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Discussion Starter #1
My cat is completely indifferent towards his harness. he lets me put it on him with no struggle at all. I've even seen him eat and sleep with it on. I definitely don't plan on leaving it on full time, but I've been trying to acclimate him to it around the house.

When I attach the leash to the harness, he's less impressed, but we've been working on this as well around the house. Sometimes he just flops down and tries to bite the leash, but if he's distracted he doesn't pay attention to the leash which is ideal.

After doing all of this daily and slowly over the course of a couple of weeks, I thought we were ready to go outside. I picked him up and walked out the door and he immediately started scrambling. when I put him down outside, he was just trying to get back in. He shimmied and crawled very low to the ground and made a beeline for the door and didn't stop until we were inside my apartment. It was a grassy area with fallen leaves on the ground. There were no other animals around, but it was near a treeline and water where I've seen bunnies, squirrels, geese, etc.

I don't HAVE to take him outside, and I don't want to force him if he wants no part of it, but shouldn't he have been a little more curious? He spends so much time on his kitty sill staring outside, I thought it would be a nice treat to take him out.

I was also hoping it would be a good form of exercise as well. We run around in the house plenty, but it's like Hallmark and Kodak got together in my head, and I picture my adorable kitty frolicking in the leaves and pouncing on grasshoppers...ok i'll stop being weird. Most importantly though, I wanted him to have a good time. I don't want to do it for me.

Should I give up on this after his first reaction, or should we keep trying? I don't want to do it just for me, so I'll stop if you think he'll just never enjoy it.

If you think we should keep trying, do you have any tips?
 

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We run around in the house plenty, but it's like Hallmark and Kodak got together in my head, and I picture my adorable kitty frolicking in the leaves and pouncing on grasshoppers...ok i'll stop being weird.
LOL!

Several years ago, I also thought it would be fun and natural for my kitties to want to explore outside. Margaux didn't fuss with the harness or leash at all, and she loved being outside - grass, open space, but also bushes to sniff around, chipmunks, frogs, lots of trees with birds....Celia, not so much. She didn't like having the harness on, and when I picked her up to put her outside, she jumped out of my arms. I think I tried a couple of times, but she just wanted back in, like your kitty.

Has your kitty ever been outside? Celia was apparently an indoor-only cat when I adopted her, and she's naturally very skittish, so even if she was curious, fear of the unknown was greater.

I've always had 2nd floor apartments with enclosed decks or balconies, and she sometimes likes to sit out there. Maybe she feels safe because it's enclosed. But even so, she doesn't stay out for very long. She seems content to just observe the outside from whatever window she's sitting near.

I also think she was freaked out by the fact that I was trying to her somewhere that she hadn't chosen to go to. Maybe that's the case with your kitty as well?

Personally, I'd be happy that he doesn't want to go out. It's a serious pain in the neck to try to prevent Margaux from going out every time I open a door.
 

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he's 7 and a half months old, and to my knowledge he's never been outside before. His mother was brought to a shelter/foster group when she was pregnant, and he was an indoor kitten with his litter until I adopted him. He was neutered at 8 weeks and went to Petco at week 9 where I met him. After filling out the application, I took him home at 10 1/2 weeks.

he's a weird one. He doesn't mind his harness/leash, but apparently hates outside. He LOVES his carrier, but can't stand being in the car.

maybe we'll backtrack and see how he likes the hallway before we go all the way outside. He already cautiously steps out there if I leave the door open too long. He's by no means a door darter, but he has shown some curiosity for the hallway.

i'll give it another couple of weeks around the apartment and hallway, and we'll see if he'll go again.
 

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I started that way too. But then somehow one of the doors outside didn't shut properly, and both girls got out. Celia was taken in by a neighbor, but I didn't find that out until she'd been missing for a week. I always thought that might have contributed to her dislike of the outdoors.

Is there any way you could let him outside in an enclosed space first?
 

