Harness Training: Step One of Adventure Cat-ting!

Updated: Mar 10

Disclaimer: There are plenty of great videos online about how to properly train your cat or kitten to use a harness. So this blog post will only speak to our experiences harness training.



Regardless of whether you want to be an Adventure Cat or not, harness training is a skill for all cats, particularly for safety reasons especially when outside the home. However, harness training may not be easy for all felines. While it is a skill best introduced during the kitten stage, cats of all ages can learn to wear a harness. And depending on the age of the cat, harness training can take a few days or even weeks or months.


We began harness training soon after we arrived at our new home. We were around five months old. Because our parents put our harnesses around our bedding and food dish from day one - and gave us treats when we sniffed or showed any interest in the harnesses - we were quickly conditioned to associate the harness with only positive vibes. At the beginning, our parents would drape the harness over us while we ate our food. Soon we wore them while we ate! As a result of this conditioning, we could soon wear the harness for an hour or so within a few days of us arriving home.


At first, we stayed in the house and our parents would let us “walk” around using the leash. Since we are food-motivated cats, our parents realized that “Churu” cat treats were our treat of choice. They would put the treats in front of us, which really motivated us to walk forward. At first, we when we walked forward on the leash, we were rewarded for every step! (We went through a lot of Churus!)

Soon after, when we got comfortable in the house, we transitioned to walking around the enclosed outside patio. Finally, when we were very comfortable – that is, could put on the harness with relative ease (and not fight or "pancake") and also walk easily on leash – we went out for our first walk in our backyard and front yard. To complement our leash training, our parents also took us outside for walks in our backpack and stroller and even for car rides. (We are always harnessed.)


Overall, the time when we first put on the harness to our first “real” walk on harness and leash was approximately three weeks.





Our Gear of Choice

These are our staples for almost all our adventures.


Harness and Leash

We love using the RC Pets Adventure Kitty harness and leash set. This is a vest or “butterfly”-style harness. We love the fact that it’s made of a light, breathable mesh material. This harness is easy to put it on and the newest models don’t require the neck strap to go over our heads. Bonus! And while no harness is 100 per cent escape-proof, it keeps us secure if we suddenly burst out running to try to grab a pesky squirrel!


Backpack

Since we are a larger breed, we like the “Fat Cat” Backpack by Your Cat Backpack. It's roomy and looks super cool with the bubble that we can stick our heads in. This backpack comes with two side pockets to put treats or water bottles in. We like the fact that this backpack comes with a chest strap that helps to distribute the weight. It also has a clip to attach our harness inside. For us, this backpack has become our refuge if we feel scared and what we use in the car.


Stroller

We love the Petique All Terrain Pet Jogger. It’s a great size for two cats and has attachments for harnesses. This stroller folds down easily and provides a smooth ride and easy maneuverability.


Ask your questions and leave your comments down below. Be sure to follow us on our adventures!



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