If you live anywhere near a busy road, then letting your new cat go outside for the first time can be a scary experience. Rather than put their cat at risk, many people choose to leash train their cats, allowing him to enjoy the great outdoors without anywhere near as many of the dangers.
If you’re wondering how to put a cat harness on a kitten so that you can begin to train your feline friend, then you’re in the right place. Below, we’ve laid the process out for you in five easy steps.
How to Put a Cat Harness on a Kitten
As a cat owner, you’ll know that each cat has its own unique personality, so when you’re training one, you need to remember this and adjust the training steps accordingly. Some steps may take longer than others, but be patient and kind, and you’ll both see it through and have a better relationship for it.
Step 1: Introduce the Harness to Your Kitten
You’re going to have to introduce the harness to your kitten before you start to put him in it. Start by putting it near them while they sleep. Also, have it near him when he eats, and when the two of you are enjoying cuddle time. You can even play with him using the harness and leash as a teaser toy.
Doing this will help your kitten get used to having the harness close to him. It will also help him to associate it with good things like eating and playing.
Step 2: Distract Your Kitten
When you try to put the harness on your kitten for the first time, assuming that you have scoured the instructions and are confident that you know HOW to put it on, try to keep him distracted with treats or toys. You might even try to put the harness on him when they’re sleeping on your lap. Make any adjustments you need to ensure that the harness fits properly.
Time your harness practice so that you can feed your kitten straight after you’ve put the harness on. In this way, you can use food and your affection as the reward for putting the harness on.
3. Get Your Kitty Used to the Harness
Don’t attempt to take your kitten straight out for a walk the minute you have the harness on. The harness is going to feel strange for him for a while, and you need to make sure he feels comfortable in it before taking him out for a walk.
Try placing him in the harness each day before mealtime, and let them wear it for half an hour or so until they start to feel totally accustomed to it. When your kitten falls asleep in his harness, that means that he’s ready for the next step.
Step 4: Take Him for a Walk Inside
Your kitten’s first walk should be inside your house or apartment so that he can get used to the feeling of being on a leash. Cats like being in charge, which is why this is going to be an extremely strange and discomforting feeling for him at first!
You can even try following him around before attaching the leash, so he gets used to the feeling of you walking right behind him. Your home is the safest place to try out your first few walks to make sure he doesn’t wriggle out of his harness and run away.
Step 5: First Walk Outside
His first walk outside will be pretty scary for both of you. Take him to a quiet park or street where there are minimal people, sounds, and smells. Build up his time outside slowly, allowing him to get used to things in his own time.
Top Tips for Cat Walking
Once your kitten has gotten used to his harness, and you have them enjoying his time in it, then you can take him out with you on regular walks, feeling safe in the knowledge that he won’t escape the harness and run away.
Here are our top tips for complete cat walking success:
- Always pick your cat up to take him outside with you for his walk. By not letting your cat walk out of the door with you, it should help to train him to know that he shouldn’t go out alone.
- Create and train a “hometime” signal by telling him it’s time to go home. Then, when you arrive home, pick him up, take him inside, and give him a treat.
- It is not safe to let a leashed cat climb trees or get too far away from you into dense brush.
- If your cat looks uncomfortable or gets frightened, return home immediately.
Once you know how to put a cat harness on a kitten and have him leash trained, you’ll be the talk of the town! It will take a bit of time to have your kitten feeling comfortable with a harness on, but if you follow the steps we’ve laid out for you above and remember to take things slowly, you should be able to enjoy walks together within a few weeks.
Many people find that walking with their cat deepens the relationship they have as it adds to the list of fun things that they can do together! Just always make sure that it’s an enjoyable experience for your kitten and reward him well for their good behavior.