Cat Training Aids
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Training a Cat to wear a Harness and Walk on Lead
Your cat may need some time getting used to wearing a
harness, most cats do not like the feel of a harness first
thing. While some are more laid back about it, others will
scratch and bite at the harness at first.
The best thing to do to introduce the cat to wearing a
harness is put the harness onto the cat, keep it on for a
little while, and then take it off. Do this in a safe
setting like your home. Then every day increase the length
of time that your cat wears the harness until it is
comfortable wearing the harness for extended periods of
If you notice that your cat is excessively biting or
scratching the harness, take it off and run your hands over
the straps to see if there is anything that could be poking
into your cat's skin. You can also adjust the harness a
little loser so that your cat doesn't feel the harness so
close to the skin. Remember, a harness is not to be worn all
of the time, but only during training.
While doing harness training you should show extra attention
and affection to your cat. Give it special treats, praise it
and love it so that it knows that harness training is a good
thing and will accept it more quickly.
Once you have your cat acclimated to the harness you can try
attaching the lead. Once the lead is attached, hold the cat
on your lap and pet and praise the cat, giving it a little
of the lead. If it tries pulling away from you gently pull
it back and do not let the tension off of the lead until
your cat calms down and will sit in your lap without fuss.
Do this repeatedly over a period of days, gradually
increasing the time.
Once the cat will tolerate the leash, work on walking the
cat around the house. Try giving it a snack or a new toy to
distract it from the confinement of the leash. Once that
works, take the cat outside. At first, especially if the cat
has never been outside, just set it down and let it take in
and adjust to the new sights and smells without trying to
lead it anywhere. Hopefully your cat will confidently begin
to explore its new environment and you can at first simply
follow on the end of the leash.
Take your time and always give the cat time to adjust to
whatever new thing you are presenting. If you play your
cards right and you are patient you will end up with a well
behaved cat that walks with a harness and lead.
Remember to put the harness onto the cat and clip the lead
to the harness and loop the end of the lead around your
wrist and through your hand before going out the door of
your home, so that if something startles the cat it can't
run away into danger.
When you first take your cat outside is should be for a
short stroll around your yard. Depending on your cat's
personality it may be overly excited about the great
outdoors and want to fly off and investigate everything, or
it may be terrified of all that wide open sky and panic. So
at first keep the cat on a short lead and give it time to
calm down and adjust to all the new smells and sights.
If you live in a city with a lot of parks and you don't have
a yard, taking your cat to one of these parks with walking
trails and trees is a good idea for your first time outside.
Cats that have lived inside all of their lives often do not
feel comfortable out where there isn't something overhead,
and trees may help. Also, the noise and strangers of a city
street may be too overwhelming for your kitty and if it is a
timid cat, could make it phobic about going outside.
Trees provide adequate cover for them to feel better about
being outside. Open air above their heads makes them real
anxious. You should hold your pet until you feel you have
found an adequate area to try walking your cat.
Never let your pet down when there are other pets around.
This is asking for trouble since cats are territorial even
if they aren't as known for that as dogs. If your cat looks
stressed out remember to praise, pet and reward it for
cooperating with you. Remember keep these periods outside
short until the cat become used to being outside on a
harness and lead.
Over time you may have to replace the harness because the
straps get frayed. You can buy a harness made of leather
that will not fray as badly as one made from woven cloth or
plastic. You should replace your cat's harness when you feel
that the straps are giving more than they should. You can
test this by pulling on a side that isn't frayed and then
pulling on the part that is. If the frayed part gives more
than the non-frayed part you should replace the harness
soon. Remember to re-measure your cat before going out to
buy another harness.
Never allow your cat to wear a harness unsupervised in your
home. Cats can get easily hung up on things wearing a
harness, although harnesses are safer than regular collars.
A collar that gets hung up can choke your cat, sometimes to
death. If you want to keep a collar on your cat for
identification purposes, you should always use a collar that
is breakaway so that, should your cat get hung up, it will
unclip and allow your cat to get loose
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