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Cats using a harness?

post #1 of 14
Thread Starter 
Our cat Tubee wants to get outside very badly, but we don't want him to go outside because of the risks. We have a enclosed porch that he is glad to be on, but he still wants to get outside.
I was wondering what everyone on this site thought about a cat going outside on a harness every once and a while. I think he would enjoy it, but I don't know much about bringing a cat outside. So I have a few questions before I try:

1 Do you think its a good idea?

2 Is there anything important I should know before doing this.

3 Do most cats enjoy going out on a harness?

Thanks for any answers, I haven't decided if I should try it or not yet.

Manda
post #2 of 14
All of my kitties are indoors only....but i take them outside on their harness/leash for regular walks in their little garden i planted for them (catnip and catgrass) they LOVE it!!! I see nothing wrong with it as long as they are current on vaccinations and on flea/tick prevenative monthly. I also think they should wear proper fitting collars/id tags on them just in case!!!

Mine walk on their leash/harness better than most dogs If you're going to get a harness to walk them- try getting them acclimated to the harness a bit so they don't freak out - put it on them in the house for about 2-3 minutes at a time several times a day for a week and get them used to the feel of the harness. It will be easier to take them outside if you do this. When i'm teaching a new kitty to walk on a harness- the first time i put it on them, i give them soft food after putting the harness on them- it distracts them from trying to scratch it off- and in the few mintues it takes for them to eat the food- they will be more comfortable wearing the harness

I recommend this style- it's easier to use than some of the other harnesses out there! It also has a clip on the back for the leash! This isn't the one i have (the one i have i got from petsmart- but i don't see it on the site- i think it was "whisker city" - it's black and silver and VERY sturdy

http://www.petsmart.com/global/produ...N=2032961&Ne=2

I would avoid ones like these because they're complicated to get on them and not as secure in my opinion as some of the other ones http://www.petco.com/product/2059/Fo...d-Harness.aspx
post #3 of 14
I think It's a good idea if you have a calm cat!
Pickle panicked at first but soon got used to it.

All I can say is: Some cat like it and some don't. It's down to their personal choice!!!
I don't think it hurts them...
post #4 of 14
Thread Starter 
The one in the second link is like the harness I used for our lizard, and I agree that it is not very trust able, It is easy to get out of, and gets tighter around their necks when they pull to hard. Thanks so much, I think I might try bringing him out, I like the wet food idea. Thanks again.

Manda
post #5 of 14
We take Spud out on a harness and leash occasionally. He loves it, he comes running when he sees his harness. We don't "walk" him, just let him stroll around, eat some grass, and of course roll in the dirt. He's a very mellow cat.
Siam does somersaults when we try to put a harness or a collar on him.
He does NOT like the outdoors at all, he's a scaredy cat, but that is just fine with me. I never have to worry about him trying to get out, he runs in the opposite direction of an open door!
post #6 of 14
Quote:
Originally Posted by proudmomof3cats View Post
The one in the second link is like the harness I used for our lizard, and I agree that it is not very trust able, It is easy to get out of, and gets tighter around their necks when they pull to hard. Thanks so much, I think I might try bringing him out, I like the wet food idea. Thanks again.

Manda
No problem!!!!

By the way, I used to use a harness similar to this one (it's made for small pets) on our green Iguana when we had him. He LOVED it! The mesh is also really gentle and won't hurt them. You could probably find one of this style for your kitty too! These are great too!
http://www.petsmart.com/global/produ...N=2047894&Ne=2
post #7 of 14
I'll move this to care and grooming
post #8 of 14
I have 2 sorts of harnesses - one is a figure 8 style as modelled by the beautiful Stumpy below:



And one is like the first style posted by StarryEyedTiger. I rarely use the figure 8 one now, as it feels nowhere near as secure, the other style is much better.

We start our girls off by just putting the harness on them inside just before dinner, and then play with them for a while wearing it, then feed them with it on. We do that as much as needed until they seem to be fairly used to the harness itself.

Then I clip the leash on when it's nice and quiet outside, and carry them to a quiet spot and let them start to explore.

