Earlier this year, I let readers know that I was leash training Sophie so I could take her outside on a harness for some outdoor enrichment. After a couple of months, it’s clear that Sophie will never be an adventure cat. But I did want to give readers an update and also let them know about a new harness we’re using – the Sleepypod Martingale Calming Harness for Cats.
This post is sponsored by Sleepypod because they believe enrichment for cats is important.
Disclosure: We are being compensated for this post. All opinions stated here are our own. Three Chatty Cats only shares information we feel would be relevant to our readers. We received the Sleepypod harnesses and leashes for free. All opinions stated here are our own.
Benefits of outdoor time
In our household, we have indoor-only cats. I try to provide as much enrichment for them as I can, like toys, cat shelves, interactive feeders, etc. But as much as I can offer them entertainment inside, I know sometimes my cats still want to go outside. And your cat may be the same.
Here’s why you might consider taking your cat outside for some outdoor time. It offers your cat enrichment through:
Physical exercise: Think of all the running, jumping, chasing, and pouncing they can do outside. This will also help your cat maintain a healthier weight.
Mental stimulation: Oh, the sights and sounds they will encounter! The birds up above, the bugs in the grass. There are so many new smells and textures, and your cat’s senses will be running wild! (In a good way, of course.)
Reduced boredom: The outdoors will give them some variety from their daily indoor routine and provide new exploration opportunities.
Bonding time: Taking your cat outside on a harness and leash is also a great way for you to spend some fun quality time with your cat!
Adventure cat, perhaps not!
If you’re considering taking your cat outside on a harness and leash, and it doesn’t go as planned, it’s okay to recognize that not all cats want to go outside.
While Sophie does want to go outside, she’s not up for a big adventure. She’s perfectly happy to smell the crisp air, pounce on a bug or two, roll around in the grass, and lie in the sun. And the best way to safely take her outside is on a harness and leash. Even if it is to just sniff around in the grass out back.
Here’s how it goes when we take Sophie outside on a harness:
Sophie: I’m cold. It’s too sunny. The grass is wet. My face itches.
Mama: Do you want to go back inside?
Sophie: What’s that over there?
Mama: A leaf.
Sophie: Pick me up and take me closer.
Mama: You can walk.
Sophie: You can pick me up!
Adventure cat, just maybe!
We took the harness intended for Sophie and tried it on Dexter. While Dexter is our most timid cat, he was much more eager to explore his surroundings when we took him outside.
We have yet to take him on a long walk or hike, but Dexter would be more up for it than Sophie (or any of our other cats). I think we’ll get there one day!
Here’s our timid adventure cat, Dexter!
Sleepypod Martingale Calming Harness for Cats
The harness we originally used with Sophie was from Sleeypod, their Martingale Cat Harness, pictured below.
But just recently (October 2023), they came out with a new version of their cat harness, and it’s called the Martingale Calming Harness for Cats. Here are some of the features of the new harness:
The martingale strap cinches around the cat’s torso when the leash tightens. This helps prevent escape from the harness.
Adjustable, quick-release buckles at the neck and chest.
Soft, breathable polyester mesh. And a pet clip light for safety and visibility at night
What we like about the Sleepypod harness
We’ve used a couple different harnesses over the years, and the Sleepypod harness is by far the most comfortable for my cats to wear. Other types are strap-like harnesses without the full body coverage, as shown below.
I personally feel the Sleepypod harness is much more secure, and I’m not worried about Sophie or Dexter slipping out of it. As a cat parent, if you’re not comfortable or certain about the safety of the harness, then you won’t be comfortable taking your cat outside.
So, what do you think? Are you ready to take your cat out on a harness and leash?
If so, visit the Sleepypod website to check out their all-new Martingale Calming Harness for cats!
Perhaps you have an adventure cat! Or a leisurely fluffball like Sophie. Either way, they may benefit from some outdoor harness time.
Related Post: 6 Steps to Leash Training Your Cat