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Should we get them harnesses?

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#1 andthethreebears

Posted 20 December 2012 - 11:18 AM

We have two adorable rescue kittens which we adopted in early October so they're just under five months old now. They're brother and sister and have been kept 100% inside and seem very content with the arrangement. They're always curious when I open the external doors but don't try to get out.

Last weekend some friends came over and I didn't realise they'd left the front door wide open  ffear.gif . I was horrified when I looked down our long hallway to see the little girl kitten sitting in the open doorway staring out at the front street. I called out quietly to my daughter who was in the front bedroom hoping she may be able to sneak up and grab her but the next thing I knew, our 20 month old Golden Retriever went bounding down the hallway like a lunatic  oomg.gif . I was incredibly relieved that the kitten's response was to do a U-turn and run back into the house and into a bedroom (thank God!).

I had been thinking of getting them a harness each for Christmas so we could take them out in the backyard to play occasionally but now I'm not so sure. Will that just raise their interest in going outside? Are we better off just having them 100% indoors? Is it cruel to do so? There's no way I can afford a cat run at the moment and there's no logical place to put one anyway (which will get shade, etc.) so it's either the harnesses or no going outside. What do you think is the better option?

Also, we're on a corner block with relatively frequently used roads front and side, so no way will they ever be allowed to roam outside at all.

Thanks for your advice.

#2 The Old Feral

Posted 20 December 2012 - 11:33 AM

My cat was 6m and had always lived inside when I adopted her, and like yours, she seemed content with that.

Once I got her a harness and started taking her out the back for a play, that all changed! She's now obsessed with getting outside. Sits at the back door and howls, tears at the flyscreen, if you open the door so much as a sliver she's there, trying to squeeze out.

It's a total PITA quite frankly, as she's a cheeky girl who knows when you're trying to catch her and bolts, so getting her back inside is a nightmare. I wish we'd never introduced her to the great outdoors!

#3 andthethreebears

Posted 20 December 2012 - 11:39 AM

Thanks TOB - that's exactly what I'm afraid of! Wondering if I should leave well enough alone. At the moment, they seem quite afraid of the great outdoors, perhaps we should keep it that way.

#4 Bluenomi

Posted 20 December 2012 - 11:44 AM

We've got one for our indoor cat. It actually helps, she's so used to only being outside on a lead that on the odd occasion she escapes, she thinks she's still on it and doesn't go far. She goes nuts when you get it out, she loves going out to eat the grass but otherwise doesn't try and get out.

She does sit at the back door and mieow when I hang out the washing but that's because she's convinced I've forgotten her, not because she wants out!

#5 robot sm

Posted 20 December 2012 - 12:22 PM

Our cat has always been indoors as we lived on a main road for years.  All his life he's been obsessed with getting out, at our old place he managed to break a window screen and get in the back yard, we hadn't realised until DH looked out the back and there he was, next to a mangled pigeon, his nose covered in blood!  ERGH gross.

Anyway since we moved to a quieter location, we have a harness for him and have let him wander our small courtyard wearing it, but also have let him out on his own as long as someone else is out there and can grab him if he gets too close to the top of the fence.  At this stage he still moves slowly out there and is generally happy just to lay in the sun.

I think cats will always be curious about what's outside, especially once they are totally happy/comfortable/bored with everything inside.  We try to give our cat some outside time, but never when we aren't able to keep an eye on him.  And we keep his vaccinations up to date and have a course of flea treatments on standby too (he caught fleas from one adventure under our deck... damn cat!).

I think the best part of having him on the harness though is changing his name for that time to 'Johannes' - "Johannes, where's your harness??" etc.  Okay I'm easily entertained biggrin.gif

#6 YandiGirl

Posted 20 December 2012 - 12:32 PM

I have one older cat who occasionally goes outside on a harness. She often does a runner outside if she spots the door open.

I bought the three kittens harnesses alos, which they have used once or twice, but to be honest they're not especially interested in going outside, just peering out the windows and watching the world go by.

If they are happy inside, I wouldn't be changing the status quo.

#7 Feral*Spikey*

Posted 20 December 2012 - 08:49 PM

Mine is 20yo.

Never been outside, so the world is safe from her ravaging claws and teeth.

I am sure she would have been a lot more persistent in her attempts to attack things outdoors (like the roo sitting on our front lawn one day - she could see it through the screen door) if she'd ever have been allowed out.

It won't harm them to remain indoors. original.gif

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