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maybe we'll backtrack and see how he likes the hallway before we go all the way outside. He already cautiously steps out there if I leave the door open too long. He's by no means a door darter, but he has shown some curiosity for the hallway.

i'll give it another couple of weeks around the apartment and hallway, and we'll see if he'll go again.
The problem wasn't that he was outside, it was that you carried him out there. In your arms he felt too exposed and not safe enough. The best way would be to gradually get him used to the walk from your door to outside, let him do it on his own time and he'll end up being just fine with it. None of my cats like being carried to outside, or being picked up while they're out there, but the boys and Jitzu really like being out there. (Torri's not a super-fan, but she liked it sometimes.)
 

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Discussion Starter #6
I started that way too. But then somehow one of the doors outside didn't shut properly, and both girls got out. Celia was taken in by a neighbor, but I didn't find that out until she'd been missing for a week. I always thought that might have contributed to her dislike of the outdoors.

Is there any way you could let him outside in an enclosed space first?
unfortunately, no. I'm first floor, but "ground floor" has sliding doors to the outside and "second floor" has balconies. The closest he comes to outside is in his carrier on the way to the car.

librarychick said:
The problem wasn't that he was outside, it was that you carried him out there. In your arms he felt too exposed and not safe enough. The best way would be to gradually get him used to the walk from your door to outside, let him do it on his own time and he'll end up being just fine with it. None of my cats like being carried to outside, or being picked up while they're out there, but the boys and Jitzu really like being out there. (Torri's not a super-fan, but she liked it sometimes.)
Thanks for this insight. I thought it would be easier if I brought him out, but you're right. the minute we hit unfamiliar territory he started freaking out.

I'm going to keep up with the harness/leash training because that would have its own uses despite whether or not he decides to go outside. I'm imagining if I ever took a long car trip or something...I'd want to be able to let him stretch his legs and walk around at rest stops and such without having to pry him out from under car seats (or cars!)

It's reassuring to see that not every cat was born to be outdoors. I totally took it for granted that even an indoor cat would want to check everything out outside. Especially my guy - when I took him home at 10 1/2 weeks, there was no acclimation or safe room or timidness. He was immediately getting the lay of the land, snubbing his cat bed, and taking residence on my couch.
 

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Cats sit in windows and watch the outside because they like to, but it doesn't mean they want to be outside. And unless they have been out and enjoyed it, they do not associate what they see out the window with actually being out there.

Taking it more slowly, allowing him to explore the hall and discover the outside on his own (with you attached to the other end of the leash of course) is the right way to do it. Make sure he always knows where that door to inside is. Good luck to both of you!
 

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I agree with Librarychick that he panicked because he landed in a strange place that he hadn't gone to on his own. Try him again on the leash and just open the door and see if he wants to go out. If he does, just follow him around, but after many attempts if he shows no interest, I'd just let him stay inside. He might not like walking around outside, but he may enjoy being in a pet stroller, where he can see his surroundings but feel safer being closed in and sitting on his own blanket. Both my cats like the pet stroller "walkies" just to see different things and smell different scents.
 

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Every cat is different. I have three. One loves the harness and loves to explore. When it's warm out I leave her in the backyard with my dog for sometimes an Half hour at a time(dog will protect her), my ragdoll is kind of timid but likes to check out new things and likes to be out In the yard for only a few minutes at a time. My third one HATES the harness and outside. As soon as you put it on her she flips, I will drop her at the other end of the yard and she slinks down real low and scurries to the door as fast as she can and meows until someone lets her in.
 

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I guess I am fortunate with two of my cats.....my late CC and I would stand in front of our porch door and look outside. i would say "car' , 'people', or whatever came along. It seemed that he liked to then 'watch' or 'find' what I said. then I used a leash and harness and just took him out with me. No problem but he explored a lot in my front yard. He was 18 when he died. Kermit, 10yrs old also adapted quite well to being out in the yard with me. probably helps that I turned the front yard into a garden/ bushes/ and fences tho so they are isolated from the city houses on either side. but, Kermit is now happy to just sit in the sun and watch me. He used to explore more. Maybe the fact that I mounted two dog cages in my front and back porch windows made them more used to the outside. Maybe that is why I had none of the problems you are having.

Have you tried just sitting on the steps for short periods holding the kitty and reassuring him? Maybe a treat during this process and then go back inside without letting his feet touch the ground? Slowly introduce him to the area right near you and work on enlarging this area? JMHO.
 

