Tips & Tricks

//Tips & Tricks

10 Quick Steps To Leash Train Your Cat

Keep your indoor kitty safe by leash training him

Did you know that more and more people around the world are leash training their cats. Yep that’s right, it’s not only dogs who enjoy taking a stroll with their owner! I can hear the disbelief already, “why on earth would you walk a cat on a leash when they free roam?” Well, I do it because I don’t want my cat poisoned or run over by a car, but there are loads of other good reasons for leash training your cat, a few of which are below:

  • Boredom – if you have an indoor only cat and you find your furniture is being scratched up then chances are you have a bored kitty on your hands!
  • If you are trying to train your outdoor cat to be an indoor cat for safety reasons (once a cat has been outdoors restricting their access, and keeping them happy and healthy mentally, is a bit tricky. This is where a cat harness is great!)
  • You are going on a holiday and would like to take your cat with you
  • For safety and control at the vets
  • You have an indoor cat who is simply fascinated by being outside, and you want to spoil him!
  • For exercise and fun – for the both of you

My cat Pancake used to free roam in the woods behind our house but after beginning to venture towards the main road, and getting lost for two days, I made the decision to cat proof our garden and he now enjoys a 30min stroll each morning with his harness and lead instead of roaming free. I’m happy, he’s happy and most importantly safe!

So many indoor only cats are FAT and LAZY. They are lazy because they are overweight, not just because “they are cats”. I guarantee that if they start to move and burn some of the chub they will be more active and healthier in the process.

cat walking on harness

If you are interested in leash training your cat then you simply need to follow these 10 steps:

  1. Take your cats measurements. You need to measure their neck and chest. This is where you need to pay attention and get a accurate measurement, too large and the jacket won’t fit and they may escape
  2. Choose a harness. I recommend Mynwood Cat Jackets. Many harnesses on the market (esp the cheap ones sold in pet shops) are not escape proof. Cats are pretty resourceful and learn to ‘back out’ of an poorly made harness
  3. Choose a leash. I personally would start with a short and light leash. You need control in the early days and you also want to be able to let the leash hang behind the cat while you get him used to walking around indoors with his harness on. Once you are comfortable with the set up you can change to a flexi lead (both available from Mynwood), but remember with a flexi lead that you keep an eye on your environment at all times, you wouldn’t want your cat to be so far ahead of you that you’re unable to get to him before a dog does
  4. Accustom cat to harness without leash attached. Once you have your chosen harness you will need to get your cat used to wearing it. The rule of thumb is ‘little and often’. Put the harness on, and give your cat a treat. Take the harness off. To start with your cat will absolutely HATE the harness, he may lay on the floor and pretend he can’t move, he may walk weirdly like he has a weight on his shoulder. Don’t be fooled, your cat is just fine! Saying that, you don’t want to scare your cat as the whole association between harness and leash should be positive. Don’t do something which would make your cat associate it with anything else
  5. Attach the leash. Once your cat is walking around the house normally with the harness on you can attach the leash. Again, take it slow. Your cat may revert back to the odd behaviour and flop around the floor. Build up the time your cat wears the leash gradually
  6. Leave harness and leash on cat indoors before practicing walking around behind cat (indoors). Once your cat is walking around normally with the harness and leash attached, you can begin holding the leash and ‘walking your cat’. I would recommend doing this indoors until you are both comfortable and confident
  7. Take your cat outdoors but in the safety of your garden. Before venturing outside the secure boundaries of your house and garden I would practice your leash walking further by doing little trips each day in the garden. Your kitty may bolt if he hears a loud noise and the best place to acclimatize him to ‘scary sounds’ is within your own secure space
  8. Keep near the house and make sure the first trip is a quiet time of day with no loud noises. It’s important that you keep your cat safe when taking him out on walks. Your cat is no match for a large boisterous dog and his little paws could easily be damaged by a passing cyclist. My suggestion would be to keep your walks for the most quiet time of the day, for me that’s really early in the morning. My cat prefers this anyways as that’s when the birds and field mice are out and about!
  9. Practice, go outside frequently. Leash training your cat takes practice, practice, practice. Don’t assume they will be up for it the first, second or third time.
  10. Never drag your cat by the harness, if they don’t want to go out they shouldn’t be forced. This final point is really the most important. Do not drag your cat outside by the leash. If they are not up for a walk one day then leave it. Walking your cat on a harness and leash should be fun for both of you, but it does require patience on your part and an understanding of cat behaviour (i.e they are not dogs, they saunter about really slowly and do lots of sitting and stalking!)

cat on harness milton keynes

 

Choosing and Fitting Your Cat Harness

As I mentioned above, we use a Mynwood Cat Jackets, they are my absolute favourite brand – and I’ve tried lots! They are made really well, come in a huge range of styles and colours, and are sized as per your exact measurements so no slipped harnesses while out and about.

