Walking guide part II – buying walking accessories

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In first part we have described why would be worth to consider walking your pupil on a leash. Here we are describing harness, leads and other accessories – what are worth to be bought and what is needed for a walk. Third part will describe how to get cat used to harness and how the walks should like to be pleasant for cats.

Leash, lead

This is undoubtedly the most basic and essential thing if we want to walk out our pupil. Leads are divided to retractable and non retractable.

Non retractable leads are more common but usually the are to short for a cat to enjoy the walk fully. Optimal length should be approx 3m, you may easily operate it a a cat has plenty of freedom. However in shops we will find leads with 1 -1,5m long or adjustable that have unwanted rings or carabiniers.

If we want our pupil had even more freedom and could used long lead we have two solutions: retractable lead or a cord lead.

Cord lead is thin and long (from 5 up to 20m; 5-10m is enough for cat).

Retractable lead is a good solution if cat is already familiar with walking on a normal lead.

The most popular manufacturer for retractable leads is FLEXI. Flexi leads are more expensive than other but are very good quality – durable, mechanism does not jam and when appropriately matched to a body mass of a pet – they are unbreakable – what may happen with other, cheaper products.

Retractable leads are available as cords or tapes. Cord is more comfortable and the lead is smaller. There is not much of a difference between tapes and cords as the ones used in Flexi leads are very durable and can stand jerking of the dog with a body mass included in the margin for the particular lead. There is absolutely no way that a cat trying to catch a bird will brake it.

When we decide if this will be cord or a tape, next step is length. 3 meters long lead can be purchased non retractable. Longer are 5,7 or 8 meters long, of course the longer the better for cat but longer are more expensive.

Harness

Harness is another essentail item for walking with a cat. And why not a simple collar? Especially at the beginning cat may drag the lead trying to release itself what may cause even a spine damage! Harness may evenly spread the energy and the whole breast chest of a cat.

There are various types of harness:

  • Typical feline harness contains of two straps (one for neck and one on the back) and a connecting stripe. It is better than a collar but does not protect the spine completely.

  • Harness with an upper closing - second the most popular type of feline harness. It can far better distribute power of pulling the lead. However it has one but important failure – cat may easily free itself from it even if properly suited.

  • Guard-type harness – similar to simple feline harness but it has a bottom tape connecting neck ring with a tummy ring. Due to this power is on a whole chest. It may be safely used even in cats heavy struggling and pulling the lead.

  • Norwegian harness – this type of harness is very comfortable. You only need to remember that a front strap was long enough otherwise harness will chafe under front legs. This harness is very difficult to purchase, more easily you may order a custom one or made by your own. Sometimes it is available in online pet shops but usually front strap is to short

ID Tag

It is not essential but it's worth to have one. ID tag is a small plastic or metal hanger with a phone number and a pet name which is attached to a collar and maybe helpful if cat is lost or went to a shelter.

Collar

May be used for ID tag or for a lead.

If the collar is used for ID tag it needs to be loose enough for a cat to be able to take it of if it gets stuck somewhere (eventually it's better to have an alive cat but with no id tag than one with an id tag but strangled)

In case of a collar used with lead we need to be sure that it is fasten tightly to avoid being took of by the cat. Remember, not every cat should wear a collar. Collar is not good for a cat, that climbs on trees, one that learns how to walk on a lead or those active that pull drag leads.

ID tag collar thickness is not so important but a walking collar should be wider, approx. 1,5 – 2cm. Too narrow collar is not comfortable and will simply pierce to the neck.

Clothing

most of cats stop walking out when it's getting to cold for them. Some of them do not want to stay inside even if it's cold outside.

In such situations can clothing be useful. For autumn a sweater or a blanket is enough but winter (if cat decides to walking in the snow at the first place) necessary would be a waterproof anorak, which will protect cat from cold and avoid snow to be attached to fur.

Most of cats does not like clothes so clothing them in a summer shirts, hats or dresses is not a very smart idea in my opinion. Such clothing does not play any other function than (doubtful) decoration and is often uncomfortable.

Protection against parasites and diseases

Cat walking on a leash has to be dewormed as often as on walking free. Remember also about vaccinations.