If you are among the 36,117,000 lucky households with a cat, you may have pondered the idea of taking your feline friend with you on your next walk around the block. And if you are among the more adventurous cat owners, you may have invested in a leash or harness for your cat. If so, you may have discovered the hard way that your cat does not like being attached to a leash or wearing a harness. Below are seven ways a leash or harness can stress out your cat.
1) Cats do not like to lose their sense of control
"A sense of control is very important to cats and being walked on a collar or harness prevents them from having control. It may be more difficult for them to be able to move away or hide from anything which might scare or worry them."
- Spokeswoman for the Royal Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (RSPCA)
The average cat has a very strong sense of control. A spokesperson for the RSPCA recently commented on the negative impact that a leash or harness can have on a cat's sense of control. A fairly stern opinion was issued, with the spokesperson noting that "The RSPCA wouldn't recommend that cats are walked outside in this way (with a harness or leash)."
2) Cats are not accustomed to having anything on their backs
Most cats have never experienced the sensation of having a harness on their backs - and they do not like it. They may freeze up or become resistant to wearing a harness because they do not respond well to forced restraint. They may even sustain an injury by attempting to squirm out of a harness or collar as you are attempting to place it on your cat.
3) Your cat can easily get itself tangled in a leash or harness
The petMD team notes that the stressors of a leash or harness extend beyond mental anguish. For example, pedMD notes that, "Your cat might panic and get itself tangled in the leash." This can be particularly dangerous for cats, some of whom have delicate necks and are at an increased risk for thin or fragile skin.
4) Cats are at a greater risk for danger when on a leash
"City parks are filled with dogs, some of which are running off-leash, many of which consider cats prey. Pet owners who don't have a clue how to handle a cat that suddenly bolts are setting themselves up for the risk of a deadly situation."
- Dave Baker, Petful
A cat on a leash navigating a street that is crowded with people, bikes, cars, and other animals leave cats at an increased risk for harm. Here are just a few of the dangers to which cats walking on a leash may be exposed:
- Attacks by dogs that are not secured on a leash
- Nails, broken glass, and other debris that could cut a cat's paws
- Erratic driving and risk of injury by bikers and car drivers who may not see a cat traveling by foot
5) A harness can trigger an unpleasant survival response in cats
Instincts run deep in cats, with many cats responding to tactile stimuli as they would to an encounter in the wild. The Happy Cats Haven team notes that some cats equate the sensation of a harness with the sensation of being clutched by a hunter, stating that "Many cats will fall over or freeze when they feel the harness because it triggers a survival response that they would employ if grabbed by a predator."
6) Cats do not like for you to tell them where to go
Cats are considered by many researchers to be a highly independent animal species that do not rely on their human owners for reassurance in the same way dogs do. Given their predisposition for independence, it is not surprising that cats are often resistant to being put on a leash. David Grimm, the author of "Citizen Canine: Our Evolving Relationship with Cats and Dogs," notes that cats do not like leashes because "They don't like you telling them where to go."
7) Many harnesses do not fit properly
As humans, we can simply avoid wearing a shirt or a vest if it is too tight or uncomfortable. Cats are unable to tell you verbally if a harness feels too tight or if they do not like the way the material feels against their fur or skin. They may simply run from you if they spot you holding a harness or put up a fight if you try to force them to wear an uncomfortable harness.
What is the best solution for cat owners who wish to take their cats outdoors?
"The solution lies in what we've already done with dogs for decades: We need to start walking our cats. I'm not saying that you should put your cat on a leash like we did. They don't like you telling them where to go. But we should let our cats outside for 30 to 60 minutes a day..."
- David Grimm, Author of "Citizen Canine: Our Evolving Relationship With Cats and Dogs."
If you are among the countless cat owners who are longing for a leash-free, harness-free means of taking your cat with you on your next outdoor stroll, then you are in luck! The pet stroller was designed to make it possible for cat owners to give their cats a welcome taste of the outdoors safely and securely.
A ride in the pet stroller provides cats with the ability to enjoy their outdoor surroundings without being tied to a leash or enduring the unpleasant sensation of a harness on their back. Best of all, you and your cat can travel at the same pace and you can enjoy the peace of mind that comes with knowing that your cat is protected from harm. We invite you to contact us to discover the many benefits of our pet stroller. We look forward to hearing from you!