Putting your cat harness on shouldn’t be difficult but check out the below video if you need a helping hand.

If you have a cat you would like walked on a harness and leash but lack the confidence to do it yourself get in touch. We have been leash walking indoor cats for years and while visiting we can help boost your own confidence in the process by letting you have a go yourself (it really is great fun once you get started!).

For further details and prices see our Pet Visits page. 

Credits: Mynwood Cat Jackets

Turmeric Root: the herb that helps fight cancer in our pets

The amazing health benefits of turmeric

 

Could we cure cancer in our pets? Let’s turn that question on its head and look at prevention!

“Today, more than 95% of all chronic disease is caused by food choice, toxic food ingredients, nutritional deficiencies and a lack of physical exercise”. – the health ranger

More than 1 in 2 dogs (1 in 3 cats) are diagnosed with cancer, and up to 50% of dogs will be affected by some type of tumor in their lifetime.

There is a medicinal herb that so desperately needs to be incorporated into our pets’ lives; a herb that is one of the most thoroughly researched plants in existence today.

That herb is turmeric root.

Turmeric not only improves conditions which are otherwise resistant to conventional treatment, but it also helps prevent disease occurring in the first place, along with aiding with:

  • Protection against toxicity from heavy metals
  • Destroys the root of all cancer: stem cells
  • Heart health
  • Detoxifies
  • Protects against unhealthy levels of inflammation – rodney habib

Check out my easy to make Golden Paste recipe below, it literally could not be easier to help your pet be healthier today!

Curcumin is the main active ingredient in turmeric, it has powerful anti-inflammatory effects and is a very strong antioxidant , targeting multiple steps in the inflammatory pathway at a molecular level. Unfortunately, curcumin is poorly absorbed into the bloodstream so the body has a tough time utilizing it effectively on its own. Studies show that even just a small amount of black pepper boosted bio-availability of curcumin by up to 2000%, while adding fats and heat to the turmeric increases its solubility.

golden paste ingredients

Golden Paste is essentially the combination of the ingredients turmeric, black pepper, coconut oil and water gently heated over the stove. It can be stored in the fridge for up to four weeks, or frozen into moulds if you’re not keen on the taste (coffee bean moulds are ideal for this – available on Amazon on Ebay). The rule of thumb is to start with a small amount and increase gradually. Golden Paste should be consumed with a meal where possible. If you’re like me and have pets who can’t stand the stuff, then you can pop a little inside a bit of their raw meat or a favourite treat – easy peasy! Let me know how you get on, I’d love to hear your results!

Ingredients:

  • 60g turmeric powder
  • 250 ml water (you may find a bit more water is required, depending on the make of turmeric, what you are looking to achieve is a thick paste)
  • 5 g black pepper (freshly ground is best, no cutting corners here)
  • 70 ml coconut oil (the quality of your oil is important, try to source RAW cold pressed coconut oil. If none is available you can substitute for extra virgin olive oil)

Method:

  1. Start by weighing out the turmeric powder and grinding the black peppercorns
  2. Put your pan on a low heat, combine the turmeric and water. Stir well
  3. Simmer the mixture for approximately 7-10 minutes. If the paste is looking too dry or stodgy then add a bit more water
  4. remove from the heat, stir in the freshly ground black pepper and coconut oil
  5. Mix thoroughly and leave to cool
  6. Once cool, poor the paste into a jar and put in the fridge where it can live quite happily for up to four weeks (although I prefer to use my batch within two weeks = that much fresher and potent!)

Dosage:

Dogs/Cats: 1/8 to 1/4 teaspoon twice daily with food

finished paste

Chuckit! Ultra Hard-Wearing Dog Ball

Are you after a super strong, long lasting dog ball?

With a Border Terrier in the house I’m always after really durable dog toys that will last the terrier ‘kill shake’ and their strong jaws! We’ve been through countless tennis balls and other cheap and cheerful toys from local pet shops and online retailers – they all end up the same way after a few minutes – shredded! I think this is pretty dangerous, some dogs are chewers and prone to swallowing whatever they destroy so I prefer to steer clear of anything that could cause my little guy problems.