One of my girls is too much of a scaredy cat to let outside on the leash, one of them loves playing outside, but seems to have a grass/pollen allergy and her eyes stream like mad once we're back in, and she doesn't really try to get outside at all. Our third kitty loves going outside to chew the grass, so I take her out once or twice a day. She knows where the closest grassy patch is, so I don't even bother with a harness anymore. I let her out, she goes straight to her grass, chews for a while, then heads back toward the house. I only use the harness if I'm going to let her play outside for longer.

So yes, it's definitely a great idea - if nothing else so they get to learn their surroundings, so if they get out, they know where home is.
post #9 of 14
Quote:
Originally Posted by Princess-Pickle View Post
I think It's a good idea if you have a calm cat!
Pickle panicked at first but soon got used to it.

All I can say is: Some cat like it and some don't. It's down to their personal choice!!!
I don't think it hurts them...
Petunia loves walking around the lake in her harness and leash. Barkley on the other hand is too rambunctious and wont allow you to come near him with it.
post #10 of 14
It's a fabulous idea!!

My boys love going outside in the grass, They love the pine straw around the trees even better. I can only take mine out at night tho as it is SOOO hot (in the 100's for the last 3 weeks) outside in the day. Even at night I can only take them out for 20 minutes or so before they start panting.

Of course "Chase the ant" is a great sport too

I use the "H" style harness' from Petco, Even my boys being kittens, they fit very well. It even held Winston when he freaked out because someone turned a hose on.

Someone else said their cats went running when the harness was shown ... same here! I hide them in the day or I get pestered and pestered lol.

Of course kitty will freak out the first time the harness is put on because it's a restriction on the body and they have no clue what it is. As soon as they realise it isn't going to cause harm and it comes with good times, they love it!

I rub the boys with catnip lol and make sure I have lots of treats with me.
post #11 of 14
It takes a while, and a lot of patience, but they all loved going outside and enjoying the fresh air and the smells, sounds. After being stuck inside for the long winter months, it really seems to perk them up when spring comes and their world gets larger and more interesting. Hope you give it a try. I have a small website about my personal experience harness and leash training cats and some tips to get started and keeping them safe.
post #12 of 14
Thread Starter 
Thanks so much for all the advice, I am going to go and buy a harness in a couple days. Also thanks for moving this for me, I didn't exactly know where to put it. I am definitely going to try bringing him out some time.

Manda
post #13 of 14
Also one good tip is to have the go outside routine be:

1. Put harness on cat
2. Put cat in cat carrier
3. Carry cat carrier outside
4. Put carrier down in a nice spot in the garden
5. Open door and wait for cat to go out into the garden on their own time

This does a few things, first of all the cat has a "safe" base outside if they're scared. Secondly it stops the cat associating the door too much with the outside and lessens the risk of the cat becoming a door darter and trying to get outside on their own and thirdly it makes vet trips easier because the cat is used to being taken in the carrier all the time.

For this to really work it's best to have the carrier out and open all the time, with a blanket in so the cat is used to it (I did that with mine and now Nikita sleeps in it all the time if she wants some peace and quiet)

As for harnesses I use an H harness on Nikita and it goes really well. She's once gotten really scared and bolted but it held so I'm not too worried about her getting out of it.
post #14 of 14
Hey all.

I was going to post a question about cat harnesses a lot of my questions have been answered by you lovely people. I DO have a couple of other questions though.

We have two indoor cats, Sooty is just over a year and Courgette is four months. Sooty has always been an indoor cat and Courgette has been an indoor cat since we got her, when she was 9 weeks or so. We live on the second floor in a London city flat. We live on a main road and can't entertain the idea of letting them out, even if we or they wanted to. To be honest apart from the usual staring out the window they've never shown a huge interest in going out anyway.

Do you think we should try taking our little cats out? Sooty is quite quiet and likes being cuddled, while Courgette is much more lively and rawkus. I've a feeling Courgette will like the outdoors better...

Our front door leads straight on to the street, but we have a nature reserve round the corner. It'll probably be a bit too stressful to walk the cats there so we'll probably have to take the cat box.

I suppose my main question is... should we even bother? Will the taste of the outdoors re-awaken the cats' wanderlust?

thanks!
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