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Can I walk the cat?

post #1 of 7
Thread Starter 
I have used a harness on Dax before and she has taken well to it. I find it good when we go to the vet and I get there early - she can have a walk in the park outside or when we go on a trip to parents place she can come out of the travel carrier at rest stops and go for walkies. She has access to the garden during the day but there is a really nice forest nearby that I would like to take her for a walk there - I am just worried if anyone has heard about cats getting spooked and slipping out of their harnesses? I make sure it is fitted each time she wears it, and she doesnt seem too skittish, but I was just wondering what other people had to say...

(I know this idea wouldnt work with some cats, but Dax is very dog-like - probably the norwegian forest cat part of her)
post #2 of 7
Dax is so cute!

I haven't taken my cats out for some time now - my info may be out of date, but I can share my experience, and hopefully others here who walk their cats regularly can give you some tips.

It might be fun to take a trip to the woods as long as you're very careful, and take some precautions. A figure-8 or jacket harness is better for cats than a dog harness, which they can easily back out of.

I've taken Sylvestra out to a wooded park before in her figure-8 harness, and she loved it. I've also taken Felixia with me out to a park before, and she did well too. What I did for safety in both cases was to scout out the park to look for an area that was secluded and quiet, where it was unlikely that someone or something would come along and frighten the cat. I brought her in a her carrier with her harness on, attached her leash while she was still in the car, then carried her to the isolated spot in the closed carrier. When we got to the spot, I made sure she was calm & happy, then opened the carrier just enough to grasp the leash before unzipping the door all the way to let her out. I left the carrier open on the ground, so that if she got frightened she could head for it (a safe & secure known hiding place). And I watched her for any signs of fear so I could put her back in the carrier if she got frightened, before she became difficult to handle. Both cats are microchipped, and I also made sure they were wearing safety release collars with ID tags, just in case.

If Dax isn't used to a carrier yet, you'll probably want to get her comfortable with that first, so that if by any chance something did happen you'd know she would go into her carrier. Leaving the carrier out with the door open is a good start, and feeding her in it or giving her treats inside will help too.

Keep in mind that it's impossible to make any outdoors situation completely safe, but you can minimize the chances of problems if you prepare carefully.

Hope this helps
post #3 of 7
Jamie is the only cat I've ever leash-trained, and yes, he does manage to slip out of his harness occasionally. I've tried various types, including a "jacket", but he's a bit of a contortionist, and has managed to get out of all of them. Oddly enough, my experience has been different from tuxedokitties. I can forget about the figure-8 harnesses, because Jamie needs about 10 seconds to slip out of them. He does best with a dog harness, with the extra belly strap. I've also found that it's difficult to find figure-8 harnesses to fit him (he's 6 kg., and dad was a Norwegian Forest Cat, or possibly a Maine Coon). I used to walk him in the neighborhood, but I'm now restricting him to our backyard because of an "epidemic" of FIP in our town. I check the backyard for cat feces, remove them, and treat the area with bleach.
post #4 of 7
Thread Starter 
Thanks for your replies!

I have a *H* style harness - I was thinking of sewing an extra strap on the underside for protection. She has never slipped out of it but she has never really tried.

The carrier is a good suggestion, I might use it to take her up to the forest since it is a fairly short distance, but it is a slightly busy road to get there- I dont want her thinking she can head up there on her own from our garden.
We are visiting my partners parents tomorrow for two days - its Dax's holiday home, she really likes the place. Its a quiet house in the woods - lovely break for her from our small apartment.
post #5 of 7
Originally Posted by jcat
He does best with a dog harness, with the extra belly strap.
Tricia, do you have a picture of the dog harness you use for Jamie, or can you tell me the brand or style? I'd like to look for one like it for Mr. Underfoot. The reason I don't take him out is because he's too big for a cat harness too, and he backed right out of the dog harness I tried.

slitty_kittay, I hope you & Dax have a wonderful time.
post #6 of 7
I doubt you'll get in much walking. (If you've taken a cat out on a leash, you know what I mean)
post #7 of 7
Oliver has a harness and leash as well... it's mostly used when he's being finicky about his bath (which is rare) and when we travel (he has a soft-sided carrier that the leash gets attached to, but our drives aren't usually any shorter than 4 hours so he needs some room to roam in the car so he can get to his litter box)... anytime I try to actually walk him on it though, he doesn't go anywhere... I tried taking him outside on my parents' deck a few times but he just got really scared and wouldn't move... the only thing I can reason is that since he was a stray when I took him in, he may get scared that I'm going to leave him out there again...
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