Advice on Cat Walking

Perhaps I’ve already told you that Augustus likes to go walking on a leash. Perhaps you’ve lain awake at night wondering how I convinced a cat to accept a harness and leash. Well, your nights of sleeplessness are at an end.

You’ll want the following ingredients:

Harness

The best harness I’ve found yet is the Size Right harness by Coastal Pet. I’ve tried a couple and this one is easy to put on and really doesn’t seem to annoy Augustus at all. You can find this on Amazon or directly from Coastal Pet’s Web site.

Retractable Lead

Augustus doesn’t like a woven nylon leash because it actually weighs something and he feels like he’s restrained. However a retractable lead uses a thin nylon string which seems to weigh almost nothing (plus it’s longer). You can get a good 16’ long lead from PetsMart.

Of course, having all this equipment is great; but it won’t make your cat like walking on a leash. In the past, numerous people have weighed in with their advice on helping a cat acclimate to a harness: all of it turned out to be bunk. The least accurate was, “Put the harness on him while he’s in the house and let him wear it for a while to get comfortable with it.” I can tell you first hand, he’ll never grow comfortable wearing a harness. He’s a bloody cat and cat’s don’t wear harnesses.

The approach I took with Augustus was to put the harness on him, attach the leash, pick him up and carry him outside and plop him down in the middle of the lawn. Suddenly, he really wasn’t thinking about the harness or leash, because there were squirrels and birds that had his undivided attention. I did learn to play out all the string on the lead and lock it to give him the greatest feeling of freedom.

Now all is well: Augustus lays down when I grab the harness and leash and even rolls over to let me fasten the harness easier. I doubt he really likes either the harness or the leash; but he definitely likes what they allow him to do…