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Funny reaction to leash!

post #1 of 20
Thread Starter 
Reaction to the harness that is. I need opinions on couple of things regarding the leash/harness.

First, Ferdinand is 2 years old. Might be too late for this but you ever know. We got him from SPCA in August. He's an adorable tomcat but is skiddish by nature.
We live in an apartment but I really would not mind if we could take him out sometime. He's my first indoor only cat, my cats were always been at least partly outdoor.

Anyway, we bought a harness and a little leash today. He tends to calm down when you restrain him(he's great during vet exams) which is really helpful when performing tasks like putting a collar on.
So, we went to put it on, took us a while but had no problems when it came to Ferdinand wanting to run away or anything. Once the harness was on, I made sure it's not too tight, I left it quite loose.
But Ferdinand's reaction to the harness was really weird!!

He would not walk at all(this is harness only, no leash at all), not far anyway! He purred and purred and would walk for like 4 feet then roll on his side as in being pet. He seemed funny about it but I would not describe it as being scared or alert, just kinda docile. And with that harness on, we could hold him as long as we wanted, and he usually does not like it past 30 seconds or so.
I left him like that for few minutes, then felt bad about it and decided it's enough for now so I took it off and he went back to his old self.

My questions are, any input what goes on in his head while doing this? It's strange...

And my second question is, do you think it's possible to get him leash-trained enough I could take him out a bit sometime?

Thanks for input!

Ferdinand:
post #2 of 20
I'm not sure if you will be able to get him to walk with the harness, but I would keep trying - giving treats etc. Just get him used to it for quite a while before you start the leash.

On the other hand, my vet tech's cat goes totally limp when placed in a harness. She takes advantage of this to clip his nails, LOL
post #3 of 20
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by kluchetta View Post
I'm not sure if you will be able to get him to walk with the harness, but I would keep trying - giving treats etc. Just get him used to it for quite a while before you start the leash.

On the other hand, my vet tech's cat goes totally limp when placed in a harness. She takes advantage of this to clip his nails, LOL
So, Ferdinand is not alone then!
I might do the same thing about the nails. The way I do it right now is catch him a bit off guard when he's asleep.
post #4 of 20
He's not too old to be trained, three of my sisters boys were over 5 when we trained them.

Some of them still do the army crawl when they are inside, but soon as they're out they forget about the harness and start walking around.

My own kittens were young and they all took to it right away, I as lucky
post #5 of 20
yea, this not uncommon.

treats go a long way to harness training the kitties though
post #6 of 20
my cats did the same thing when we got them harnesses. It just took a little time for them to get used to it. I think that it probably feels funny to them to have something behind their front legs/shoulders. that seems to be what bothers mine the most.
post #7 of 20
The first few times I put a harness on Junior, he would walk backwards and to the left until he reached a corner, where he would just lay down until I removed the harness. Now when I put it on he acts normally other than occasionally dropping down and rolling over. I used it to take him to the vet the other day to get his nails trimmed (he's way too skittish for me to do it myself) and had the vet make sure the harness was adjusted right and she said it was. I plan to keep working with him in the hopes that by spring I'll be able to take him outside for walks.

Mez

PS - Ferdinand looks almost identical to Junior except he's a little wider than Junior is.
post #8 of 20
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by mezlo View Post
The first few times I put a harness on Junior, he would walk backwards and to the left until he reached a corner, where he would just lay down until I removed the harness. Now when I put it on he acts normally other than occasionally dropping down and rolling over. I used it to take him to the vet the other day to get his nails trimmed (he's way too skittish for me to do it myself) and had the vet make sure the harness was adjusted right and she said it was. I plan to keep working with him in the hopes that by spring I'll be able to take him outside for walks.

Mez

PS - Ferdinand looks almost identical to Junior except he's a little wider than Junior is.
Thanks guys! So, definitely not uncommon. I will keep trying!
And yes, it's the shoulder part he reacts to because the collar does not bug him.
And, by the way, how tight should the harness be?
post #9 of 20
as tight as you can get it without it being uncomfortable for kitty, I would say.
kitties can wiggle out pretty easily when they get spooked, even if you think the harness is secure
post #10 of 20
Don't I know it!! Poor Baby got scared and wiggled out of it on her second outing--thankfully I was able to call her back over; and she stayed still and let me come get her. Talk about your ginormous sigh of relief!
post #11 of 20
Quote:
Originally Posted by Batan View Post
And, by the way, how tight should the harness be?
That probably depends on the size of the cat but for Junior the vet said that when I lift up on the harness I should only be able to get 2 fingers under the collar loop and 1 finger under the chest loop. Other than that probably what saya said.

Mez
post #12 of 20
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by mezlo View Post
That probably depends on the size of the cat but for Junior the vet said that when I lift up on the harness I should only be able to get 2 fingers under the collar loop and 1 finger under the chest loop. Other than that probably what saya said.

Mez
Ok, that makes sense. Thanks.
post #13 of 20
Yeah, that behavior is pretty common. Both my cat and my last cat would flop down on their sides and refuse to move when a harness was put on them... Then if you left it on long enough that they decided they needed to move, they'd move in a crouch and then flop down again... I've had much better luck with harnesses and kittens than adult cats!
post #14 of 20
It shouldn't be too late. I bought harnesses a few months ago for my two ten year olds and trained them without much trouble. Of course, the only "training" involved was really just getting them to tolerate the harness. Once they realized that wearing a harness & leash allows them to go outside, they were willing to do it.

Both of mine acted odd at first, too. One did the flopping and crawling/crouching that seems to be most common; the other jumped straight up in the air as soon as I set her down. I think she was trying to get out of it.
That didn't last long, though.
post #15 of 20
Look at that sweet face! I Ferdinand.
post #16 of 20
Thread Starter 
This whole thing cracks me up, I did not know cats react like that to harness. I think I will steal that "use the harness to cut nails" idea.


Quote:
Originally Posted by Pami View Post
Look at that sweet face! I Ferdinand.
Yeah, he's a looker.

I've posted this one before but here it goes again:
post #17 of 20
Cleo didn't do the rolling about, but as soon as it was on her she'd crouch down onto the ground and barely move. I tried with Charlie to just hold onto his collar gently and let him sniff around the back porch to see wht he'd do, he did the same thing!


They are not puppies
post #18 of 20
Quote:
Originally Posted by Batan View Post


Yeah, he's a looker.

I've posted this one before but here it goes again:
He looks like Helen's (Bella713) Lil Joe Gibbs.
post #19 of 20
He sure is handsome! No comment about the leash training though! I'm always too scared mine would break loose!
post #20 of 20
All the comments were great--my kitten is about 4 months old and I am striving to harness train him (haven't put much effort in as I have two weeks until college graduation and things have been busy). I really hope he takes to it so we can go outside on occasion.

Leslie
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