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Cat Harness Training – Shyna On A Leash

Shyna on a leash 1

Last year when my mother and her husband got their garden parcel, I eventually got the idea that it would be fun if my cat Shyna could enjoy it outside too some day. The only time she was outside was when I got her, because I bought her on a farm and I could imagine that they did let the kittens out in the garden there. Apart from that, she saw the outside when I brought her to the vet. But other than that, she never has been outside which means she is a pure house cat and lives in my apartment.

When I got the idea to show her mom’s garden, the summer did already end. But I told them what they would think about the idea and they said “Sure, why not, but not if our dog Billy is there”. Shyna and Billy are no friends. My mother visited me once with her dog and we tried it, but Shyna immediately wanted to attack Billy. Fortunately my mother did stand in the entrance room of my apartment, which means I closed the door to my living room fast enough that Shyna couldn’t attack Billy. We tried it again once in a while but my cat does not like the dog of my mother. Billy wouldn’t even have a chance as he is smaller and slower than my cat. So, having them both in the garden, wouldn not be a great idea.

Today I was shopping and found a special cat leash, a cat harness. This product was quite cheap, I didn’t even pay more than 2 Euro. The leash is made in China and I don’t want to say that all Chinese products are bad, but in my experience there are quite a lot of cases where I found out that a German product does have better quality (material quality, workmanship). I thought the leash couldn’t be a problem but the plastic clasp of the harness could be an issue as same as the metallic clasp on the leash. I messed around with this thing to feature out if this is tear-resistant and was afraid that I could damage it in the shop, however, the parts appeared to be very resistant to the forces. I did end up grabbing the bargain as it seemed to be one of the good Chinese products.

Even if the garden is bounded by fences, we didn’t check every single small corner behind the bushes. Even dog of my mother did disappear once through a small hole in the fence that they closed after it happened. They fortunately found Billy not far away from the garden but that was luck due to the fact that he is old, fragile and too small to discover all kind of places in our city. However, even if I would proof that the fences are ok, I wouldn’t let my cat off the leash. She is smart and sporty, and I do believe she would like adventures, and a garden fence with some bushes is in my opinion not really a hurdle for a cat.

It’s still too cold her and we don’t go often to the garden. I planned to take my cat with me to the garden in the spring or summer time. That means I didn’t plan to buy a leash that earlier, it was pure coincidence that I found a good one that cheap today. What makes it great too is that I now can practice with her. She was never on a leash and I didn’t know how she would react. I wanted to practice it with her at home since it’s not garden time yet anyway.

That’s what my post is about today. She was very curious when I opened the wrapping. She always is curious about wrappings, and today I used her curiosity and implied with my voice that it is something for her. I have that special voice tone when I do so and I do mention her name, that means she became even more curious now. I also had her favorite treats to show her that we will have some fun now. I started slowly and put the leash on her.

It took me not too long to understand how it works, but I had to feature out how much I must open the collar part and the thing that I need to attach around her ribs. You don’t want to strangle your cat. Several tests and she became impatient with me. It made it more difficult but I could convince her with her favorite tasty treats. After some minutes I had the cat harness perfectly adjusted on her body and did clip the leash on it.

I was surprised how well she accepted it then. To be honest, I was extremely surprised how well she does understand the leash. She really noticed when she has to go with you and I did run with her from one room to the other and asked myself why I practice it with her if she does accept and understand it already. I believe it was also about her treats, because I use her favorite treats when ever I want to teach her something as I mentioned quite often on my blog. That means, she probably understood that this is yet another new game. I know when she has fun, and it seemed as if it would be a funny new game for her.

Cat harness training

After the training we took some photos that I want to show you now. I will do this now once a week with her, so that she will understand that the leash is not strange but something very normal. At the end it is just good for her because then she can enjoy it outside in the garden too some day when the weather becomes better. I really want to show her how it is to put the nose on a flower, to walk over the lawn, to see all the flies and other insects and so on. Though, I am a little bit afraid that she might moan after that experience when she is back home, that she will moan a lot to get back outside. I also should shower her after we did that, because she might have insects in her fur, I am especially concerned about ticks. However, it’s still some time until then. As promised, her are some photos we took today after testing the leash…

20 Comments »

  1. I tried to leash train my late ginger cat Louie. He slipped out of the harness in less time than it took to type this sentence! Ha! He was an outside cat, though, so I used to just walk with him on his little outside excursions. Walking a cat (or walking with a cat!) is an interesting experience. Louie introduced me to all of his little friend and enemy cats, and we spent a lot of time sniffing flowers and places other cats left “messages”!

    • That sounds really interesting and it is one of the reasons why I want to do that too. I am curious to see how she will be impressed by all the flowers and so. Thanks for sharing your experience. I still have enough time to proof if my harness is really that good. I hope she won’t slip out there but it seems it would be very difficult for her to get out of this harness, it looks really safe but I will proof it.

