Most cats I know do not like getting into their carrier. They also yowl and cry and thrash at the mere sight of a harness. Most cats don’t like to walk on a leash. But most cats are not Maui.
I recently met Maui at an adoption event. His cage was right next to where I was selling books, and he seemed to be curious about everything around him. He caught the eye of Erin, who was there to find a companion for herself and her 15 year old mixed breed dog, Merlin. Maui was one of the lucky ones. He found his forever home! Not only does he adore his new companions, but he also gets to explore the big, wide outdoors with them. They all take daily trips to a nearby park where Maui can safely climb trees and stalk squirrels. Such fun!
Maui took to being transported in a backpack and walking on a leash easily. Here’s some of Erin’s tips how you can train your cat to do the same.
1. Gather treats you know your cat loves, and rank them from mildly exciting to mind-blowing! Treats may be food, toys, praise, etc.
2. Put the harness on your cat and immediately offer the lowest value reward. Leave the harness on for just a few minutes, then take it off. Repeat several more times over the next few hours.
3. The next day, leave the harness on a little longer. Reward. Repeat.
4. If you can get your cat to play or eat a meal with the harness on, that’s great! It took Maui about a week to get to this point.
5. Now, to go outside, start with taking your cat outside for a super short time. Offer one of the higher value treats. Return inside before your cat is stressed.
6. Slowly build up the length of time, as long as your cat is enjoying the adventure.
Be sure you have the proper fitting equipment for your outings.
This is the cat backpack/carrier Erin uses.
Here is the cat harness and leash Maui likes.
I hope this helps you have some fun adventures with your cat, and helps your cat enjoy some safe and stimulating time exploring outdoors.
Note: We were not compensated in any way by recommending these products. Opinions expressed here are 100% my own (and Erin and Maui’s!).