Harness training issue with my cat

Clro

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Ive been trying to make my cat adapt to a harness because i sometimes find her staring at the outdoor door BUT shes too young, shes 3 months old and the outsides are too dangerous for her. I usually put a few treats on the floor and hold her while i put the harness but she moves back as soon as it touches her so i have to pick her up which i absolutely hate doing because i know she doesn't like it! When its on i usually give more treats or her favorite food so she gets motivated to move and stuff but she refuses to move and starts meowing but i feel like the harness is important for her since she wants to see the outsides... Its been a week like this and today i took her to the balcony and she smelled everything but after 5 mins she hid and started meowing so i picked her up but she was very stressed to the point she didn't even want treats?? So i let her be, shes now sleeping and im giving her a bit of space.. i dunno what to do
 

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Are you sure the harness is adjusted to the right size of your kitten? Not too tight?
Yes, the first attempts to put a harness on a kitten might lead to weird reactions, like loud meowing, or the cat tipping on a side as if she was dead.
I believe three months is the right age to have her adjusted and used to the harness.
You only have to insist and make sure the harness isn't too tight around her neck and chest.
 

Furballsmom

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Hi!
I'd wait regarding the harness. Leave things for a while then gradually start by touching her back but don't do anything else, and not for very long. When she is comfortable with that, start touching her head but only briefly and don't do anything else.

After she's comfortable with that, try putting your hand underneath her tummy but don't do anything else and not for very long.

Eventually try a brief lift and put her down right away.

After a while of this, she should be more comfortable with being picked up.

Leave the harness lying on the floor somewhere so she can see it and sniff it.

Since she got scared on the balcony, I think taking her outside should be put off for a few months--she's not ready. When you see that she's feeling ok on the balcony, then start again with the harness. Use the same slow process described above
 

Box of Rain

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If it helps, my Desmond--who from the beginning was one of those cats who gazes out the windows (and is perched in one doing that right now) and who hovers by doors dreaming of getting OUTSIDE!, would totally flop over and act as if he'd been totally paralyzed when I first introduced a harness.

It was so extreme that it bordered on comedy. But when it was time, I just started taking the immobilized cat out with me into the yard as I did my yard-chores and weeding. I'd plop him in a bed and he would not move. Worked for me. LOL

But I could also see him enjoying the sun and the smells--and in time the "hunting" opportunities were a greater driver than the faux-immobilization effect of the harness.

In recent weeks we've had breakthroughs. He is beginning to "walk" on a lead (baby-steps, but wow!) and he is now at times exploring the well-secured backyard (under observation) with harness-only. It inhibits him just enough for me to feel this is "safe" if I have eyes on him. Most of the time outdoors I will have him on a long lead that he can drag.

He loves being outdoors so much that he will now run to the door and wait for me to get put on his harness (which I can't claim that he "loves" on its own) as he does associate the harness with "good things." And in this case the "good thing" is getting to spend some time in nature.

All in good time. Keep it positive.

Bill
 
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Clro

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Are you sure the harness is adjusted to the right size of your kitten? Not too tight?
Yes, the first attempts to put a harness on a kitten might lead to weird reactions, like loud meowing, or the cat tipping on a side as if she was dead.
I believe three months is the right age to have her adjusted and used to the harness.
You only have to insist and make sure the harness isn't too tight around her neck and chest.
I read a finger should fit between the cat neck and the harness so i did that, is that okay?
 
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Clro

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Hi!
I'd wait regarding the harness. Leave things for a while then gradually start by touching her back but don't do anything else, and not for very long. When she is comfortable with that, start touching her head but only briefly and don't do anything else.

After she's comfortable with that, try putting your hand underneath her tummy but don't do anything else and not for very long.

Eventually try a brief lift and put her down right away.

After a while of this, she should be more comfortable with being picked up.

Leave the harness lying on the floor somewhere so she can see it and sniff it.

Since she got scared on the balcony, I think taking her outside should be put off for a few months--she's not ready. When you see that she's feeling ok on the balcony, then start again with the harness. Use the same slow process described above
Alr tysm!! She usually lets herself be picked up by me with no problem, i guess its because she was stressed but ya ill try to restart the harness process
 
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Clro

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If it helps, my Desmond--who from the beginning was one of those cats who gazes out the windows (and is perched in one doing that right now) and who hovers by doors dreaming of getting OUTSIDE!, would totally flop over and act as if he'd been totally paralyzed when I first introduced a harness.

It was so extreme that it bordered on comedy. But when it was time, I just started taking the immobilized cat out with me into the yard as I did my yard-chores and weeding. I'd plop him in a bed and he would not move. Worked for me. LOL

But I could also see him enjoying the sun and the smells--and in time the "hunting" opportunities were a greater driver than the faux-immobilization effect of the harness.

