Need some help harness training your cat? We got you covered!
When you're first introducing your cat to their harness, wait until they are in a good mood and feeling calm and relaxed. Ideally, they should be laying down and purring, rather than running around and playing.
Buckle them in to the harness (without the leash) and adjust the straps to ensure it fits comfortably. It should be snug, but not so tight that it digs in to your cat’s sides. Immediately reward your cat with praise and their favorite treat.
Your cat will likely slump over or try to squirm out of the harness. Don’t be concerned — they are merely reacting to a strange, new object being on their body. Continue to reward your cat with pets and treats (or whatever they respond to best).
If they seem extraordinarily uncomfortable, take the harness off, and try again the next day. Each day, keep the harness on your cat for a little bit longer. They will slowly get used to the feeling.
To help normalize how your cat feels in the harness, engage them in some of their favorite daily activities: feed your cat while they wear the harness, and play with them with their favorite toys.
Do not rush adding the leash, clipping your cat into their cat backpack, or taking them outside. The more time you give your cat to adjust to wearing their harness indoors, the easier everything that follows will be.
Some cats may always resist being put into a harness, but will be fine once in their cat backpacks outside. The earlier you can start your cat in the harness, the better — but it's also never too late to try.
Remember, only you know your cat best, and every cat is different. Don't get frustrated with the process, patience and consistency are key whenever it comes to new things with pets!