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MooMoo, 11months
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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Hello! MooMoo and I came to a compromise between her decision of staying outside and my decision of staying inside and now we are hoping to leash train her to go on walks to not having to worry about her attacking other cats/dogs (or being attacked), getting run over, or eating a poisoned mouse. It's been a week since we've started and I've only been putting on the harness when we go outside and then putting her in her carrier. There's usually two other outdoor cats (one on one path and one on the other) that I let sniff MooMoo between the panels of the carrier today but ended in the outdoor cat hissing (probably because we were on their turf). Not sure how the other cat would react but just here to ask how to maneuver around them once she is out of the carrier and on a leash. Should I carry her around where the cats reside? Any tips on how to leash train a cat is also appreciated!
 

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I have seen cats who walk nicely on a leash so I know it can be done, but I think it depends on the cat, and would suggest you tune in carefully to how your cat reacts to it so you can adjust what you are doing accordingly. I also recommend honing your situational awareness to a fine point so you can see any trouble coming as far off as possible and have a plan for how you will scoop up the cat and secure her when needed.

One concern is that cats are like snakes or ferrets in that they can wiggle into and out of things you would think they couldn't. Most cat harnesses can be escaped. I don't have a recommendation for one that is harder to escape from but maybe others do. I personally would never trust that the cat absolutely could not get out of the harness, especially if frightened or startled, so I would pretty much never take my eyes off the cat while out with the cat in the harness.

And, as with anything, going at it slowly and gradually with safety first in mind is the best approach, and I am sure you know that.
Only other things is does your cat have a registered microchip? Make sure she does, and also make sure you have several excellent photos of her. Just in case the worst happens and she gets away. Better to be prepared, even though you will make every effort to see to it that doesn't happen.
Best of luck with this!
And please let us know how it goes because I want to hear about it. You may have something to teach me about how to do it.
 

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Good for you for compromising with MooMoo! I've never leash-trained (thought about it and always chickened out!) but the basics seem to be to get the cats used to the harness and leash inside their home, take them outside on the leash and let them roam around in familiar territory, walk a short distance at a time, turn back at the first signs of distress, and give treats and pets when they're calm so you end on a good note.

I'm not sure if picking up MooMoo is the best thing to do or not. When cats are stressed, holding them can make things worse and they sometimes lash out at anybody near them. When confronted by a hissing cat or if your cat hisses, I'd try leaving the area first but pick her up if you have to before a fight starts. And remember... if we are calm, it helps our cats to be calm, so pay close attention to your surroundings but try to relax when you're out and about.

Note: I haven't "relaxed" since the 80's but believe it's still a thing!
 

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Stanley (aka lanky teenager) Alfie (aka terror of the house) Smudge (aka first of many, RIP)
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I use harnesses with both my cats, and I think its great! I don't lead them per se, but rather let them walk around where they want while I hold the lead, so I can monitor what they are doing.

As mentioned above, they can escape from time to time. I started by leaving the harnesses on in the house for a while, to see if they were form enough to make escaping difficult, and what each cat was willing to do to escape, and of course let them get used to the feel of it.

Picking up a panicking cat can cause you serious harm, and its likely they will end up escaping your grip too. So recognising the early signs of uneasiness is important to avoid trouble. As a last resort, I will hold the scruff of my cat, even if he is still on the ground. This will immobilise him somewhat so I can wait until the stimulus passes or remove him from the situation safely.

Just personally, I wouldn't want my cats interacting with other stray cats as you can't know what sicknesses or parasites they could be carrying. I would avoid areas where you know there are other cats hanging about who are likely to come out if you pass by.

My boys are used to their harnesses now, and come running when I open the draw to get the harness out. They also purr while I'm putting the harness on. Best of luck, hope everything goes well!
 

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Harness/leash training can be great for many cats. Just be aware that - and this has happened to several friends - cats may want out all the time, crying and scratching at the door. They really regret ever doing it. This is not meant to dissuade you, but to make you aware of a possible end result. I'm sure there are many more success stories than failures.
 

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MooMoo, 11months
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Discussion Starter · #6 ·
Yep! MooMoo has her microchip and all her shots. She's a little reluctant to put on the harness but once it's on she doesn't try to take it off. From when I started to take her out in the carrier, the times she begs to go outside seems to have decreased. There aren't any stray cats in our area but there are a few outdoor cats.

I don't think I've actually relaxed since middle school either haha
 
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