everyone walking a dog.
post #5 of 14
Oliver was a street kitty that I took in... and two of the first things I purchased were a harness and leash... of course he didn't take to it well at first and initially HATED being taken outside (my thoughts are he thought I was gonna dump him out there to live again) but gradually he came around and now he actually BEGS at his leash and harness that are kept by the back door! He looks at them and mews to be taken out... a lot of times when we're eating on the deck, I harness him up, loop the leash through a post on the deck, and let him sit in the grass while we're eating... he loves to chomp on grass (even though I spend money on seeds to grow him oat grass inside that he eats all the time!), watch bugs, my dog, the neighbors dogs, etc... then after eating, I'll unloop the leash and he'll sometimes lead me around the yard... then he puts up a stink when I pick him up/nudge him towards the door when it's time to go inside... what a spoiled monster he is! haha

I also harness and leash him up whenever he goes in his crate to travel... there's a leash clip in the crate and when we travel by car, I HAVE to open the top of his crate or he turns into a devil spawn (the leash clip gives him only limited freedom)... he tends to stay in the crate on car trips, but I think he likes to not feel too confined
post #6 of 14
Demetri enjoys going out, he comes running when he hears me get the harness. We only go in the front or back yard.

He understands he doesn't go out without a harness on and never bolts for the door.
post #7 of 14
To be honest, cats really do not walk on a leash like a dog would. You more/less follow them - they don't "heel".

Once you let a cat go outside, you have a hard time keeping them inside or risk them slipping out the door when its open. If you want a totally indoor cat, don't start the harness/leash stuff.

As far as traveling - they really should ride in the car in a carrier - not loose or on leash - they can get hurt or tangled up. You can get them used to car riding by just putting them in a carrier and making short trips (other then to the vet).
post #8 of 14
I am glad I read this thread. GoldenKitty, you made a good point. As i have 4 indoor kitties, well 3 kitties, 1 is about 9 months now...I was thinking about harness training....but....as you said...once they go out...it will increase their desire too go out ( assuming they like it outside ) AND more likely too try and run for the door...interesting, because I want them to see outside but...not if it is going to risk losing them out the door, no-sir-eee, I have lost 1 already, and that was devastating. So I guess maybe I will not harness train...I intend for these cats too be inside for life, so I feel would be best not too take them outside for walks. After all I am already defining ways too have a safe area, for when I and visitors, come and go too ensure they do not get out. Thankyou GoldenKitty good advice and it is like other people have said...what they don't know they don't miss, and they have heaps of toys and eachother too play with ( including me ) ...Cat tree is on the way......
post #9 of 14
I will admit that when we screen in out patio area (or buy a gazebo) then the cats and dogs will go out there with us from time to time. BUT I plan on putting the cats in a carrier and carrying them out and back - that way they are not putting their 4 feet on the ground and it should lessen the chance of just running out.

We've broken both of trying to get outside (especially Ling) so we will wait and see - if they give us a hard time later - no more outside for them period

It would be more like sitting in a giant window - which they like in the house. They would not be touching the grass, etc.
post #10 of 14
Hello, I'm new to this forum though I have been lurking on it for some time. I have a 7 yr old cat Luna who has been harness trained since she was 8 months old. Also trained 2 other cats, they were also under a year old when I started training them. I think its easier the younger they are. I am now starting to train my friend's cat who is 6 years old and was allowed out to roam by his previous owners who then moved and abandoned him. He is a very gentle, lovely boy. So far he is wearing the harness for a couple of hours a day indoors to get accustomed to it. Have clipped the leash on a couple of times but he just falls to the floor and doesn't move. So thats as far as we've gotten. Its all a matter of patience and their desire to go outside. What someone else said "you don't walk a cat, they walk you" is very very true. I am working on a website detailing my experiences training my cats to harness and leash. I have a question, has anyone any experience with Cat Runs or Cat Fences. They look like a better alternative to letting your cats outside if you have multiple cats - no tangled up ropes etc. I have only seen one in real life - it was huge, the guy had a big backyard and it went around the whole perimeter with stations where they could sit on cat trees. Very impressive and very expensive. Would like to know what you think of them, pros and cons. Thanks, Jeanette
post #11 of 14
When I first got Merfy, I tried to leash train her. She mostly just laid down whenever the leash was on her, but would follow as if it was on her if i took it off. We had a huge woods behind our house at the time and i'd walk with her back there.

