How to accustom a cat to the harness?

To get their cats out safely, owners sometimes use leashes and harnesses. While kittens usually tolerate them well, it’s not always easy with adult cats. Gradual getting used to the leash and harness is then necessary.

Many cats are city dwellers and live in apartments. Even if it is possible to make them happy by enriching their environment (cat trees, scratching posts, observation posts, multiple games, etc.), cats always enjoy going out. The external environment is much more stimulating for them.

Leash outings should only be considered if you have the ability to take your cat out in a quiet and safe place. If the place is too noisy, if there are a lot of cars, people, dogs, then it could stress him out a lot. We must not forget that cats are by nature fearfulthey are seen as prey for many dogs and outings can quickly become stressful for them. Especially if you take him out on a leash, because he won’t be able to run away and hide freely.

Sometimes owners prefer to take their cats out on a leash even if they live in a house, if they live next to a busy road for example. It can also be useful to attach your cat during transport by car, to allow it to get out of its transport cage a little safely during breaks.

It is important to choose a suitable harness: you must measure your neck circumference and chest circumference to choose the right size and prevent your cat from successfully removing the harness if panicked.

It is rare that cats immediately accept the leash and the harness. A getting used to leash and harness is usually required. This will be much easier in a kitten than in an adult cat.

Start by getting your cat used to the harness first. For this, you can give it a few minutes a day. If he remains calm, we advise you to praise and reward him (toys, treats, caresses) so that he associates the harness with something positive. You can gradually increase the time you leave him.

You can then try to tie him up: a few seconds at first, then a few minutes, etc. Don’t forget to congratulate him and reward him if he remains calm.

You can then leave your cat in your garden or in a quiet and secure place. You will gradually increase the time spent on walks.

Some cats will unfortunately never get used to the leash and harness and will be very stressed about being tied up and not being able to move freely.

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