Chapter 12: Harness and leash for your kitten

You are enjoying spending time with your kitten, playing with him and having fun together. He had done all the vaccination and now it’s Spring and you are wondering…Can I bring my cat outside for a walk? Which is the best and safest way to bring him out to explore the outside world? Do I need to training him to go out for a walk?

Well, when we got Otto, after he had all his vaccinations, we started thinking if we could be able to bring him out for a walk to take some fresh air and explore the world.

So we decided to get as much infromation from the web and from friends who have a cat and are used to go out for a walk with their cats.

Thanks to that, we discovered that of course you can bring your cat outside but there are two main factors to consider:

  • Age: If you are really committed to bring your cat for a leash walking, it’s very important to start introducing him to it since he is young. In this way, it will be easier to train your kitty and make it part of his routine.  This doesn’t mean that you can’t train an older cat but it might take a longer time and more patience.

  • Cat personality: Consider your cat personality. If your cat is adventurous and shows an interest in going outside as he’s looking often outside of the window or he’s bored inside the house because he lives in a small apartment and tries to escape from the main door every single time you come back home, he will probably enjoy go outside for a walk and some fresh air. If instead your cat enjoys spend time sleeping or on the sofa next to you and he is not interested at all on what’s going on outside, probably he won’t like to go outside for a walk!

So, if your cat doesn’t like to cat leash walking, this means he doesn’t want to walk on a leash and that’s absolutely fine! Instead just provide him plenty options for indoor entertainement and let him explore every single corner of the house and he will be super happy!

Once you have understood if your cat can enjoy going for a walk outside, you have to pick the device you will use. You can choose two types:

  • Collar: it sits on your kitty’s neck and when it is attached to a leash, the pressure will go on your kitty neck with the chance of choking him. Also it’s not safe to use a collar to go for a walk with your fur baby because he can easily slip out of it!

  • Harness: It sits on his shoulders, under the tummy and distributes the pressure across so it doesn’t choke your kitty.  It’s the safest option to pick because it prevents your kitty to slip out of it and it’s the best for training him to enjoy going for a walk!

When we decide to try trining Otto to bring him out for a walk, we opted to use a harness with leash because it was the saftest option. We love Otto so much and we want to keep him safe and have a heathly and happy life. So we had a look around and we found a really good harness on amazon (https://www.amazon.co.uk/gp/product/B088FCXYXW/ref=ppx_yo_dt_b_asin_title_o02_s00?ie=UTF8&psc=1).

It’s really good quality and it comes with a leash. It’s comfortable and safe, breathable & lightweight. It’s easy to put on and you can adjust the size to your kitty to fit him properly. Plus, it has a reflective design that makes yor fur baby visible in low light conditions!

After we received the harness, we started training Otto and the fun began!

At first, we just introduced it to him and we left him smell it, play with it so he could familiarze with it. After a while we start to touch him with the harness and we gave him a treat every single time he was doing it as positive reinforce. When he was comfortable with it, we started to let him wear it, initially for short period of time and then increasing slowing the time he was wearing.

When he was happy and comfortbale wearing it, we attached the leash and we let him play, walk and run with it attached to the harness in the house on his own. After a while, we took the next step: I took the leash in my hand and I just let Otto go anywere he wanted to go, exploring the house.

When he was fine with me holding the leash, we started to guide him where to go inside the flat. I have to say that this took a bit of time and a lot of patience but don’t forget that Otto is a kitten and not a puppy! And it will be totally worth it!

When he was use to be guided by me, we started to bring him out little by litte. Initially we just stayed for a short period of time outside just to take it easy and don’t stresst Otto too much.

Day by day he started exploring the communal corridor of the bulding where we live. Few day after he climbed down the stairs and then we finally managed to arrive at the ground floor. After a while he explored the inside of the bulding, one day we decided to open the main door to see if Otto would go out in the communal garden and suprise…. he was so curious that step by step he went outside to explore the garden!!!

We couldn’t believe to our eyes!!!

When you decide to train your cat there are some step to follow to make the cat leash walking the best experience for your kitty:

  1. Get him used to wearing the harness indoors.
  2. Get himt used to walking on the leash indoors without guide.
  3. Get him used to be guided indoor.
  4. Walk him indoors.
  5. Go Outside!

Also, these are some tips and advice from my personal experience that can help you when you are training your cat:

  1. Just proceed step by step and let your cat take his time to get comfortable to the harness and leash. The more time you give your cat to adjust to every new step, the easier everything that follows will be.
  2. Always give your kitty treat when he accomplishes a goal during the training as a positive reinforce, so your cat will think that he is doing a good thing
  3. Be patient: remember this is a new experience for your furry friend and yourself
  4. Build trust with your kitty going often in familiar places and for short outings, and let your cat lead the way.
  5. Incorporates the walking into your cat’s daily routine since he’s young. It will become  familiar to them, it will be a life-long habit form and your kitty will be so happy to explore the world and sharing the experience with you!

Since Otto explored the ouside world for the first time, he always enjoys going for a walk! Every single time we are ready to go outside, as soon he hears the door opening, he becaomes so excited and starts to meowing loud because he wants to go out! We couldn’t be more lucky to have such and adventurous kitten and we love him so much!

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