Why should I first walk my harnessed cat in the house?

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There are a few reasons why your cat should be introduced to the harness while still indoors:

• You want her to feel safe, gradually letting her get used to both the harness and the leash and associating it with positive experiences, like play time and lots of treats. Just getting the cat used to wearing the harness is a big step by itself. At first, she’ll probably squirm and try to get out of it. Before you even think about taking your cat outside, put the harness on it and just leave it on. You shouldn’t leave the cat alone with a harness on, just in case it manages to snag itself on something around the house and get stuck. But let the cat go about its normal affairs and get used to having it on.
• You need to make sure she is completely comfortable and is trained to walk beside you. At first, it may just be that she lies down or does the “belly-slide,” and this is to be expected. So keep her safely indoors until she’s ready, because one negative experience and she might not allow any leash-training; only when you’re both absolutely comfortable should you attempt to go out.
• The outdoors can be a dangerous place. It used to be that we thought of cats enjoying fresh air, sunshine, trees, bushes, and plants; in fact, many felt guilty about keeping their cats indoors. Unfortunately, today, there are all kinds of hazards of allowing cats to roam freely, contracting killer diseases to injury and/or death from attacks by dogs, other cats, or predators or vehicles. If your cat isn’t properly leash-trained, she could get spooked or distracted by a bird or some other animal—and run away from you. Once she’s outside, she’ll might temporarily forget everything she’s learned, because everything will be different and she’ll be distracted by various sights, sounds and smells.

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