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Tips: Mistakes to avoid when walking your cat with a cat harness

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The most important thing is that going outside on a cat harness is an added value for your cat and that it can be done safely!
That is why we give you an overview of frequently made mistakes, so you can avoid them.

- Buy the cat harness the kitten can grow into:
Just as children grow out of their clothes, kittens still grow out of their harness. But buying the 'future' size means that your kitten will still be able to escape until it has grown enough and has a girth that is within the range for which that size of cat harness is safe.
Nevertheless, it is important that you do not wait too long to get them used to going outside on a harness. So preferably start from 5 or 6 months.
Just like a baby has 'first shoes', your kitten will have her 'first harness' ;-)

- A very long leash or retractable lead (flexi):
While it may seem nice to give your cat a lot of space to explore, it is not necessarily a good idea to go for a long lead or retractable lead. Cats are very fast and agile. In no time (faster than you can respond) her line is tangled up in the bushes, she's in the tree, she's hanging over the patio railing, tangled between the legs of the patio chairs, or the line is around her body or neck.
This can be very dangerous. Therefore choose a classic leash. If you are nevertheless considering a long leash, do it only if you and your cat already have a lot of experience with walking on a leash, your cat has proven not to panic easily in unexpected situations and in an environment where there is little possibility for the above risks.

- Your cat on a leash in the garden, but alone:
Your cat is curious and often (even) more worried about sounds, movements in the environment or unknown smells when you are not around. They can then have fast and thoughtless reflexes and get stuck in their leash. Not only can this be traumatic, but it can also cause injuries (or worse) to the legs and neck. There is also a chance that they will get out of their harness if there is no one to keep the leash tight. Also read above information regarding long lines.

- Set expectations too high:
A cat that goes with you literally everywhere on a leash is of course a beautiful dream.
And yes, very occasionally that becomes the truth. But that is certainly not for the majority of cats. Your cat is by nature a territorial that leaves its territory as little as possible. Of course there are a lot of cats who really like going out on a leash and it is certainly an enrichment for them!
But for some this is limited to sitting and walking on the terrace or garden, the peaceful local park, visiting (usually the same) friends or family or on a trip to a peaceful holiday home.
Dreaming is allowed, but keep your dreams realistic and look carefully at the boundaries that your cat indicates.

- With 2 cats on a walk on a splitter:
A 'splitter' is a duo extension for a leash, so you can walk with 2 animals on 1 lead.
Not all dogs like this, but it works fine with some dog duos.
But not in cats. Even though they are good buddies, cats are not group animals, do not hunt in groups and therefore do not like being made physically dependent on each other. Cats are also so fast and flexible that they would quickly become entangled. There is also a good chance that it is stressful and that they will then release that stress on each other. You definitely want to avoid that.

- Harness with too much impact on comfort:
Of course, every harness has 'an' impact on comfort, because cats prefer to walk freely.
That is why it is important to choose a harness that impacts comfort as little as possible. So harnesses that give as little as possible an oppressive feeling (such as 'corset-harnesses'), harnesses that are around the neck or harnesses with thin straps because they can cut.

- Avoid Velcro and Mesh:
Also avoid harnesses with Velcro fasteners. Because many cats react anxiously to velcro noise and because the velcro will in time not close properly ('stick') anymore due to the cat fur that gets caught in it.
We also do not recommend mesh harnesses, which is why we do not recommend the Tre ponti Liberta mesh harnesses for cats. The nails can get stuck in them when they scratch thenselves.
Not a disaster in itself, because they are very easy to release. But cats that are on a leash are in a higher state of alert, so they are more likely to panic if their freedom of movement is unexpectedly restricted due to her nail (ie paw) is stuck.

- Only use cat harnesses:
It seems obvious, but now and then we get the question whether starting to practice with a collar is an option. No ... cats can react very strongly if they are pulled / steered or restricted in movement around the neck. So they should always be guided by the chest (or mainly guide you that :-))
Occasionally the Tre Ponti Fibbia is also offered for cats (instead of the Tre Ponit Liberta). The Fibbia is similar to the Liberta, but does not have a cord closure so it will not adjust (narrow the harness) if your cat makes itself narrow, so this is not a safe harness for cats.

©Milaya – PurrFect Design – Karin Weuts

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