Harnesses problem

Gary O

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I have two house cats Timmy and Shani 10 and 9 months. I really want to take them out on leashes, but they won't let me put them on. A week or so ago I got their claws clipped and asked the vet nurse to help me put their harnesses on. I took them home so I could test how secure they are in the garden where I live, and they loved it. They didn't object to the leash and only attempted to go a bit further than it allowed and didn't push the issue. Since then I managed to get Shani to let me put the harness on once, and she had a little walk around the garden again, but Timmy is petrified of me putting it on him and today I tried Shani again and she resisted as well. I feel very disappointed and I have no one to help me on with them. Should I persevere? There is a very quiet pet parlour locally, I think it is an elderly person who only sees a few cats and dogs now and then and has a phone number on the door; wondering to ask her to help me. Otherwise I can keep trying or give up?
 

Furballsmom

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Should I persevere?
Absolutely :). If you have a treat they particularly like that you can give them while you're working on this with them, that will make all the difference.

Go very slowly, maybe don't even try to actually put it on at first, just drape it over them and then remove it right away. Tiny baby steps, with treats, and they'll figure it out.
 
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Gary O

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Ah, okay that's very helpful, I guess I thought they would remember the first walk and associate it with the harness. So its not to be scared of the harness first, if I get you right.
 
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Gary O

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Okay, will do. There are lots of places I want to take them to, I'm in the UK near sea, marshland with big creeks and lots of woods and meadows. Will just steer clear of dog walker areas
 
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Gary O

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Let us know how things progress - hopefully soon they'll be back outside :sunshine:
Thank you for your advice it is slowly working. I have been getting Timmy to take a treat through the head hole of the harness for a few days. Yesterday, I managed to get the harness on him without a great deal of trouble, unfortunately it was too tight and he couldn't move properly. I had tried to measure his chest but it was harder than putting the harness on, so just guessed. That was upsetting, but today having loosened it, I got it on again. He was very worried and after a few attempt to get him walking on the leash indoors I gave up and let him settle into it. I got Shani's on easily and took her for a walk in the garden whilst Timmy got used to his. She really loved it and didn't want to come in. I will try every day to let Timmy walk around the house with it on. Timmy was rescued when children had cut his tail in half, so he needs to conquer his fear of being under someones control; he hates being picked up and panics, even though he will sleep under the duvet with me. Thanks again! 👍
 
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Gary O

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It just takes perseverance and routine. Cats hate harnesses at first, just like collars, but getting them used to wearing them in the house first helps. Then when they learn finally it means going outside, they love them. This may take weeks to months. Cats hate ANY change!
Yes, I didn't expect Timmy to be so adverse to the idea. I had someone help me on with the harness the first time at the vets, took him home and gave him a walk round the garden, and he loved it; I thought he would be happy to put it on, so it confused me. Thank you for pointing that out, I think I have still been impatient. I will let him get used to it in his own time and persevere with putting it on in the apartment.
Thank you 👍
 

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Your doing great! Once you get to the point where they realize outside is what the harness means you'll be off to the races!

Though, this may mean they resist on a day they wouldn't like to go out :)
 
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Gary O

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Your doing great! Once you get to the point where they realize outside is what the harness means you'll be off to the races!

Though, this may mean they resist on a day they wouldn't like to go out :)
Thank you!
Shani is okay already, she's deaf and a riotous, little minx; not scared of anything, just plays up if she fancies it. Timmy is all tough and alpha around the house, its hard to realise he has a few fears. He is learning to be loving with Shani and me I don't think he has had that before.
Yes, well prepared for the mood swings lol
 

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The type of harness helps & you need your cat completely comfortable wearing a harness inside the house first. I like the Velcro vests like the kitty holster for ease of putting on/taking off.

Have I mentioned lots of treats, every time you take the harness off? Food and play while he wears the harness inside the house, to distract a bit, can help. Have you tried 3-5 temptations treats in Timmy’s favorite flavor when you take the harness off?

Here are pictures of Jackie in his kitty holster harness (yes even as a kitten) & his brother Nick in purple. I trained them to wear a vest in the house, then to drag a short leash around the house & then let them go outside. Jackie sleeps, eats, rolls around, walks/runs & even climbs trees in his harness. It just takes times and patience (measure your cat before you buy a harness.)
 

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Gary O

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Thanks for that, they look really nice those harnesses, I haven't seen any like that. I'm in the UK and I looked at a lot before I bought two Rabbitgoo harnesses the other day. Both Shani and Timmy are very energetic and have their own crazy agendas, the harnesses I bought first were useless it took them both about a minute to get out of them, so I was looking for something escape proof. Shani went out in hers this morning and she seemed comfortable and didn't attempt to get out of it, and Timmy whilst in the house has it will be a bit loose. He was comfortable with it this morning but he looked so worried I only left it on for ten minutes. They are both a good fit so I'm quite pleased with them.
They have a variety of treats, some I make myself but I get a supermarket brand like the Temptations, and yes, I reward them for letting me put them on and when I take them off. I'm pleased with todays session and looking forward to another go tomorrow :) 👍
 
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Gary O

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Disappointed this morning, Timmy has caught on to my treat trick of getting his head in the harness. Think I need an easier one to put on :(
 
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Gary O

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Managed to get it on this evening, but discovered its too small; not in chest or neck, but between the two along the spine. Ordered another.
 

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I remember I had that issue with my boy as well.

When I finally got it on him, he then did the "OOOOHHHH this is horrible I'm going to die right here this thing is going to murder me" and he flopped right over flat on his side LOL to the point that I could have (didn't) dragged him along the floor, the big goof :lol:

Anyway, we got past that and eventually to the point that you're looking for, where he realized the harness meant a good time outside :)
 
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