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How I've walked 10 cats safely for years.

post #1 of 3
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Hi, I've had 10 cats (over many years) and all get to walk outside safely. How I do it is to buy the kind of leash in pet stores called 4-point-harness(es) which means that the leash doesn't just go around the neck (which can choke a struggling cat, or allow it to slide out easily), but there is a little (2" long) piece that comes from the neck collar along their backs to another 'collar' that goes around them behind their front legs, giving you more control, and the cat more safety. It's a very good idea to fit the harness (small & light) on the cat (without the leash part) when it's young and let it walk around the house a bit for a couple of days to get used to wearing it. Make sure it fits not too loosely so it won't get hooked on things, but not so tight it chokes! Then take your cat outside and be prepared first for the cat to do crazy somersaults, etc. wanting to escape, but just be sure it's not tangled (one leg in or out of the harness), and allow it to explore it's environment slowly... it will be quite wary I think, and gradually encourage it to walk with you... though it probably will want to sit, or catch bugs, and hide in bushes, etc. and sniff everything. It's not like walking dogs, but over time they get the point and can appreciate being outside. Pick it up fast and turn away if a dog is around, or it may go crazy with fear and escape the harness (it's possible). If your cats are basically happy though, indoors, you might just want to keep it that way, or you could end up a cat-walking slave :-)!
post #2 of 3
This harness is also called an "H-type" harness. I use them; I think they're better than the "figure-8" harness, although cats CAN get out of the H harness. It has to be really, really tight, and they can still get out if they pull backward and squirm very hard. So always supervise. The way to keep them from getting out is to pull from the back, never from the front.
post #3 of 3
Bijou and Mika both have the H type harness and they are both allowed out under supervision. We have a long light rope for Bijou and a small dog leash (the type that you can reel in) for Mika. Bijou's rope is tied to a tree and he can go the length of the yard and usually he and Mika will just sit in the grass or at the bottom of the tree looking up at the birds or squirrels.

When they've had enough they will come to the door to be let back in. They are also trained to know that if they want to go outside they have to have the harness on and will sit nicely while we put them on.
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