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After doing all of this daily and slowly over the course of a couple of weeks, I thought we were ready to go outside. I picked him up and walked out the door and he immediately started scrambling. when I put him down outside, he was just trying to get back in. He shimmied and crawled very low to the ground and made a beeline for the door and didn't stop until we were inside my apartment. It was a grassy area with fallen leaves on the ground. There were no other animals around, but it was near a treeline and water where I've seen bunnies, squirrels, geese, etc.

I don't HAVE to take him outside, and I don't want to force him if he wants no part of it, but shouldn't he have been a little more curious? He spends so much time on his kitty sill staring outside, I thought it would be a nice treat to take him out.


Should I give up on this after his first reaction, or should we keep trying? I don't want to do it just for me, so I'll stop if you think he'll just never enjoy it.

If you think we should keep trying, do you have any tips?
Keep trying, but take it slow. A cat has an acute sense of smell, so going out like that could have assulted his senses. Think perhaps of an overnoisy room; think of a giant dumping you there. Even a very friendly giant.

If you can, take him out and hold him for a while as you stand close to the door. Then take him in. Perhaps do this on several occasions. Then, if there's a concrete path or such, put him down on it and see what he does.

Missy is a rescue senior and an indoor cat. I have a balcony where she loves to sit and look out of the door. When the weather became warm enough I opened the door. She withdrew and sat at a distance. Then she went to the door and stuck her head out. It took a couple of weeks from then before she ventured out. Finally she made it to the far end of the balcony.

Saturday she followed me downstairs and went out of the door. Slowly. I had hoped she'd stay close because my health these days does not allow for cat chasing. But she started to wander, which seems to show that she'd adapted to the outside. I think time has allowed her to adjust to things like the myriad of smells a cat must encounter when it's outside

The outcome of her wander was luck because I moved something to try to get at her and she panicked and rushed back in giving me fearful glaces over her shoulder. She's a big cat and I'm not sure that I can get a harness for her; although a member here has given me a lead for made to size harnesses. I do want to be able to give her a walk now and then. Maybe next year.
 

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Buddy is an indoor cat but I wanted to walk him around the house to get him used to the scent should he ever bolt out the door. This guy loves his leash and harness. The first few times he walked where he wanted to go and that was fine, now he can be nudged in a general direction. This was a great help the day he snuck out and did his cheetah imitation. He returned in an hour, out of breath and nervous but he knew the way home. Some cats like it some don't, this guy is a natural.
 

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Discussion Starter #13
Keep trying, but take it slow. A cat has an acute sense of smell, so going out like that could have assulted his senses. Think perhaps of an overnoisy room; think of a giant dumping you there. Even a very friendly giant.

If you can, take him out and hold him for a while as you stand close to the door. Then take him in. Perhaps do this on several occasions. Then, if there's a concrete path or such, put him down on it and see what he does.

Missy is a rescue senior and an indoor cat. I have a balcony where she loves to sit and look out of the door. When the weather became warm enough I opened the door. She withdrew and sat at a distance. Then she went to the door and stuck her head out. It took a couple of weeks from then before she ventured out. Finally she made it to the far end of the balcony.

Saturday she followed me downstairs and went out of the door. Slowly. I had hoped she'd stay close because my health these days does not allow for cat chasing. But she started to wander, which seems to show that she'd adapted to the outside. I think time has allowed her to adjust to things like the myriad of smells a cat must encounter when it's outside

The outcome of her wander was luck because I moved something to try to get at her and she panicked and rushed back in giving me fearful glaces over her shoulder. She's a big cat and I'm not sure that I can get a harness for her; although a member here has given me a lead for made to size harnesses. I do want to be able to give her a walk now and then. Maybe next year.
Thanks for the tips!

The harness I got was "come with me kitty" and their website has exact sizes. the harness I bought for my kitten is a tiny bit big, but he didn't seem to be able to get out of it with everything adjusted to the smallest sizes. I figure since he just under 8 months, he probably still has a little growing left to do.

Their website not only gives all the measurements, but also shows you how to measure your cat to make sure their product fits. Unfortunately, instructions on getting the cat to sit still while you wrap them in the measuring tape aren't included!
 
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