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Her health, safety, and happiness have always been important to me – and I have discussed bonding with her at length with friends, with the rescue adoption counselors, and with our vet. I have never had a young kitten before and especially with this much intention to have her for keeps. We want her to be an indoor cat, and to have a long, safe, healthy life. Her satisfaction and happiness are important for me, especially since I work from home and I’m nearly the sole caregiver for both pets.
Juniper is five-months-old and it’s been great. She watches the outside world with fascination, but since we live in the woods, there are too many predators in our woods and even in our yard for us to let her out. I had been wondering lately if there was an easier way to take her in public, rather than stuffing her in a crate and hoping for the best. I don’t want her to associate the outside world with just fear (and the vet) but I also hadn’t known how to open her world without putting her in danger. I talked to our vet about ten things to consider before walking a cat on a harness (no collar) and got great tips.
Know your cat! Most kittens can be trained on a harness or leash. Most will appreciate it too, but if you suspect your cat has a history of trouble with the outdoors or leashes, or anything at all that might spook her, that should give you pause first.
Buy your cat a harness, but not a collar. Cats can climb in ways that dogs cat, and a standard collar could hurt your cat, while a breakaway collar could detach. Cats can find their way out of leashes in ways most dog can’t!
Start slow! Baby steps. Dogs are easier in this respect, I think, but the first time we took Juniper out on a harness and leash, she had NO idea what was happening. Her heart was pounding! We just went around the yard, and she calmed.
Expect setbacks. As a cat owner, you probably already know this!
Use treats! Kittens generally do respond to food treats, verbal praise, and affection praise. Do your harness/leash training sessions when your cat is hungry – or if your cat is like mine – that could be all day. Break treats into small pieces.
Get used to putting your harness and leash on your cat INSIDE, and make sure it’s snug and not tight. Once you put the harness on, instantly praise your cat and give him or her a treat. Continue the treats with every new step in the harness.
Once your cat seems comfortable and is walking around in the harness, THEN, step outside the door. Stay close to the front door at first, and then stay close to quieter areas. Outside noises can be so jarring at first. This takes baby steps.
Make sure your cat doesn’t pick up anything in his or her mouth. It can be dangerous.
Coax your kitty farther on each outing, continue the verbal praise and treats, and keep exploring. If it doesn’t work after some time, you can explore other alternatives like cat strollers, or outdoor, enclosed spaces for cats.
Never leave your cat unattended outside.
Juniper was found by our local animal shelter, and she was malnourished, dehydrated, and only one pound when found. They nursed her back to health, and we were lucky to adopt her. One thing I love about her is that people know we have a cat. She doesn’t run away or hide. She explores people, so it’s only natural that I felt she could safely explore the outdoors. When we first got her, I got so much advice about the proper food to feed her. I took it seriously, because her health is a priority. Since I love Stop & Shop so much as is for my family, I was so happy to find a wide range of natural and healthy pet products.
On Sunday, October 16th, there will be money-saving coupons on Purina Beyond products in your local Sunday newspaper. Here are a few: 1. You can get $2 off any size Beyond Dry cat food. 2. $1 off the Variety Pack of wet cat food – Buy 3, Get 1 Free. 3. You can find $2 off Any Size Beyond Dry cat food. 4. Lastly for Wet Dog Food: Buy 5, Get 1 on any Beyond Ground or In Gravy Canned Products, Buy 1, Get 1 on any Beyond Purees, $1 off Beyond Ground Entrees Variety Pack.
We use Purina Cat Chow Naturals, Beyond Natural Wet Cat Food, Beyond Purees or Beyond Natural Purees, & Purina DentaLife. We use them as *health and wellness aids, and to continue enjoying the benefits of these products.
I try to make smart decisions with Juniper because she means a lot to me. The importance of her happiness through walking outside was key for me to continue that journey. The importance of her *health and wellness maintenance is what makes me purchase selections from Purina, such as Beyond cat and dog food, and DentaLife products as well.
*Not to be taken as professional veterinary advice. Please consult your veterinarian for recommendations and practices appropriate for your pet.