Archives for October 2017

Great Outdoors Adventures

 

Babbis in the Fall Leaves

On my leash, enjoying a fall day.

 

You may be wondering, “How can I get Mr. Fluffernutter outside to enjoy it in a safe way?” (Maybe you have a Princess Fluffypants or something. I apologize for catering to the Toms first.) There are a few ways that I get to go outside and enjoy it without my humans worrying that I’ll get hurt or lost.

The first, least costly way is a leash and harness. I purrsonally did not want anything to do with those things before I was 2 years old. Mammis first tried getting me used to them when I was around a year old. She had to wait another season and then try again. I hated it at first. I would roll around and try to get out of the harness. I’d also chew on the straps. Part of my annoyance may have been because Mammis had the harness adjusted too tight for my fluffy self. She was afraid of me slipping out of it so she was a little overzealous.

After some trial and error, I can now enjoy the great outdoors on the leash. Because my humom took the time to train me, I can walk around the yard and examine my territory. I can also explore new territories by walking on the sidewalk or in the back alley. It’s so fun watching the squirrels, birds, ants, and other bugs, without feeling contained! One thing I don’t like is running into other animals or strangers while on my exploits. Sometimes I will run all the way home to escape a perceived danger. The humans have a hard time keeping up. (They need more exercise, obviously.) ┬áSo going far away from the house is usually not an option.


Our tips for safe harness training and use are as follows:

1. Be patient. Try to get Ms. Fluffypants to accept that she can only go outside on the leash and harness. You might have to use toys and/or treats to distract her from the discomfort of the harness. If she has a problem adjusting to it, try putting it on her in the house and allowing her to walk around in it inside for increasing periods of time. One other tactic to train her would be to feed her with the bowl near the harness or while she’s in it. The humans did these things with me and now I wear the harness willingly. The association created with food (a pleasurable thing) and the harness will help Fluffypants accept the use of it.

We also have some words of caution. Try to keep Fluffypants from dashing out the door and avoid letting her outside without the restraint on. She needs to get it into her little mind that she can only be outside on the leash (or in a tent, which we will discuss in a minute). Once Kitty gets a taste of the great outdoors, she or he will try to get out as often as possible. Sometimes I scratch and meow at the doors because I want to go out. Just about every day, I try (and often succeed) in dashing out the door when the humans are coming in. Just be careful of that!

 

Babbis Looking at US Flag

I got used to the harness eventually!

 

2. Get a good quality harness and retractable leash. The last thing you want is for the harness to be uncomfortable. If it’s too tight or not the right design, it will cause excessive rolling, gnawing at the harness straps, and a burning dislike of being in it. Mr. Fluffernutter might do these things anyway, but an uncomfortable harness will just make it worse.

The harness we use now is not the kind that has just one fastener. It has two plastic buckles that buckle in front of my front legs and behind them. It has been the most comfortable and easy to get on harness the humans have tried on me. We tried a one-piece harness made of thick padded fabric and that didn’t go over well. It was difficult to get on and I hated it. I also tried a harness with one buckle only. The straps rested in front and in back of my front legs like my current harness but buckled at my back where the loops were to attach the leash to. I had to step through it to get it on and that was a pain for the humans. I wouldn’t just step into it. They had to struggle with me and lift me to get my legs into the holes. It was difficult for only one person to do. The harness itself was tolerable but not as good as the harness I have now.

As for the leash, my humans at first used a cheap retractable leash from a discount store but realized that it would be a disaster if the leash failed because of low quality. They envisioned me dashing across the street after an animal. In their nightmare, before they knew it, “SNAP!” The leash was at its end and it broke right off the reel. Avoid that scenario in real life by getting a trusted brand of leash with good quality materials and craftsmanship. I have suggested products below.

Flexi Freedom Retractable Cord Leash, Extra Small, 10-Feet Long, Supports up to 18-Pound.
(Several Colors Available)

Adjustable Cat Harness Dual Strap with Leash by PUPTECK

 

3. Consider safety issues. Always be aware of your surroundings.┬áThis is not only for your own sake but also your cat’s. I have heard horrible stories of small animals being attacked by large dogs that came out of nowhere or didn’t seem to be aggressive at first. So many animals (and children unfortunately) have been mauled and died from their injuries. You might think, “Oh well I would just pick my cat up and run.” It doesn’t work that way. You might not even notice the dog run up to Kitty. They don’t always bark when attacking. It could be too late by the time you realize there’s a problem. Even if you did proactively pick Mr. Fluffernutter up, the dog might leap at you and attack you both. It would be hard to keep defending your cat while being threatened with mortal wounds from an enraged dog. There’s also the possibility of Mr. Fluffernutter wounding you himself while he scratches and otherwise mangles you to jump from your arms and run off. You wouldn’t be able to defend Kitty after that point.

We live near a park where a lot of dogs are walked. Mammis is always vigilant when we go outside to avoid unfriendly dogs or cats that might have an ulterior motive. We have a spray that is not pepper spray but is specially formulated to deter unfriendly animals. It’s based on citronella and is supposed to irritate their sense of smell and eyes without permanent damage. It’s by PetSafe and is called SprayShield. Luckily we haven’t had to try it, but it’s nice to know we have that option if another animal decides to interrupt our exploration.

PetSafe SprayShield Animal Deterrent with Clip, Citronella Based, 12 ft. Spray

 

4. Don’t expect too much. One of the follies of humans is that they tend to expect their pets to do what they want them to do. Guess what? We aren’t circus animals. We don’t perform for your pleasure. (Especially cats!) We don’t generally walk like dogs in a straight line, up and down the street, unless we want to. Don’t expect to go for long walks or even go out of your yard. At least not right away. Like many cats, I do what I want, when I want to do it. Please don’t demand things we aren’t prepared to do!

So what if I don’t want to just stand there with a leash in my hand and constantly watch my cat?
If you just don’t want to constantly watch Fluffypants or Fluffernutter while you’re outside or need your hands free to work on something, you can also get a tent for them! (Just please don’t leave them unattended in the tent outside. Many things can still happen to them including the dog attack scenario above.) My humom bought me a nice tent that pairs with mesh tunnels so I can explore a large area of the yard. She’s had them for several years now and they have held up to the test of time. They are made of high-quality materials. Over the seasons, I have clawed at the zippers in the door and the actual mesh itself and it’s never snagged or torn. The tent is still like new. The tent easily sets up with pull cords at the top that help you push the top supports down to expand the tent. You can stake it to the ground which is only really necessary during high winds. The tunnels are made to zip onto the entrance to the tent if you wish to put them on. You don’t have to, of course. All pieces are sold separately.

 

Babbis in Her Pawtriotic Tent

Fourth of July celebration at Babbis HQ!

 

The reason I like my tent is because I can still watch the animals like birds and squirrels as well as the occasional butterfly or grasshopper. I can feel the grass underneath my feet due to the mesh underside of the tent. I can also try to eat the vegetation, but that depends on if it’s long due to Mammis having been too lazy to mow the yard. My humom likes the tent because she can sit outside and garden or be on the computer without having to hold a leash or constantly watch me. I love being outside in my tent. It gives me so much stimulation rather than just sitting in a window, looking outside!

ABO Gear Happy Habitat for Indoor Cats

 

 

ABO Gear Fun Run

 

So there you have it. Those are a few options to get Kitty out to have some fun outside! I hope our tips have helped you. Remember, if you follow the links above or go through our “My Favorites” link to buy something on Amazon, you help support our website and me! I’m an expensive kitty with my allergies, so every little bit helps.

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