In recent weeks we've had breakthroughs. He is beginning to "walk" on a lead (baby-steps, but wow!) and he is now at times exploring the well-secured backyard (under observation) with harness-only. It inhibits him just enough for me to feel this is "safe" if I have eyes on him. Most of the time outdoors I will have him on a long lead that he can drag.

He loves being outdoors so much that he will now run to the door and wait for me to get put on his harness (which I can't claim that he "loves" on its own) as he does associate the harness with "good things." And in this case the "good thing" is getting to spend some time in nature.

All in good time. Keep it positive.

Bill
Tysm!! Sadly i don't have a yard but a balcony ^^" ill try to get her out a few minutes a day tho!
 

Box of Rain

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I read a finger should fit between the cat neck and the harness so i did that, is that okay?
Perfect, but no looser than that--especially when you go outside. Cats are notoriously good at squeezing out of harnesses--especially ones designed for small dogs, but no harness is 100%.

For maximal safety, they do need to quite snug.

If you are indoor-conditioning, you could ease into a tighter and more secure fit.

Bill
 

Box of Rain

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Tysm!! Sadly i don't have a yard but a balcony ^^" ill try to get her out a few minutes a day tho!
Anything that makes the advantages of being in a harness outweigh cat's natural inclination to hate wearing them, leads to positive conditioning. Do it at your pace and try to create opportunities that are so enjoyable that the kitty is won over to the idea that harness = fun.

Could be a new toy, or something fun to sniff, or crawl on. Anything that your kitty really loves.

And just take it slowly.

Bill
 
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Clro

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Anything that makes the advantages of being in a harness outweigh cat's natural inclination to hate wearing them, leads to positive conditioning. Do it at your pace and try to create opportunities that are so enjoyable that the kitty is won over to the idea that harness = fun.

Could be a new toy, or something fun to sniff, or crawl on. Anything that your kitty really loves.

And just take it slowly.

Bill
She could really use it as a toy since she loves cords and stuff!! Tysm, such a good idea
 

Box of Rain

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She could really use it as a toy since she loves cords and stuff!! Tysm, such a good idea
Perfect. Get the new toy, save it for harness-time play.

Engage in play only so long as it is highly positive and then reserve the "good thing" until your next session.

In my limited experience, it took a while to overcome Desmond's natural aversion to the harness, but it is paying off with ongoing improvements.

Being an "outdoor" cat is too risky for me in our situation, and he loves to be outside, so the harness is a good compromise (and worth the efforts for me).

Bill
 

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I would definitely stick to harness training and not leave a cat out unsupervised. There are big risks with unsupervised cats outside.

You've got some really good advice so far and you can see what works for her.

1. She might look outside constantly but not actually want to go. (Calcifer is like this) Go at her pace in any case.

2. Can try a different harness. Either way make sure you're giving her ample time to explore the harness with sniffs etc.

3. Let her get used to the sounds and smells of outside through the window. Then, let her explore small areas. You can use outdoor furniture to make a space appear smaller if you don't have a fenced yard or your yard is quite large. Patios, balconies and porches are GREAT first areas if available.

4. Bring the outside in. This helps the smells be less overwhelming at first too. Bring leave or plants or other items in to let her explore under supervision. Toss back outside afterwards.
 

Antonio65

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Some cats can find the harness scary if it closes with velcro because of the horrible sound it makes when you open it.
Those with plastic buckles are better in my opinion.
 

lrc

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Ive been trying to make my cat adapt to a harness because i sometimes find her staring at the outdoor door BUT shes too young, shes 3 months old and the outsides are too dangerous for her. I usually put a few treats on the floor and hold her while i put the harness but she moves back as soon as it touches her so i have to pick her up which i absolutely hate doing because i know she doesn't like it! When its on i usually give more treats or her favorite food so she gets motivated to move and stuff but she refuses to move and starts meowing but i feel like the harness is important for her since she wants to see the outsides... Its been a week like this and today i took her to the balcony and she smelled everything but after 5 mins she hid and started meowing so i picked her up but she was very stressed to the point she didn't even want treats?? So i let her be, shes now sleeping and im giving her a bit of space.. i dunno what to do
I have had multiple experiences with harnesses. One played dead; one scratched and bit; one took to it with few problems, and my newest is wearing it for short periods. Each reacts differently! We did start by just putting it nearby with treats moving to putting it on for 5 mins at a time, etc. etc. but one of our cats now waits patiently for his "outdoor suit" so he can go for his daily walks.

For years all of my cats were indoor outdoor with full access to outdoors via a pet door. Then we moved and 3 were only outside in our super secure yard. Now we have moved again to a place of dangerous birds, coyotes, etc. and none are allowed out without supervision. Our oldest 2 can't jump, so they could go outside unharnessed, but our younger must wear a harness + lead if he wants to go out. He now sits and waits to get dressed. One has decided she doesn't want to go out any more though she sits by a window all day watching the bird show.

My point--even though your cat is gazing longingly through the window, they may not want to go out. We have a small catio for our cats (because they were allowed to free roam til we moved here) and only two of them use it.
 
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