Did you know cats quite easily learn to walk on a leash? I call it "liberation training" because it allows the cat to safely accompany you beyond the confines of your house. There's nothing wrong--and I encourage--keeping cats inside in a safe environment. But if you have a "Christopher Columbus" type cat eager and curious to explore, a leash--or a stoller--might be an option. You can find the strollers at pet products stores, and they work extremely well for nearly any confident cat. For leash training, I prefer halters. The cat's neck is quite fragile and can't stand much tugging on a collar. Also, the kitty head is nearly the same size as the neck, so a collar can easily slip over the head and WHOOPS, you've got a lost cat. The H-style harnesses used for dogs may work well for the largest cats, as long as you fit them snug. Kitties are contortionists and will wiggle and pretzel themselves out of confinement if you aren't careful. So I prefer the figure-8 harnesses, because when the cat tugs against the leash, the halter tightens so he can't wiggle out. There now also are cat vests available that completely covers the cat's upper torso. Training goes much more quickly with kittens. They simply don't know any better and think it's a game. Older cats may fall over and pretend paralysis when first fitted with a halter. To start, make the halter part of the furniture. Toss it on the floor, play with it, pet the cat with the harness so it smells like him, and otherwise make it a normal (not scary) part of his world. When you first put on the harness, have a treat or feather toy handy to distract the cat. If the kitten chases the feather while wearing the harness, he realizes it doesn't restrict movement. Older cats will take some convincing. Leave it on only a couple minutes each day and build up the time until you can clip on a leash and follow the kitty around the room. Eventually you should be able to have safe excursions into the garden or to Grandma's house--or even to the pet products store to check out the cat furniture.
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