Welcome to another miserable Monday. It’s time fur another Educational Service Cat Posty. Our last few posts have dealt with training specifics dat are good fur all cats and kittens, not just Service Cats; and today’s post will be no different. We got some great questions dat we’ll be dealin’ with fur da next couple of weeks, but ‘member to ask your questions, so we can get them answered too. Now, ifin you’ve missed any of da posts in this series you can ketch up by clickin’ da links below. We do suggest befur you begin trainin’ kitty to purrform any task dat you start with mommy’s Foundation which you can read ‘bout in Part 2, Training Foundations. As with all our educational posts da followin’ will be in human English, so get your coffee, note pad and let’s get to it.
Now that you’re all caught up, let’s get to our question. Our friends from Toby’s Wrecking Crew wanted to know how to get a kitty ready for something like BlogPaws. And what they are asking is how do you get a kitty adjusted to a lot of people, noise and other animals, unruly doggies to be exact?. This is a great question. It most certainly applies to Service Kitties who must be accommodating to any situation, but it’s also good for all kitties. You never know what the future holds, or what situation you may find yourself in. For instance, you find yourself having to evacuate your home and go to a shelter full of people and other animals, a kitty who is comfortable in this setting is certainly going to be easier to deal with during this time of crisis. Or heaven forbid, you have to take kitty to an emergency vet during a busy night. Again, a kitty that is comfortable with noise and commotion, is going to be much calmer than one who isn’t. Now that we’ve pointed out why all cats should be trained for commotion, let’s explain how it’s done. Remember, It’s NEVER too late to train kitty.
Of course this is something mommy starts on immediately with the new kitty. But remember that first Service Cat mommy had? Well she wasn’t a kitten when she was trained, so it can be done. The first thing you want to do is make kitty as comfortable and safe as possible. So here comes the harness and leash training. We do recommend a stroller for these kinds of outings as opposed to a carrier, but keeping a carrier on hand is also a good option. (See the photo below of sis Lexi in her carrier on top of the stroller in the car.) Even in a closed stroller, kitty should be leashed and tethered in. We’re going to take this from the start. Buy a proper fitting harness. Mommy prefers the ones with material that have closures around the neck and body, like you see in the photos. We prefer them as well. Cats are more comfortable being wrapped up. So we recommend staying away from the strappy cat harnesses and go straight to the dog department. You can also order online, there are a lot of great companies that make these harnesses for kitties. You’ll need a leash that’s not to heavy. Remember, the typical kitty weighs less than 20 pounds so they’re not going to break even the skinniest of leashes. Now that you have the proper tools, you can start training kitty. We recommend keeping the stroller and carrier out at all times and open for kitty to use for sleep or play.
Each day put harness on kitty for about 15 minutes and walk away. Initially kitty may go limp and fall over. Don’t Worry, kitty is fine. Do Not remove harness or kitty has trained you. Only take the harness off after 15 minutes. And take it off even if kitty seems okay with it. You don’t want kitty to over do it initially. Do this twice a day for a few days and then increase the amount of time the harness stays on once kitty actually gets up off the floor. The amount of time this will take will vary from cat to cat, so we can’t give you an exact number of days or weeks, but once kitty is comfortable in the harness you can now add the leash. Please, Do Not Rush Kitty. Take your time, this will mean success. And remember, all of this is being done in the house. Kitty hasn’t set one foot outside. Okay, you’ve added the leash to the harness. This should be done the same way as the harness, start with 15 minutes twice a day and increase until kitty is comfortable. During this time, please be careful as kitty will be dragging a leash and this could be a trip hazard for all humans. And keep an eye on kitty if opening any doors or cabinets, etc.. Once kitty is comfortable with the harness and the leash, it’s time to add you to the mix. Pick up the leash and let kitty take you for a walk. At this time you may venture outside if you want. This is also the time to start taking kitty with you in public.
Even tho’ kitty is now harness and leash trained, it’s no comparison for a stroller or carrier. Harness and leash kitty and tether in to stroller for your outing. Of course a pet store is the obvious choice, we like to go places like parks, banks, pharmacies, post offices, etc.. (me’s visitin’ the pharmacy in the photo below) Try going for a stroll in the park. You’ll likely encounter a few dogs and curious people. Your bank, or a small town bank will most likely say nothing and will expose kitty to a lot of lookey loo’s (curious people wanting to see kitty) During these outings as kitty gets more comfortable you can open the stroller and let people pet kitty and let kitty sniff them. You can also allow kitty to walk around a little if permitted since kitty is harnessed and leashed. These outings expose kitty to a small number of people/animals and noise, but prepare them for the commotion of a crowd. Now that kitty is comfortable in these small settings it’s time for the big crowds. Again, the pet store during an adoption event is a great place. A school football/basketball/baseball game is a great place. A local parade or flea market is another great option. Look around your area, you’ll find several great options. The more exposure you can give kitty the better.
The following instructions are for BlogPaws only, and something mommy regrets having to say, and hasn’t yet done for us. Altho’ me’s been thru it already so me doesn’t need the training. Find a “yard” that’s protected by large guard dogs and take kitty to the fence. Please be sure kitty is tethered into their stroller and that the stroller is closed and secure!!! Do Not leave kittys view at this time. The dogs will charge the fence and thus the stroller, barking and growling and baring teeth. The action you want from kitty is to quietly go to the back of the stroller and lie down. Remove kitty from the situation. If kittys response is to try and fight, remove them immediately and try again another time. Not all the dogs at BlogPaws are this way, but there are a few and their humans have no respect for anyone. Of course, you never know when you walk out your front door what you might encounter. Even tho’ we are Service Cats and are taught not to react, sis Lexi and me both did hiss at a few doggies that charged us. But we did then return to the back of the stroller and lie down as we should have. So if kitty hisses and lays down, you’re alright. You just don’t want kitty going crazy and trying to escape the stroller. They need to feel completely safe with you in their stroller.
Remember, Training is Repetition. Don’t rush any step or you’ll fail. If you’re planning for a specific event, stat your training early and keep at it. Don’t let a day go by without training. Once kitty is comfortable in all these situations, reward them by taking them out and about just because. Mommy says that training is also forever. Meaning you have to keep exposing kitty to these situations or they’ll grow complacent. Make it a point to take kitty out at least once a week. Mommy tries to take us for a stroll every week, weather permitting, and for a drive at least once a week, even if it’s only around the block. Most importantly, have fun. You want kitty to find this as enjoyable as you. Big snarly dogs and all we would love to go back to BlogPaws. We would be better prepared this time around. And we’ve got our paws crossed we make it there again.
We’re gonna wrap it up for now. Hope this helps ya’. Ifin ya’ have any additional questions or comments ‘bout todays topic or another training tip you’re interested in, purrlease say so in da comments below. You can also email us using our contact page which is completely purrivate. All this talk ’bout strolls has me wantin’ to go fur one. Gotta run now.
Do you (your kitty) like to go on outings?
Would you like (your kitty) to go on outings?
We’re curious how many kitties are already harness trained?
44 thoughts on “Service Cats Getting Kitty Ready For An Outing”
We took Ringo on many outings (in his carrier, we don’t have a stroller)–the pet store, hubby’s workplace when it was quiet, the pet bakery, etc. He is really a confident cat and I wish I’d done more of it with Sadie when she was younger. It makes a difference. (Our late Tucker had a lot of outings when he was young, when I was single and took him everywhere. He too was a well-adjusted kitty.)
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