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Getting kitten to wear harness ...

August 4th, 2008, 05:56 PM
Cookie is an indoor kitten, and has never been outside other than our trip to bring her home & to/from the vet.

We camp every year and our previous cat, Puss (:rip:), went everywhere with us and enjoyed getting harnessed up for an outing. This is what we want to train Cookie for as well. With Puss it was easy ... she just took to it right off the bat.

Right now Cookie's 11 weeks old, and the smallest kitten harness is fitting her. Up til now it was wayyyy too big!

Question is, how to get her used to it, and when/how to introduce the outside to her? She's darned fast and agile, so I don't want her to get ideas about trying to dart out every time a door opens ...

Anybody with experience or advise to offer?

August 4th, 2008, 10:24 PM
Put the harness on Cookie in the house for a while to get her used to the feel of it. To start maybe 10 to 15 minutes. Gradually work up to about an hour. Never leave her alone with it on. She may get tangled in something.

When she has worn it for a while put the leash on with the harness and let her walk around the house. Let her go where she wants, you follow to start. You can get try to get her to go where you want her to later, once she's used to the new contraption you put her in.

When she is used to having the harness and leash on then take her outside but only for a few minutes the first time. It's a big world out there. She will be frightened. It may be a good idea to have a regular collar on with another leash as well. That way if she manages to escape from one you still have the other. It's just a safety thing. You can gradually increase your time until she is comfortable with going outside.

Just be aware that once you start taking her out she is more liable to make a dash for the door when it opens. She doesn't care if she's wearing a harness or not. She just wants out!

August 8th, 2008, 02:59 PM
Been trying her harness on her everyday for 5 -15 minutes. First couple times she got her lower jaw down through the neck part and freaked, so I released it immediately and put it away til the next day.

We've been trying to keep her very preoccupied, playing with a favorite toy, while she's wearing it and it seems to help keep her from panicking and I think she's learning that it will not ruin her life!

Today she was managing to get her jaw unstuck for herself and at the end of her session I called her into the kitchen and rewarded her with a couple treats and many "Good Girl"'s after I took it off. Positive reinforcement, right?

I like to think I'm making progress!

So, thank you 14+ kitties for some good advice!:thumbs up