Here’s my review of the Chuckit Ultra Ball! available from Amazon (official description at the end of blog).

dog destroys ball

You can imagine my delight when I discovered the Chuckit Ultra Ball. I actually bought a pack of two off Amazon, simply because of the amazing reviews and to be honest I’m not disappointed! They are a lot firmer (and slightly heavier) than a tennis ball and have a real great bounce to them. Bright orange you can’t miss them in a field either!

The only downside – and there is always one – they are not terribly cheap (RRP £8.15 for 2), so if your dog tends to lose balls to other dogs on walks, or hasn’t got the gift of ‘doggy find it’ then replacing them could start to cost you!

Still, I personally think they are worth it.

Chuckit Ultra Ball Description

ChuckIt Ultra balls are made from durable natural rubber with a textured surface for easy grip and can take whatever your dog dishes out. Ultra balls have a really high bounce and the size medium is compatible for use with the ChuckIt Ball launcher so can be thrown a really long way to provide hours of fun. Each ball is bright orange and blue making them easy to spot and being ultra buoyant, they are great for use around water.

The ChuckIt Ultra Ball is available in three sizes so you are bound to find one to suit your dogs needs.

Small (2 balls per pack) – 2″/4.8cm diameter

Medium (2 balls per pack) – 2.5″/6.5cm diameter

Large (1 ball per pack) – 3″/7.3cm diameter

terrier plays with ball

How to Help Your Cat and Dog Get Along

Will my cat and dog ever get along?

I saw this question on a local pet forum and thought it would make a great post:

“I recently brought a new cat into my house. She isn’t afraid of dogs having lived with them before. However, my dog goes absolutely berserk when he sees her, barking and trying to get at her. What do I do?”

The first thing I’ll say is that dogs and cats can live happily together, I am proof of this. In our house we have a cat, dog (Border Terrier no less) and hens. dog and cat on couchYou just need to give your pets time and space to work it out. The second thing to remember is that dogs and cats are two very different species. Often we as owners want our cats and dogs to get along because that’s easiest for us (and pretty cute); but in some cases they never will be “best buddies” and the most you can hope for is a mutual understanding to leave each other alone.

If you are dealing with a cat who is not afraid of dogs then that’s great as you have won half the battle already! Saying that, it is still important to give your cat plenty of room to get away from the dog. Cats enjoy climbing and being up high so creating “get away spots” should be fairly straight forward. Alongside this, you will need to teach the dog how to behave around the cat.

Plenty of dogs that don’t like cats or other small furries can be taught to live alongside them, but you have to be consistent and get the message across to your dog right from the start.

So no chasing in the house (as tempting as it is for them), and no barking (distract and reward good calm behaviour). This all goes back to obedience training. Time to refocus the dog on you.

Another thing to consider is the importance of smell. Animals rely on their sense of smell far more than humans and I think we sometimes underestimate the importance of smell when integrating new pets into a household with existing animals. It is advised to keep a new cat confined in a separate room for a few days, during this time you should swap scents between the two of them (rub both down with a cloth before rubbing the other, along with moving their scent around the house – esp favourite spots your dog likes to lie, beds, etc).

After a period of scent swapping you can begin interactions – but slowly. If you use a crate for your dog put him in it with a favourite toy or safe chew and then bring your cat into the room. What you want is your dog to associate the cat with nothing special at all – for him to get used to smelling, seeing her/him in close proximity. To start with your dog may bark, but try not to become excitable or tell him off for doing so; rather encourage and reward quiet calm behaviour. If you use a clicker with training then this would be a perfect time to get it out. Quiet around the cat = click and treat.

dog and cat together

The next phase would be to bring the dog into the room the cat is in on a short lead. Ensure you are not tensing up the lead as this can cause your dog to become nervous, stressed or excited. Keep the dog focused on you with high value treats (I would suggest using your dog’s favourite food for this exercise alone). Keep distracting your dog from the cat and focused on you. Again, quiet and calm = click and treat. With all of this it is important to move slowly: be patient, calm and provide lots of love to both pets. The dog may be feeling ‘put out’ so will need extra attention. As always make sure you monitor the pets and read their responses to each other.

Integrating a dog and cat into the same household can take anywhere from a few days to weeks or months, but if you are consistent and patient you will get there.

While you’re working on helping your pets get on, why not break up their routine by getting one of our pet care professionals over! We can take your dog on fun walks or fuss and play with your cat. We offer dog walking and pet care services throughout Milton Keynes and the surrounding villages.