January is National Walk your Pet Month. If you’ve been grappling with the idea of walking your cat, now’s the time to take the plunge! The first step is to find a quality collar, leash and harness to keep her safe.
Indoor cats live longer than those that roam free, but that doesn’t mean your kitty can’t enjoy the great outdoors. If you live in a warm climate, walking your cat is a great way to give her the physical and mental stimulation she needs to stay happy and healthy! You just have to ensure she can’t wander off and get into trouble. One way to do this is to get her used to wearing a collar or harness, and taking her out on a leash.
There are all kinds of collars, leashes and harnesses on the market, for both dogs and cats, but it’s important to do your homework and make sure you pick a safe, well made product that’s going to properly fit and suit your feline friend. Take a look at some of the quality options pictured here, and follow these tips for the best results.
- Before shopping, make sure you measure your cat. You want a collar or harness that will fit snugly, but not too tightly. You should be able to comfortably slip two fingers underneath it. If it’s too loose, your cat will most likely wriggle out of it. Most collars and harnesses are adjustable.
- Look for good quality durable materials that are going to be comfortable for your cat to wear. My own two cats do very well with harnesses made from soft nylon, and there are other materials to choose from as well. You might save money buying a cheap product, but if it falls apart and your cat runs away and gets lost or injured, you’ll wish you’d invested in something better.
- Your cat isn’t like a dog. Choose lightweight materials that won’t drag on her or cause her discomfort. That big thick leather leash might be great for a German shepherd, but it’ll be too heavy and cumbersome for your kitty.
- Keep in mind that it’s easier for cat to slip out of a collar, so if your kitty is an escape artist, you may want to opt for a harness instead.
- Cat collars are generally easier to find than harnesses. If you want a harness, and can’t find one designed for cats at your local pet supply store, take a look at some of the harnesses made for small dogs. Some of these can work just as well. Again, make sure you pick one made from lightweight materials that won’t weigh down or chafe against your cat.
- Attach some form of ID to your cat’s collar or harness, just in case she gets away somehow.
- Breakaway collars are a good idea if your cat ever roams at large. They’re designed to come apart if he gets caught on something.
- A retractable leash made for a small dog can be good to use with a cat. They’re easy to handle and you can quickly control how much leeway your cat has.
- It’s best to train a cat to a collar or harness from kittenhood. Adult cats can be persuaded to wear them, but it’s usually more difficult, especially when it comes to harnesses. Adult cats are more likely to fight a harness or leash if they’re not used to it, and are more apt to try and squirm out of it.
Today’s cat collars, leashes and harnesses come in a wide variety of snazzy colors and patterns, so your kitty can be stylish as well as safe. Whatever product you decide to buy, however, never tether your cat outside alone. He could easily get tangled up in a tree, or attacked by a passing dog or coyote. Always keep your kitty company while he’s outdoors!