How To Harness Train A Cat

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If you want to take your cat outside for some fresh air and exercise, but you don’t want to risk losing them or exposing them to dangers, harness training might be a good option for you. Harness training is a process of teaching your cat to wear a harness and leash and walk with you outside. It can be a fun and rewarding experience for both you and your cat, but it requires patience, consistency and positive reinforcement.

Here are some steps to follow if you want to harness train a cat:

1. Choose the right harness and leash for your cat. You want a harness that fits snugly but comfortably on your cat’s body, without restricting their movement or breathing. Avoid collars, as they can choke or injure your cat if they pull or get tangled. You also want a leash that is lightweight and flexible, not too long or too short. A retractable leash is not recommended, as it can snap back and scare your cat.

2. Introduce the harness and leash to your cat gradually. Don’t just put them on your cat and expect them to be happy about it. Start by letting your cat sniff and explore the harness and leash in a safe and familiar environment, such as your living room. Reward your cat with treats and praise whenever they show interest or curiosity in the harness and leash. You can also try rubbing some catnip on the harness and leash to make them more appealing.

3. Put the harness on your cat without attaching the leash. Once your cat is comfortable with the harness and leash being around, you can try putting the harness on your cat for short periods of time. Make sure you adjust the straps so that they fit properly on your cat’s body. You should be able to fit two fingers between the harness and your cat’s skin, but not more than that. Reward your cat with treats and praise whenever they tolerate wearing the harness. Don’t force your cat to wear the harness if they resist or show signs of stress, such as hissing, scratching or hiding.

4. Attach the leash to the harness and let your cat drag it around. After your cat is used to wearing the harness, you can attach the leash to it and let your cat drag it around the house. This will help your cat get used to the feeling of having something attached to their body. Again, reward your cat with treats and praise whenever they accept the leash. Don’t pull or tug on the leash, as this can frighten or annoy your cat.

5. Pick up the leash and follow your cat’s lead. The next step is to pick up the leash and follow your cat’s lead as they walk around the house. Don’t try to direct or control your cat’s movements, just let them explore at their own pace and comfort level. You can gently guide them away from potential hazards or distractions, such as wires, plants or other pets, but don’t force them to go where they don’t want to go. Reward your cat with treats and praise whenever they walk calmly and confidently with you.

6. Take your cat outside in a safe and quiet area. Once your cat is comfortable walking with you indoors, you can try taking them outside in a safe and quiet area, such as your backyard or a park. Choose a time when there are few people or animals around, as they can be scary or stressful for your cat. Start by letting your cat explore a small area near your door, then gradually expand their territory as they become more confident. Always keep an eye on your cat and be ready to pick them up if they panic or encounter danger.

7. Enjoy walking with your cat outside! Harness training can take weeks or months depending on your cat’s personality and temperament, so don’t rush or pressure them into doing something they don’t like. Remember that some cats may never enjoy walking outside, while others may love it. The most important thing is to respect your cat’s preferences and make sure they are safe and happy.

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