I get asked about the “tools” I use when Jacoby and I go out. I’ve been taking cats out on leashes since I was 12 or 13, and I’ve learned a lot about carriers, leashes and harnesses.
Right now, with Jake, the leash I use Planet Dog Zip Lead, which I like so much better than the more common Flexi-Leads (which I’ve used since they first showed up in the States, around 1990). The Zip Lead is more like a regular leash, with a soft loop handle that slips onto your wrist. Or ankle. It’s also so much smaller and more packable. The only disadvantage to the Zip Lead is that it’s only 6′ long where the Flexis range from 10′ to 26’and sometimes the extra length comes in handy.
His harness is a Gooby New Freedom harness. This is the best harness I’ve found for cats. Before I found these, I really liked the Coastal Size Right figure-8 harness because of its swivel ring. But when the cat pulls on the leash, the weight goes on their neck, and very clever cats can get out of a figure-8 harness. The Gooby harness goes between the front legs, so if the cat pulls, the weight is distributed over their chest. That seems much more comfortable.
I know a lot of people swear by the WalkingJacket for cats, but I’ve tried it and…well, it didn’t work for me. It’s hard for them to wear (it covers a lot of their body, and it rides high on the neck) and it’s kind of tricky to put on a squirmy cat because of its three buckles. But the biggest problem I had with it was Angel, who had never been on a leash before in her life, managed to get out of it. Twice. After which I gave up; once a cat can get out of a harness, you’ll never keep it on them.
I’ve tried a lot of carriers, too. I love Angel’s PETote Roxy bag. It looks like an old school bowling bag, or a large purse. It’s small and cozy and Angel feels very safe and secure inside which is important for her. I really like the roll-up door that the cat can stick his or her head out. It’s awesome to use on a plane; it fits perfectly under the seat and it’s easy to deal with.
It doesn’t work for Jake, though. He’s too active and he doesn’t like being in a carrier the way Angel does. He can actually push through the roll-up door when it’s closed. He needs something with more room and more windows, and closures he can’t open. That’s why, for him, I really love the Snoozer Roll-Around rolling carrier that can convert into a carseat, backpack and it’s also supposed to be airline-approved. I haven’t used it for anything but a roller so far, but I really like that it has two large pockets on the sides for his leash and jacket, water bottle, etc. The biggest problem I have with carriers is they don’t have enough space for all the stuff you need to bring along.
Here’s Jake in his “wheely”…
I also have an Outward Hound Petaroo Front Carrier that I bought for Gun-Hee. It’s like a baby carrier, and while it’s not practical for all situations, it does have its place. When you don’t want to actually carry the carrier, or if you’re going to be doing a lot of walking (it was perfect when I took Gun-Hee to Art Beat in Somerville). I use that with Jake, too, but he tends to try to jump out and walk more than Gun-Hee did.