    • I once adopted a male cat who was a stray and therefore accustomed to running about free. I didn’t have the heart to try to keep him inside, and there was no way he would wear a harness. Nonetheless. he used to walk me to my bus stop before work and wait until I boarded the bus before going back home. Occasionally, I would find him waiting for me at the bus stop when I got home. He was quite the gentleman! He walked beside me as though he were on a leash.

      • I understand the confusion… how can you not climb up that tree? You’re not a cat? 😀 Yes, I believe that was the moment he realized your not a cat 🙂 He wondered already why you only have fur on the head, but now it became apparent, you can not climb trees, you must be anything else but not a cat 😀

  2. I’ll be interested to hear how the garden visits go. I’ve not tried a leash on Polly. She is only allowed outside if one of us is there and so far she has not discovered that it’s possible to jump over fences. Actually Polly does not seem to like to jump high. She will long jump. I’ve seen her jump from the arm of one chair to another, more than a metre I’d guess but when she wants to get to her food table she always jumps onto the lower level of the cat climbing frame and to the table from there. We have to keep the food up high or Cindy eats it. What I would really like is a cat enclosure made of netting which I’d erect in the garden so Polly could enjoy freedom outside without being able to catch birds and without us having to watch her all the time.

    • I know these long jumps from Shyna too. Pretty funny to see. But sadly she can also jump pretty high and the irony is that I tought her how to jump high because I thought it would make her even more sporty if we practice this once in a while. I could now hold my chair up in the hair on head level and she would jump on it. I am around 183 cm tall and that means she wouldn’t have problems to jump 2 meters high. But she did that earlier with his climbing tree too.

      The enclosure made of netting is a good idea and would make me more confident as well. That is also my point, I know we have a fence but I can’t ensure that there isn’t any small hole anywhere behind the bushes. Also the garden is big and you can go around the garden house, which means I would need to monitor her constantly as you to check out what she is hecking out, like catching birds for example as you said. She wouldn’t always be in sight.

      It’s still cold here anyway, it’s some time until then. But it might be funny 😀

      • There are companies here that make large portable cat enclosures as well as the more permanent ones no doubt you have them in Germany too. Feral cats are a problem in many cities I anticipate that one day there will be strict laws about keeping cats so more responsible cat owners will enclose areas of their gardens for their cats. Trouble is at them moment they are not cheap unless you can build your own.

      • I could imagine that we have something similar here. This is really worth to take a look. I will do that before the warm time and our “experiment” starts.

        Yes, I do agree, feral cats can become a big problem, especially when people don’t take care and don’t neuter their cats. I think it is less of a problem in our city (although we have other problems with private breeder who don’t get that there isn’t that much demand to breed more and more cats) but when I was in France, I saw a village street full of cats that you could argue it’s gone wrong there too. :/

  3. In the city I call home, all cats have to be licensed. If you adopt a cat from a shelter and it isn’t fixed, you have to pay to have it fixed and to have a microchip inserted. As a consequence, feral cats and “strays” are rare here.

    When I lived in a fishing village near Trieste in Italy, however, there was a huge number of feral cats who would hang out by the wharf for scraps. One adopted me, and shortly afterward had five kittens. I was leaving to return to Canada that summer, so I had to find homes for the kittens subito. My Italian wasn’t that great, but I found some people who knew a guilt trip when they heard one, and I was able to find homes for all of them. The mother cat, unfortunately, vanished shortly after the kittens were weaned.

    After returning to Canada, I adopted a cat whom I named “Cujo” (after the Stephen King novel, not the hockey player). I tried harnessing her, but she was a little Houdini and could escape within a few seconds. What worked, however, was to tuck her inside my jacket and take her for a bike ride. She loved it!

    • It is really good if some cities or states have some rules there. I have heard of places where you can find hundreds of stray cats and they breed so fast. It can become a big problem and once it is, sadly the cats are the ones who have to pay for it. 😦 I think it is only good for the cats if the breeding is under control.

      It is great that you found homes for the kittens. Also I do like the cat name “Cujo”. It sounds good, but what that it mean? Is this a name or a word from any language? I am sadly not a bookworm so that I did not read the Stephen’s novel. It’s cute that you could do a bike ride with your cat 🙂

      • Cujo is the title and name of a Stephen King psychologcial horror novel about a rabid dog by that name. Cujo’s name was based on the nom de guerre of Willie Wolfe, one of the men responsible for orchestrating Patty Hearst’s kidnapping and indoctrination into the Symbionese Liberation Army. Truthfully, I didn’t read the novel, either, but I did know that it was about a rabid dog, and Cujo was a terror as a kitten. When I took her to a new vet for the first time, he just looked at the name and prepared vaccines for a dog! Lol.

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