Use a Harness on Your Cat for Safety, Exercise and Fun!

This is the time of year when your cat may be interested in going outside. Believe it or not, your cat can adapt to using a harness and leash. It just takes some time, patience and practice. You can teach your cat how to use a harness or leash and take your cat for a walk!

Cat trainer and breeder, Lisa Maria Padilla demonstrates how to harness your cat with a Sturdi Harness.

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Photo: Larry Johnson

Be sure to discuss with your vet ahead of time your intention and ask how to properly protect your cat from fleas and ticks.

Below are some tips for you to consider in using a harness and leash:

1. Purchase a harness like the Sturdi harness that is made specially for cats.

2. Leave the harness laying around so that your cat gets used to it and let your cat sniff the harness and get used to it.

3. Use treats to encourage your cat the entire time you are trying the harness on your cat. If your cat objects, don’t get discouraged, just take the harness off and try again another day. Be sure you have two fingers between the harness and your cat’s body.

4. If your cat is agreeable to the harness, let him sit with the harness on wait a bit before you use the leash. Observe your cat to see how relaxed he is and that should give you a guide as to how to proceed.

5. When you attach the leash, follow the same procedure and monitor your cat’s comfort level. You can let the leash drag on the floor until you see that your cat is comfortable. Practice using the harness and leash indoors until you and your cat are comfortable. Keep the leash loose to give your cat room to move, speak in a soothing voice and give him treats to let him know he is doing a good job.

6. Apply gentle but firm pressure. Be sure not to jerk or drag the leash.

7. Once you decide to venture outdoors, take your cat to a quiet spot and sit with him while your cat roams around with you holding the leash.

8. Repeat this process until you and your cat are comfortable. Allow him to explore his surroundings with you following behind with the leash. You will get an idea as to when a good time is to venture further with your cat.

For some inspiration, check out the adventures of “Fish and Chips”, 2 kitties who LOVE going on outdoor trips with their humans!

Catios

sept21Catios – short for Cat Patios – are one of the latest home trends.

Catios are a great way to give your feline friends some fresh air and time in the outdoors, while keeping them safe from harm.  They’re also a great way to keep the wildlife and birds safe from being hunted by your kitty while outside.

Several companies have started offering catios commercially (for example, “Catio Spaces” in Seattle, WA), but if you’re handy, it’s a great DIY project as well.  You can find plans available for sale (for example, at Catio Spaces – https://www.catiospaces.com/diy-catio-plans-overview.html), or on various blogs (for example https://catioblog.wordpress.com/2016/07/10/portable-catio-idea/)

Some communities have gotten into the spirit and put together home tours featuring catios, such as the partnership between the Feral Cat Coalition of Oregon and the Portland Audobon Society, which featured a tour on Sept 10 of Portland, OR area home catios.

To help you get started, as part of the September “Happy Cat Month”, EasyPetFence.com is offering 5% off their Kitty Corral Cat Fencing Systems until September 30, 2016 with discount code “HCM16” at checkout.

The Importance of Microchipping

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Microchip / photo: fdecomite via Foter / CC BY

Nobody likes to think of worst-case scenarios…. But waiting until something happens is too late!

Even with indoor-only animals, your pets may unexpectedly end up outside – whether they dash for the door when friends come for a visit, run away from a pet sitter, or are frightened by fireworks and escape, a microchip can be a lifesaver.

The Cat Fanciers’ Association statement on microchips is:

“Even if a cat never goes outside there is need for individual identification in case of accidental escape, disaster, theft, pedigree match, absence of the owner or other occurrences. The Cat Fanciers’ Association (CFA) considers microchipping to be the optimum identification method currently available for protecting pet cats when it is linked to a comprehensive system involving voluntary enrollment, safe and private data keeping, advanced scanning device technology and reliable recovery services.”

Microchipping your pet is a very simple procedure, done at the vet’s office. They will take a small chip – about the size of a grain of rice – and insert it under the skin, using a needle. The chip contains a unique identifier, which you then register with the microchip company – if your pet is later found, the chip can be scanned, and the microchip company can reunite you with your pet.

This recent news story highlights just how important a microchip truly can be!