The past few weeks here at the Second Chance shelter I’ve heard much chatter about a “big catwalk”. I found the thought of anyone organizing a group walk for cats to be quite comical, as most cats would find that as compelling as a cold bath or a tooth extraction. But I was curious, as cats can be, and so I decided to investigate.
Turns out the “big catwalk” was for the dumb dogs for their dumb fashion show during this Saturday’s (March 9th 5:30 PM) Furry Flicks & Fashion at the Ouray County Event Center. The shelter dogs are excited as they get to go show off and be all cool dog. While I would never want to participate in such a ludicrous activity I have been thinking more about going on a walk so I decided to investigate that further.
In my research I discovered that there is a growing, successful, trend toward taking cats outdoors in a safe and controlled manner. Some cats find this very appealing and enjoyable. Others do not.
Considering your cat’s personality will help determine whether he’ll enjoy outdoor excursions via cat harness. Curious and aloof cats may love it while the cautious xenophobe may prefer indoor games. The trick is getting us used to the harness.
There are many harnesses to choose from but most important is that is sits comfortably across the shoulders, under the tummy and doesn’t place a direct strain on the neck area. A harness that clips on the side and not under the tummy is easiest.
To get started, it’s truly about baby steps. Begin by simply leaving both the cat harness and leash lying around the house for feline inspection,using the leash as a toy to chase around the house. Be prepared for the cat spaz dance the first few times you get the harness on your cat (especially if you are starting with an adult cat who has never been subjected to such treatment before).
Try leaving it on daily for about 10 minutes for a few days, allowing your cat to feel comfortable wearing it. Then graduate to clipping the leash onto the cat harness and letting your cat drag it around the house. Once your cat starts ignoring both the harness and the leash try to slowly start walking him around the house.
There’s really no fixed rule as to how long it will take for a cat to feel comfortable stepping out the front door. But once it happens then where do you go? Remember, baby steps.
Some cats will want to prowl around and explore the hood while others will find that hanging under a bush watching insects and birds is a solid adventure. Let your cat take the lead and don’t push beyond his comfort level or the gig may be up.
My name is Sunny. I am a young, playful and fun boy. My adventurous side may make me a good candidate for a cat walk but don’t even think about putting me on the Furry Flicks catwalk. Ridiculous. Come meet me today! My sunny demeanor makes me a great candidate to be the furry flicker in your life. I don’t know if that last line works but I’m going with it.
Second Chance Humane Society Animal Resource Center and Thrift Shops service San Miguel, Ouray & Montrose Counties. Call the SCHS Helpline at 626-2273 to report a lost pet, learn about adopting a homeless pet, or about the SCHS Spay/Neuter, Volunteer, Feral Cat, or other Programs. View our shelter pets and services online: www.adoptmountainpets.org.