Although leashes are generally regarded as a tool for walking dogs, more and more people seem to be taking their pet cats out for the day, decked out in a cat harness firmly attached to a leash. Their walking adventures with the cat are then posted on their social media accounts. Hence the trend is growing. But should you use a harness for your cat? The jury is out.
Why Do People Use Cat Harnesses?
According to the folk at Voyager Harness, a cat harness is ideal for those who want to take their cat out for some exercise but are worried for the safety of their pet. For example, if they live in the city the risk of the cat being hit by traffic will be higher. As such, having control over the cat will be crucial.
Other people want to take their pet out for the day but are worried that the cat may get lost in unfamiliar surroundings if it is allowed to roam freely.
Opinions are divided on the topic of whether a cat should be taken for a walk on a leash. While many cat owners believe it is the safest way to allow their pet out for exercise, many vets and animal charity experts say that cats should not be placed on a leash as the way in which they explore is quite different to dogs.
Some believe that cats can become very distressed when outside on a leash. This is because they do not have that sense of control, which is so important to them. Wearing a harness and being attached to a leash means that a cat will be unable to run away and hide when faced with things it finds frightening, such as dogs, loud noises, or other people. Cats instinctively run away when they are scared, with many climbing high to get away from whatever has alarmed them. If they are attached to a leash, there is a choking risk if they run or climb in a hurry.
Despite the concerns, there are many cats that can be walked safely on a leash. Responsible cat owners should decide for themselves if this is something they want to do with their pet. It is vitally important however that should a cat harness and leash be used that the cat is a willing participant. Some cats will simply not want to wear a harness no matter how hard you try.
The best way to get a cat used to a harness and leash is to introduce it while they are young. If your cat learns how to walk on a leash from a young age, it will be much less likely to become afraid when being taken on walks.
It is important to get the cat used to the harness, so you should begin training indoors. Before placing the harness on the cat for the first time, leave it somewhere where the cat can smell it and get used to it. That way, it is less likely to fear it.
When you fit the harness, make sure it fits comfortably. Then allow your cat to wear it about the house for a while before attaching the leash. You can leave the leash loose for a while as your pet pulls it about. This is another way to get used to it.
As you walk about the house with your cat on the leash, use treats to reward it. Continue to do this until you are both ready to hit the outdoors.