But I don't think I'll do it with Isosceles. It's much less risky to keep the cats as indoor cats (merfy was indoor/outdoor until she was 7, when she caught a rabid bat! I had to quarentine her for 6 months...even though she'd had her shots. after a "if the cat dies send her head to the CDC" letter from the state i decided to keep her indoor only.) I've had much less trouble this way and, after an adjustment period she's become very happy indoors...as long as she has access to some interesting windows.

But yeah...I agree with the general consensus...it depends on the cat and generally you bow to their will. lol
post #12 of 14
Quote:
Originally Posted by BuzbyJLC10 View Post
Oliver was a street kitty that I took in... and two of the first things I purchased were a harness and leash... of course he didn't take to it well at first and initially HATED being taken outside (my thoughts are he thought I was gonna dump him out there to live again) but gradually he came around and now he actually BEGS at his leash and harness that are kept by the back door! He looks at them and mews to be taken out... a lot of times when we're eating on the deck, I harness him up, loop the leash through a post on the deck, and let him sit in the grass while we're eating... he loves to chomp on grass (even though I spend money on seeds to grow him oat grass inside that he eats all the time!), watch bugs, my dog, the neighbors dogs, etc... then after eating, I'll unloop the leash and he'll sometimes lead me around the yard... then he puts up a stink when I pick him up/nudge him towards the door when it's time to go inside... what a spoiled monster he is! haha

I also harness and leash him up whenever he goes in his crate to travel... there's a leash clip in the crate and when we travel by car, I HAVE to open the top of his crate or he turns into a devil spawn (the leash clip gives him only limited freedom)... he tends to stay in the crate on car trips, but I think he likes to not feel too confined
This sounds a lot like Danny's situation. He was an adult when he came to me (though it was from an unsuitable home rather than the streets). At first he didn't like it, and now we go out every day it doesn't rain!

BTW I love Oliver's picture. My parents have a big orange kitty named Oliver so I always love to see it!
post #13 of 14
I definately recommend the cat carrier way of taking cats outside. I.e never let them walk outside on their own, always put on the harness, leash, put cat in carrier, walk outside and put the carrier in the grass in the garden and open it.

I've always done that with Nikita and she doesn't try to bolt out the door even though she loves it outside. She might start meowing in front of her carrier and dart into it when I walk past being all: can I go out now? but that's much safer than door darting.

Anyway when cats are on a harness you don't really walk them you more just stand there while they go and sniff at the things they want to sniff and explore.

However for some cats (not all though) going outside is a vital part in keeping them mentally healthy. Our living environments are too static sometimes and the cats need to go out where there are ever changing sights, sounds and smells to get more stimulation.

I take my cat outside around 3 times a week so it's not as if I'm doing it all the time but it has definately improved her life a lot. I guess I'm lucky in how it has worked out for us.
post #14 of 14
good day all. I have taken my cats out for walk on a harness and leash. I started them on the training a week after I got them, and they are constantly in the harness 24/7. It is just too hard to get on and off all the time. They do like going for a walk outside, but only with me escorting them. All I have to do is head to the door, say come on, and they are there allowing the leash to go on.
My reasoning for doing the training though is for several reasons, I live on a busy street, and if they do wish to go outside, then they will only go out when on a leash. And if I am outside enjoying a nice summer evening, why cant they come out with me, on the leash of course. I also take them for walks outside around the building, and people love to see the cats outside, they get a kick out of it. Not too mention, I also take them occassionally to work and let the residents there enjoy a bit of pet therapy. The staff love it too. And my boss will only allow the pets in if they are on a leash.
Even though they do try to get out of the door a bit, all I usually have to say is no, and they stay inside. But if I hold the door open too long, sugar will go out of it, then head to the main front door and sit, waiting to get outside. lol. She does not go into the lounge, just heads to the controlled entry door, it is sooo funny to see.
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