How To Put a Cat Harness On: 5 Expert Tips & Advice
While domesticated cats have learned how to live with humans in harmony and accept and adapt to our lifestyles, they still have some wildness in their souls. While we may understand that putting a harness and leash on a cat is for their good, our little furry companions will often have zero tolerance for the idea. Nevertheless, if you live in an apartment building or a home with a smaller and more insecure backyard, you will need to take your cats on walks using a harness.
As you may expect, this endeavor will be challenging to master, so read the article below and find out how exactly you can place a harness on your cat without any stress or force.
Before You Begin
Before you learn how to put a harness on your cat, choose the perfect harness style to fit your particular needs. No matter which type of harness you choose, you will need to let your cat get acquainted with it and slowly get used to the feeling. Some harnesses are more suitable for younger cats and those that are only starting to learn this new habit. Depending on the size of your cat and your taste, there are several styles of harnesses to choose from.
- H-style Harness: An H-style harness creates a letter H when laid flat on the floor. They provide very light and comfortable support, which is why most cats can handle them. These harnesses are a perfect choice for kittens that still need some getting used to harnesses. They cover a minimal surface area, being much less uncomfortable for cats, allowing them to get used to the feeling gradually.
- Figure-Eight Style Harness: Figure-eight harness type is made from several straps that together form the shape of the number 8. It is easily adjustable and won’t cause discomfort to your cat. Figure-eight harnesses and H-style harnesses are easy to escape from, so they may not be the best choice for older, more stubborn cats.
- Jacket harnesses: This type of harness is also called the butterfly harness because of the unique shape it has when lying flat on the floor. It provides you with more control as it supports a larger portion of the cat’s body, not allowing it to wiggle out easily.
- Vest harnesses: Vest harnesses are an ideal option for very active cats who make sudden movements or are trying to wiggle out. These vests are usually made from mesh material, making them comfortable even during hotter days. They are secured with Velcro or buckles, and they typically need to be slipped over the cat’s head, which they are not fond of.
The 5 Expert Tip To Put a Cat Harness On
1. Choose an Ideal Harness for Your Cat
Your first and most crucial step would be to choose the perfect harness for your cat. If you manage to do this step correctly, you will ensure a positive experience for your cat from the very start. When your cat is still a kitten, it is wiser to start with a lightweight harness that won’t bother the kitten as much and will let it get used to the feeling. These harnesses are much less supportive, and for adult cats, they are easy to wiggle out of. That’s why adult cats should wear harnesses that provide better coverage and more support.
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2. Let Your Cat Get Used to the New Harness
Once you pick out the ideal harness, it is time to introduce it to your cat. Small steps will do the trick, such as letting your cat adjust to the existence of the harness at first. Let your cat sniff the mysterious item and find out that it doesn’t pose a threat to it. When your cat exhibits intrigue towards this item, reward it with treats to associate the harness with positive thoughts. Try putting it near their food or water bowls, and then after a few days, the cat is totally undisturbed by the harness, you can proceed to the next step.
3. Place The Harness on the Cat’s Head
Before putting the harness on the cat for the first time, try gently putting it on its back and rewarding it immediately. Reward it each time it allows the harness to sit on its back. Do this repeatedly until your cat gets used to this new and unknown feeling without fear.
Then you can try putting one loop through the cat’s head. This is best done by holding up treats and allowing the cat to poke its head through the loop on its own. Do this step several times until your cat learns it needs to put the head through the loop without you doing it forcefully.
4. Let Your Cat Wear the Harness Indoors
Let your cat get used to the feeling of a harness alone without being attached to the leash. Clip the entire harness on the cat and let it stay on for a few seconds. Reward the cat only when the harness is on, and it stays calm. Once your cat is comfortable with the feeling of a harness placed on its back, you can go one step further and try walking it indoors. Your cat may try to wiggle around but being patient and rewarding your cat with each new progress is crucial.
5. Slowly Transition to Wearing the Harness Outdoors
Once your cat is entirely used to the feeling of a harness and walking on a leash indoors, you can finally try this new habit outdoors. This will be the next significant change, so bring plenty of treats. Hold the leash securely in case anything scares your cat and it tries to run away. It will take some getting used to the feeling of a leash, but patience and persistence will take you there in no time.
Once learning how to put on a harness on your cat properly, you will provide your cat with a safe and positive experience. You won’t have to force your cat into liking this strange habit and will instead have it enjoy walks while staying entirely safe. Learning the proper steps will ensure you teach your cat quickly and easily.
Featured Image Credit: Sergio Canovas, Shutterstock