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Out and About

Sandy Robins//June 1, 2015//

Out and About

Sandy Robins //June 1, 2015//

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As more cat owners learn the benefits of their cats experiencing the sights and sounds of the outdoors, the options to allow them to safely experience fresh air have grown enormously.

Leashes, Harnesses and Strollers

A popular topic on many blogs and in cat books is that there are many benefits to teaching a cat to walk comfortably on a leash. Behaviorists seem to be in unison that a harness is the way to go because it offers less wiggle-ability than a standard collar (which should remain on at all times to carry identification tags).

“When it comes to harnesses, there has been noticeable growth in the cat market as consumers understand the importance of walking their cats outside,” said Nicole Haefke, marketing specialist at Coastal Pet Products, Inc.

“Further, harnesses made from mesh materials are the focus for cats,” she said. “The fabric used for our Comfort Soft Adjustable Mesh Cat Harness range is a very lightweight, breathable mesh material that distributes the cat leash pressure evenly across the neck and shoulder area. The harness comes with a six-foot leash attached and is available in colors named blue lagoon, lime, bright pink and red.”

“The way to find the correct size harness is to measure the cat’s girth behind the front legs and add two inches to that measurement. This one-size harness easily adjusts to fit a cat between 14 inches and 16 inches,” said Haefke.

For cat owners who want to give their cats a little more outdoor freedom, the flexi range of imported German retractable leashes offers a big selection of feline-friendly, 10-foot retractables in both corded and taped styles. These run the range of Glam designs, such as Swarovski crystal-embellished styles with leather trim, to the more modern designs like the Vario and Design lines.

According to Daniel Hawk, president of Gen7Pets, the company recently added new features upgrading their best-selling line of strollers, with the line changing names from Regal to Regal Plus Strollers.

“This upgrade includes our new Smart-Zippers, which are pre-zipped so that they never have to be threaded. This makes it easier to open and close from either side. The strollers also have two interior tethers and a new parent tray,” said Hawk.

Gen7Pets has also added more style options to their Promenade line by introducing new cheetah and raindrop patterns.

The no-zip Happy Trails strollers from Pet Gear, Inc., are designed with cats in mind; the zippers have been replaced with special security latch devices that cannot be pried open by manipulative feline paws. The standard and the jogger three-wheeler designs both comfortably fit larger felines, while the double strollers can transport two cats, or possibly three, depending on their size.

Cat Houses

K & H Manufacturing, LLC, has a range of 600-denier nylon homes with a waterproof backing, which are ideal for cats that sleep in garages, barns and porches. They are also suitable for feral cats. The Outdoor Kitty line comes in a standard kennel design and an-A-frame shape. There are also heated versions, which include a thick, thermostat-controlled, heated floor pad for cozy warmth. The designs have clear plastic flaps to insulate pets against the weather, as well as front and rear entry-exits to allow outdoor dwellers to escape from predators.

A third model, known as the Mod Thermo-Kitty Shelter, is a simple zip together design. Half the floor is heated with a K&H Small Animal Heated Pad so that the cat can choose to be on or off the warmth. This energy-efficient shelter can also be used in a barn, shed, porch, garage, deck or anywhere else that offers access to an electrical outlet.

High-Tech Options

Pod, the world’s smallest, lightest, fully-waterproof GPS pet tracker was designed with cats in mind. It should be a popular consideration for cat owners because, up to now, the wearable pet tech market hasn’t catered specifically to cats.

This real-time GPS device was created by Australian cat-lover Sebastian Langton, who was driven to invent the product after losing his beloved cat, Rango. The ultra-light cylindrical shape takes feline anatomy into account with its shape.

“Our custom strapping mechanism allows Pod to fit collars of all shapes and sizes,” explained Langton. “It also comes with two interchangeable batteries so you never have to remove the unit from your animal’s collar or worry about downtime while the unit is charging.”

Like other pet technology items, it can be accessed by mobile phone and computer applications from anywhere in the world and alerts pet owners if the cat leaves the geo-fenced zone. It can also track daily activity levels, which in feline terms probably means how many hours a cat sleeps in a day.