Is it too late to harness train my cat? That’s the first question you’ll ask yourself if you’ve decided to start taking your cat for walks and have never put it on a harness before.
Cats are curious animals and instinctively run after whatever has caught their attention. For that reason, you must have them on a harness and leash while going for a walk or a hike.
Your cat might have gotten used to wearing a collar since it was a kitten, but that won’t work when going outside. It would be very easy for them to wiggle out of it with a sudden movement. That’s why it’s important to have them on a harness instead of a collar when exploring the outside world.
When domesticating a cat, it is easier for them to learn how to do something or incorporate a habit if we start teaching them as kittens. However, it’s possible to train an adult cat to use a harness. You just have to be patient and consistent.
Why cats don’t like cat harnesses
Cats are very instinctive animals. The main reason why they won’t like to be put on a harness is that they will feel trapped.
They are simply not comfortable with having anything on their bodies. The sudden foreign object triggers their survival instinct.
After putting on a harness, your cat will freeze, fall to the floor or stop moving. When they are attacked by a predator, their instinct triggers these same reactions.
You need to help your cat navigate these new and strange feelings. Eventually, your cat will get familiar with having a harness on.
Is it too late to harness train my cat?
It’s important to understand that it will take time, patience and hard work to train your cat to use a harness.
It’s not too late to harness train your cat if you understand that every cat is different. There is no specific timeframe to complete the training successfully.
If your cat is a kitten, it will probably get used to the harness sooner than an adult cat. It could take several weeks, even months for cats to get comfortable with the harness.
In order to train your cat to use a harness, you’ll have to start slowly. At first, it’s better to put a harness on your cat for short periods without the leash.
You can give them treats only when they have the harness on. This way, they will associate the harness with receiving traits and will cooperate more.
Another way to train your cat is to distract them while they have the harness on. Playing with their favorite toys is an excellent way to help your cat forget that there is something strange on their body.
You can gradually increase the periods of time your cat has the harness on until you notice your cat is totally comfortable with it. Then you can attach the leash and walk around for short distances at first.
Depending on the kind of harness you chose for your cat, the time it would take for your pet to accept it will differ. If you have an adult that’s never used a harness before, maybe you should start with an H harness. Something your cat won’t feel trapped in.
Remember the H harness has the least contact with your cat’s body and gives much movement freedom. Once your cat has accepted it, you can try other kinds of harnesses that will cover more parts of your cat’s body.
Don’t forget that this will take time. Is it too late to harness train your cat? The answer is no, but it would be rare if your cat accepts the harness on the first try.
Does harness training work every time?
In time, it is possible that your cat will tolerate the feeling of the harness, especially in adult cats. The association with receiving traits or going outside are great incentives.
However, even after stating that it is not too late to harness train your cat, it’s important to accept that some cats never grow to love having a harness on. On such occasions, you and your cat will just have to live happy and harness-free.