Leash training a cat takes time and patience but allows an already outdoor cat to explore a greater outdoors than ever. For an otherwise housebound cat, a whole new world awaits as he can discover new smells, sounds, and experiences that he never had the opportunity for in his indoor life.
Unleash your cat's inner dog by leash training them for outdoor adventures that you can both enjoy. In this article, we give you some pointers on how to put on a mesh cat harness and get your cat used to wearing it so that he’s less likely to escape, potentially never to be seen again.
The first step to leash training is actually getting your cat into and used to wearing a harness. We call this stage harness training. It may take a while for your cat to feel comfortable in their harness, and it may take you even longer to get them into their harness in the first place, but time and patience are key.
It’s important that you do use a harness for walking your cat, as it offers a better distribution of pressure than a traditional collar, which could choke your feline friend. Harnesses are also harder for your cat to escape from if you’re worried that he’ll run away.
How to Put on a Mesh Cat Harness
If you’ve invested in a mesh cat harness, then you’ve made a good decision. Mesh is a fantastic breathable fabric that will help keep your cat cool on long summer walks. Mesh harnesses are usually H-type, step-in, or over-head.
H-type harnesses look like the letter H when laid out. The best H-type harnesses have Velcro and buckle fasteners that do up at the back.
Lay out the harness with the H on its side, the shorter side of the H will most likely face forward to wrap around the neck. Hold your cat facing forward and then wrap the H up underneath your cat’s chest. Next, fasten the shorter side of the H around the top of the neck, and the longer side of the H around the stomach.
Step-in harnesses have two holes in them for your cat to “step into” as you pull the harness up their legs and do up the fastener behind their back. Cats can be trained to step into these types of harness themselves and should never be forced.
Over-the-head harnesses can be tricky if your cat has a severe dislike to things going over their heads, but you may find it easier to slip one opening over his head, as opposed to getting two openings over his front feet as required by the step-in.
Once the harness is over his head, the rest of the harness will fall into place with the fastener falling at their stomach, back, or on the side of their stomach.
Getting Your Cat Into the Harness
Whether you’ve already tried getting your cat into the harness or not, you should know that they’re not going to like it if you just try and put it straight on them. The harness is an alien object to them, and it’s in their nature to react severely to being restrained in any way.
Follow these steps below to get your cat accustomed to the harness first.
Step 1: Take the mesh harness you’ve bought and put it near them when they sleep and eat. Hold it close to them when you have cuddle time, and try to play with them using the harness.
Step 2: Tempt them into the harness by using treats to get them further and further into it by themselves. Whether this means having to poke their head through the head hole to reach their food or treat, or step into or over H-type or step-in harnesses to reach the food.
If they try to get around the harness, then remove both the harness and food and try again after 10 minutes. In this way, they will associate the food with the harness and understand that they can’t have one without the other.
Step 3: Eventually, when they don‘t seem to be bothered by the harness being there, you can try to slide the rest of it on, distracting them all the while with treats or toys.
Time your harness training to take place just before dinner so that they’re more interested in your rewards. You can also more heavily reward them with their dinner after a job well done.
Step 4: Leave the harness on them for half an hour per day so that they get used to being in it. When they feel comfortable enough in the harness to fall asleep in it, they’re ready for the next step, which is leash training.
Final Words: Happy in a Harness
If you’ve tried putting a harness on your cat, then you’ll already have learned that knowing how to put on a mesh cat harness is one thing, but getting the harness onto your cat is quite another!
The key thing to remember is to be patient and consistent with your cat. It will take a lot longer to harness and leash train them than it would a dog, but its a very worthwhile and rewarding process.