How to Find the Best Harness for Your Cat
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It is not very common to see owners taking their cats for walks, but walking your cat can actually have a number of stimulating benefits for them, such as decreasing their boredom and burning off extra energy. Walking your cat outdoors requires a harness that fits them comfortably, keeps them relaxed while walking, and keeps them safe while moving around. Using the right harness, you and your four-legged friend can enjoy the great outdoors together without being in danger.
This AnimalWised article will explain how to choose the best harness for your cat and how to properly put it on so you can take your cat for walks.
What is the best harness for cats?
If you are considering taking you cat out for a walk, the first thing you need to do is make sure you buy the right harness. Keep in mind that, in the event that your cat gets scared or anxious, it is vital that it is wearing an appropriate harness so it doesn't take it off and run away. As a general rule, it is not advisable to walk your cat with a collar.Unlike dogs, cats have very thin throats and can easily suffocate if they wear collars. A harness ensures an even distribution of pressure, which makes it safer.
In addition, you must make sure to train your cat and get them used to wearing the harness before attempting to take them outdoors. As cats are incredibly active, flexible, and naturally curious, bringing them outdoors without proper training can be a disaster. They can get into trouble by escaping from tiny spaces and by getting too close to danger due to their curiosity. With the correct training, your cat can learn to feel safe and conformable while wearing the harness and exploring the outside world, allowing you and your feline friend to go on endless adventures together.
The first thing you need to know is that the locking mechanisms in a harness can vary greatly. Most locks are usually quite safe and will ensure that your cat does not take it off on its own. However, in order to choose the right lock for your cat, you should take other things into consideration besides its safety. Knowing your cat and anticipating their reactions will play a key role in determining which locking mechanism works best for them. For example, Velcro is a popular choice because they are easy to close, specially if your cat is hyperactive or likes to move around a lot. However, if you cat is particularly sensitive to noise, the Velcro could upset them.
Unlike dogs, it is rare for cats to ruin their harnesses, for instance, by biting them. Even so, it is still important to make sure the material is of a high quality and, therefore, resistant and durable. The most common and most affordable option is nylon. The harness must also be free of irritants, rubs, and protrusions that may dig into your cat's skin.
Cat harnesses usually come in different sizes, and they usually indicate the measurements. Thus, you must make sure you measure your cat so that the harness fits it comfortably without pinching or being too loose. As a rule of thumb, you should be able to place one finger between the harness and the cat's body. Fortunately, many harnesses can be adjusted to ensure a perfect fit.
You might also be interested in reading this article about what to do in case your cat goes missing.
Types of harness for cats
There are different types of harnesses in the market, but the most common formats are:
Step-in harness for cats
In order to use this type of cat harness, it is necessary to tuck your pet's front legs into it and close it at the upper body. This avoids you having to slide it over your head, which can be very uncomfortable for many cats. However, it is not the most secure harness, since if your cat tries to escape, it could slip its paws under the harness and remove it.
H-shaped harness for cats
This is one of the most basic models of cat harness. It consists of an H-shaped piece that wraps around the cat's front and back legs and closes with buckles along the back.
Vest style harness for cats
This is the safest option because it covers your cat's entire body and makes it difficult for them to remove it. Even so, it's not the most popular among cats. You need to slide the head to insert it and it can be quite bulky, so some cats have a hard time using it.
How to put the harness on my cat?
You probably won't be able to put the harness on your cat immediately, as there are very few chances that they will accept it right away. For our cat to accept the harness without seeing it as something negative, we must begin a learning process through which the harness becomes associated with something good.
First and foremost, you will need to be patient. If your rush and force the situation, your can end up rejecting the harness. Note that this learning process may last days or weeks, depending on the character and age of the cat. Generally, a small kitten is more tolerant and learns more quickly than an adult.
An effective way to introduce the harness to your cat is by gradually approaching the harness while providing some tasty prizes, such as wet food or malt. As the cat becomes more comfortable with it, you can caress it with the harness or leave it close by while you reward the cat.
After these first encounters, you should observe whether the cat shows no interest in the element or, on the contrary, seems to be uncomfortable around it. If the cat appears relaxed around the harness, you can try putting it on and see how they feel. Make sure the harness is not too tight on the first try.
Once your cat has been harnessed, you can praise, play with, and feed them to ensure that they forget they are wearing it. Finally, don't let them wear the harness for a long time, especially at the beginning. Is better to slowly increase the time they wear it depending on how conformable they feel.
To find more ways of ensuring your cat is happy, don't miss this article on how to make your cat happy and love you.
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- Clifford, S. (2011). Nine lieves, One leash . The New York Times. Available at: https://www.nytimes.com/2011/12/29/garden/training-a-cat-to-walk-on-a-leash.html
- Despain, C. (2015). What kind of harness does you cat need? ADVENTURECATS. Available at: https://www.adventurecats.org/gear-safety/what-to-do-if-your-cat-gets-away/