On a cool, partly cloudy day in October 2017 Malaya Fletcher was about to go hiking in a cabin in Pennsylvania. Cat, copurrnicus, into his harness. When Ms. Fletcher secured the harness, the feline went immobile, and thudded on the ground.
Ms. Fletcher had recently adopted the Confidential and Curious Copurrnicus.
He grew accustomed to the harness and leash indoors, but when Ms. Fletcher tested the waters in the wild for the first time, it seemed that Copurrnicus forgot how to be a free-roaming cat.
[ Like the Science Times page on Facebook. | Sign up for the Science Times newsletter. ]
The trend of re-wilding house cats into adventure cats and outdoor cats in general, "shakes you "Cats are more able than you think." said Frank McMillan, a cat behavior researcher at Best Friends Animal Society.
"Cats are more capable than you think , Added Laura Moss, who wrote "Adventure Cats: Living Nine Lives to the Fullest," a guide to training felines for adventure that some owners of leashed cats say they are inspired to bring their pets into the great outdoors.
But is when they are accustomed to moving around according to their own agenda?
The literature is scanned for the purpose of doing so a good experience for either the cat or human. Mikel Delgado, a cat behavioral researcher at the University of California, Davis School of Veterinary Medicine, said: "We have a good idea about the development and socialization of territoriality." 19659015] Each cat has its own interests, personality, and background. McMillan.
One cat owner in Portland, Ore. She's been to take her cats out on leashes, but has hardly made it past her driveway without
Ollie, a well-socialized two-year-old rescue cat in Washington was happy to walk outside on the open patio of her owner, Laurel Hamers, after it had been snowed. But when Ms. Hamers put on a harness on the same day, Ollie acted as if she had no interest in going outside, and even seemed freaked out by the snow.
Cats have a reputation of being independent. T hey are believed to have domesticated themselves thousands of years ago, instead of being purposefully domesticated by humans.
Some cats seem more likely to take on a harness, said Dr. Delgado. They are usually well socialized and able to make changes in their environment without making much of a fuss toward strangers. When they are very young, between two and nine weeks old, cats can most easily be socialized. Cats beyond this age may well be socialized, but may be more difficult and require more time.
Felines are also territorial and like routine. "It's different spots in your neighborhood or out in the mountains" Delgado.
All told, this means that cat owners should be attuned to signs of stress. But cats, can be difficult to read. Some stressed cats might retreat to a hiding place and stay absolutely quiet. Others might swing towards the other extreme and act hyperactive. Dennis Turner, a cat psychologist.
A 2013 study showed that that stressors – such as unfamiliar caretakers, feeding delays or less play time – can cause medical and behavioral issues in cats. Even healthy cats started vomiting, changed their eating habits or stopped using their litter box when stressed.
If you do try to train your cat, experts suggest attaching a leash to a harness because pulling directly on the neck of a cat can damaging for the animal. It's important to start slowly, Dr. Delgado said. Put the harness on the floor so the cat can sniff it, and leave it treats nearby. Drape it over the cat's body, so he can get used to the weight of it. Cats might initially associate the harness with being grabbed. Take it off, and give them some treats to desensitize them to the weight of the harness. Then walk them around indoors with them, taking them outside.
Training may fail. Some vets and researchers say it may take time and persistence.
Despite the initial misgivings, Copurrnicus has grown accustomed to the harness. Since his first hike Ms. Fletcher has brought him camping, kayaking and rock climbing.  She's not just about the companionship.
On one rainy camping trip, she watched the rain slide down the
"It's cool to notice things like that, and see the world through his perspective," she said. "But I could tell he was really comfortable: he thinks the tent is home."