Soft paws/walking harness questions - Cat Forum : Cat Discussion Forums
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post #1 of 4 (permalink) Old 08-03-2008, 02:52 AM Thread Starter
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Soft paws/walking harness questions

I'm currently walking Phoenix on a regular H back harness, but she's close to needing a bigger one, and I'm not sure what to get, as I've learned from the dogs not to trust plastic hardware unless it's sized up a bit, and it seems pretty much all harnesses for cats have small plastic snaps, her little one right now has metal buckles. So far I like the cat vest harnesses best, though I'm also eyeing a the Hug-A-Dog harness style and curious as to whether anyone's used something similar on their cat.

As I said in our intro, we're doing soft paws, and I think I've finally figured out the right amount of glue to keep them from coming off after a few days (it's been about 3 weeks since I first applied, and I've had to reapply about 10 caps). I had to trim the caps down, as most of her claws were fairly short from the last time getting clipped. She's gotten stuck in things two times now, the ribbon on her cube yesterday (shredded up a bit from her chewing), and the mesh door on her sleeping crate while she was playing up her starving kitten act this morning. I'm thinking it's because I trimmed the caps and the edges are thicker and not tapered like they're supposed to be, but has anyone else experienced this?

My sister is adamant that she does not want her furniture scratched, and though P is good about using her little scratching box, I know she's liable to scratch the furniture just running around on it (I have a vinyl cover on my bed and it's all mangled up just from her running, jumping, climbing, etc)... declawing her is absolutely not an option, so that leaves us with the soft paws, but I don't want her to get hurt if she gets her nail caught on something... I may sand the edges of the next few sets with the dremel to taper them out, but then I'd worry about dust getting into the cap.
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post #2 of 4 (permalink) Old 08-03-2008, 03:13 PM
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i have a sort of unrelated question. How do you get your cat to walk with you? I think Boo would love it, but i thought cats didnt go for a walk in the same manner as dogs.

(it would also probably make her want to sneak out even more).
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post #3 of 4 (permalink) Old 08-03-2008, 07:37 PM
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Claiken, I would google "clicker training" and "loose-leash walking." The concept is the same for cats as for dogs when you use positive methods. I don't bother with my cats walking beside me, I just put them on a flexi and I follow where they want to go (I live in the country, though, so this isn't possible everywhere). To keep her from sneaking out, put the harness on before you go outside and put her in a carrier to take her out. Then she will not associate going outside with lunging out the door, but with having her harness put on and quietly going into her carrier.

P, I don't have personal experience with soft paws, so I can't help you there.. but the dremeling thing sounds good to me?

I have never had a problem with plastic buckles on my cats.. with dogs, though, that's another matter entirely. I don't like the H-style harnesses, honestly, I like the ones with the V-neck, sort of, that are very similar to the H-shape ones - but they completely take pressure off the neck. I have one of these in the picture, and it's very sturdy. (not the collar, the gaudy harness) ... atid=17682

THIS might be a good lead... it's a 'bungee lead' which will be a lot easier on your cat if she lunges suddenly.. ... atid=17718

I'm a fan of flexis for cats.. someone on another cat forum suggested it to me and it's been the most awesome thing ever. It takes them a while to get used to the slight pressure, though. (I'm not a fan of them for dogs, though. My most recent bad experience was with a person who had a flexi on his 100+ lb, out-of-control, fear-aggressive dog in the vet's office. It was appalling.
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post #4 of 4 (permalink) Old 08-03-2008, 11:54 PM Thread Starter
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The soft paws are definitely getting dremeled in the future before application.... she got herself caught in a quilt a little bit ago, and we had to wrangle the angry kitten and cut the thread tangled around her nail to get her free. I managed to get her to hold still long enough afterwards for me to dremel a bit of the edge off the "cuff" of the caps (they have a lower cuff, but since she's a baby, I had to trim them down a bit, and it removed the cuff part), but I would feel better with a more tapered edge, and I don't feel safe doing more with the dremel on the cat's nails for fear of nicking one of her toes or her actual nail. I plan on dremeling and replacing any that fall off within the next week, and then (or earlier if she gets caught on anything else), snip the tips off any that are still present to encourage them to fall off so I can replace them with more thoroughly dremeled ones. I don't think I have enough caps to replace them all right now, have more coming in, but will have to wait for them to arrive. I'm hoping I can get this worked out, as they really seemed like the best solution for our situation, and I'm not really sure what else to try.

P has been going out on a leash since she was around 8 weeks old, intially just dragging the leash in our yard so I could catch her if she tried to run, then I would pick it up and encourage her to walk with me for short distances, and in the last couple weeks, I've started progressing to longer distances and then actual walks out of the yard. I think it helps that she's pretty attached to my dachshund, Annie, and seems more at ease with another critter along for the walk.

We have a bungee style leash (from a ferret leash/harness set), I plan on getting another bigger size one for her eventually, as it does help if something startles her and she decides to try and make a run for it (not too common at this point, but slamming the end of the lead would no doubt frighten her more). I wouldn't feel comfortable with a flexi on our walks, but that is a great idea for in the yard, we'll give it a try.

At present, I'm carrying P outside, then putting her down, and she always gets her harness put on before we go out the door. I'm hoping that because this is the way it's always done, she won't be thinking she can just take herself out I will likely be acquiring a welded wire dog kennel in the semi-near future, and I've toyed with the idea of letting her go out in that sometimes too, since it will be secure. We'll see what happens, and in the meantime, continue sharpening her leash skills
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