Unaccompanied cat on harness

Maruna

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Hi all,
After my kitten is neutered at 6 months old I want to let her explore outdoors. She’s currently an indoor cat who spends some time in the garden and is very keen to get outside. I don’t want her to be let loose outside because I’m afraid she may not return as we have many strays that are fed by neighbours at the end of my street and she may not come home then. I was thinking of purchasing a harness for her and clipping an extra long retractable dog lead to it that allows her to travel relatively far with one end tied to my house door. My backstreet is pretty empty with only few cars so she is unlikely to be run over and will probably just explore the gardens next door. In that way she can have fun and exercise and I have peace of mind that she can’t have wandered too far and is likely to return as she is tied to the lead. Is this safe? I’ve tried to find info online about cats going freely on a lead without walking them but can’t find anything. Hoping someone here has some advice.
 

BriLee

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I’m not sure how likely it would happen again, but I remember a girl in my neighborhood growing up had a cat that she walked on a leash. One day it got away from her and someone else found it hanging from something. Luckily they found it in time and the cat seemed ok. I like the idea in theory but would be worried about the cat getting tangled or hung up on something.
 

Maurey

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Definitely a bad idea to let your cat out on a harness and lead without supervision. Strangulation could happen, and a flexi lead malfunction can cause damage to limbs if the lead loops around the legs. Either walk your cat, with supervision, in a harness, catproof your garden (or build a catio), or keep her indoors.
 

fionasmom

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John Perram John Perram I have noticed that you are very resourceful!

I had three cats who went outside on harnesses and lightweight dog leads. The leads were attached to dog tieouts so that they could roam a little bit BUT they only did it in my back yard which was completely enclosed and only if I were home watching them and sitting outside working. I would not trust a cat to roam on a lead at will or randomly.
 

John Perram

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John Perram John Perram I have noticed that you are very resourceful!

I had three cats who went outside on harnesses and lightweight dog leads. The leads were attached to dog tieouts so that they could roam a little bit BUT they only did it in my back yard which was completely enclosed and only if I were home watching them and sitting outside working. I would not trust a cat to roam on a lead at will or randomly.
I have had cats throughout my entire life. I'm 64 years old now and lost my Batman who was like my kid. I'm currently nursing his sister with kidney failure and hyper thyroid. I have a cat tent out in my garage it pops up and stakes down my cats loved the thing on summer days.
 
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Maruna

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A cat tent sounds like a great idea for the summer John Perram John Perram .
What length lead did u purchase fionasmom fionasmom ? A lead that is of medium length means she will mostly just be able to remain in the garden and I will only let her out while I am in the kitchen so I can be aware of where she is.
 

John Perram

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I've had all my cats squirm out of harnesses. They have a way to twist out of things so be carefull.
 

Jcatbird

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Please don’t let your cat out on a harness or an unbreakable collar. I discovered a neighbor cat caught and it was too late to save her. A catio is the safest way to give them free time outside.
 

colbey

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I agree with the others--leads/harnesses/collars can be too dangerous.
Blue showed up at our house and started eating the food we put out for the neighborhood ferals. She was very skittish, so we couldn't get close to her for some time. Looking at her from the deck door, we thought she had a white collar on. When she finally let me get close enough to really see, I saw it wasn't a collar...but HAD been. All the fur in a ring around her neck had been worn off, and we were seeing her white skin. I don't know if she had a breakaway collar on or not, but I believe that she nearly died trying to get it off. Either she got caught on something, or--because she was pretty young--the collar had simply grown too tight. I don't know if she got out, got lost, or was...tossed out. We weren't able to find her owners (who obviously cared enough about her to PUT a collar on her).
Anyway, just another argument for No Collar.
I like the cat tent (link to purchase site?), but it's not quite what I'd want because it doesn't give the cat/s access to the ground. There's probably a bunch of reasons I shouldn't let them, but most cats I've had (or had around) liked to roll around in the grass. And, yeah, sometimes they'd eat a bit.
My sister had very small dogs, and she had a similar thing--a kind of covered "dog run" so the girls could get a bit more fresh air and exercise. That was less because the dogs might run away, and more because of the large birds (owls, hawks, etc.) who would have found them to be a nice "snack-size."
 

fionasmom

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I used a lightweight dog leash, about 5 feet, and had that attached to a lightweight tie out of about 10 feet. This was attached to one of the screw in the ground heavy duty stakes that are used for dog tieouts. As for harnesses, you do have to find one that is impossible for escape and even at that I would not leave the cat unattended or go in the house even briefly. Do not use a flexi lead or any expandable kind if you are going to do this. You have to take a good look at your property to see what access the cat might have to hide or try to escape, get caught somewhere, attempt to jump, etc.

My current cats don't go out at all. It was time consuming to sit out with them and watch, which is really your only option, so the present generation stay inside.

Fiona herself was one of the ones who went outside. A hawk did make an attempt once to fly at her but I saw him, as did the crows I feed, and we dispensed with him pretty quickly.
 

Purr-fect

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Dont do it unless you sit with your cat at the same time.

I spent many many hours outside with my two cats. They wore harnesses and were connected to long lightweight nylon leads. The cats had to be watched constantly. They could quickly wrap their lead around a tree, plant, chair (almost any object) and pull against the harness and back out.

They would also tangle the harness while exploring and then only have a foot or two of it left at the end. This would cause them to struggle and panic.

Another problem with the lead is it wont allow them to run away if attacked. They are basically trapped and easy prey.

If you are going to put you cat on a lead, you MUST sit with it.

I have now built an enclosure for my boys. They are happier and safer. And I still sit with them. There are so many dangers outside for cats.

20170731_195059.jpg
 

Kflowers

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Tie outs aren't really a good idea. I've known several people who lost their dogs to tie outs. A cat isn't a dog, in fact, a cat is easier prey than a dog when it's tied out in a yard. Stray dogs, the neighbors' dogs, hawks, the neighbors, evil children. The cat can't escape and really can't fight whatever jumps it.

It's like tying a goat out to catch a tiger.
 
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