Tips for leash training your cat – Part 10

“Fifteen to twenty pounds,” the label said, but I wasn’t entirely convinced by the look of it that even all six easy-snap buckles and the loop-over-the-head chest restraint would be an ample enough contraption to keep Tipper from wheedling out of the $24.99 faux leopard skin harness. It was a dog harness. They don’t make cat harnesses for corpulent cats. Actually, he’s not fat, just a Maine Coon tipping the scales at 21 lbs. When he was a wee kitten the size of my forearm, we put the poodle’s harness on him and let him walk around with that until he was no longer bothered by the intrusion of the material. We took the contraption off and put it on over the course of several months until he outgrew it and the dog – a tea cup variety who can stand under the cat at this point. Training Tipper was not particularly difficult, but rather an exercise in familiarity and repetition, as in introducing him to each item and activity harness, leash, holding the leash, dragging him around on the tile, etc. – and simply repeating the process over and over again with the nonchalance and boredom similar to that reflected in his facial features and posture on those occasions when I use my baby voice to call him my shnooky-kins.’ I’m hard pressed to identify too many felines who don’t want to go outside, at least to some extent. Progressing to the out-of-doors a la leash was not an introduction that required a great deal of preparation on Tipper’s behalf, though to avoid the slinky backing-out-of-the-harness maneuver attempted at times usually when spooked territorial exploration was initially limited to the front and back yard and garden using a retractable leash. These days, Tipper and I stroll down the residential side walk with the dog in my arms. Taking a cat for a walk, by the way, brings new meaning to “Southern pace.’ I was able to look my doctor right in the eye and tell her I go for an hour walk every evening with the dog. Okay, so I omitted the fact that the walk only progresses about one block because it’s the cat on the leash and not the dog.

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