Fitting and using a harness for the first time.© L Twyman
The most important aspect of the harness is to make the harness acceptable to the felines. The MOST IMPORTANT thing for YOU to do is to place the handle of the lead onto your wrist and hold the lead along the length - if there is ever a time when something is going to spook your cat - this maybe a dog coming along or someone making a loud noise etc - cats can and do bolt and if the handle of the lead is held by just your fingers it is not very secure, you will end up with no lead and no Cat!
Many people make the mistake of putting the harness on the cat/kitten and allowing them to wear it inside the home for given lengths of time in order to allow the cat to become accustomed to it - much the same idea as one has with puppies. The first thing a puppy does when a collar is fitted is walk backwards and or roll over and or scratch their necks and this can go on for hours - this is not the way to treat a cat as it leaves a negative impression.
It is important the cats have a positive affect of the harness and lead right from the start. We recommend you fit the harness then immediately carry the cat/kitten over the threshold to the great outdoors - the noises and smells etc act as a good distraction to the new feeling they have with a harness on the body. We say carry the cat/kitten over the threshold for a very good reason. Once a cat had learned to walk across it themselves they are more likely to bolt out of the door when it is opened. Always carry them out and I find the great majority of cats never show much of an inclination to race out of the door!.
They may well lay on their side once or twice or have a scratch here and there but most of the time they are quite happy to have a walk around and investigate the new exciting environment. NEVER pull the cat on a harness - us slaves walk with the cats, unlike dogs we walk them the way we wish to go. Should a cat or kitten want to go behind a bush or somewhere you are not comfortable following then just keep the lead taught - don't be tempted to tug it - with a taught lead the cat will still try to pull a few times as they have already decided where they are going :-) , but after a few failed attempts because the lead is taught they give up and go a different direction.
Should the cat or kitten be nervous of the big wide world outside when you first try taking them out - it is a good idea to have a few of their favorite treats with you and gently coax them along - they soon become used to it and enjoy their time outside.
Soon after a few trips outside you may find (if the cat knows where you keep their harness) they may ask you when they want to go out. Most of mine tap the kitchen drawer when they want to go for a walk - and when I return after a walk the rest are queued waiting for their turn :-)
Please note: We do NOT recommend cats are walked in busy urban areas with traffic and dogs etc around - this kind of stimuli is frightening so please be sensible.
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