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I Walk My Cat Like a Dog for Hours Using This Harness-and-Leash Set

Captain in his jaunty red vest and leash, hanging from Carey’s door. Photo: Liz Carey

My son wanted to adopt a dog. I said I could not handle it. We settled on adopting a cat. His name is Captain. He has a gimpy leg, is cross-eyed and partially blind, plays fetch, talks all day, and screams at the door to go outside. This last trait had me at a loss, but you can’t exchange cats.

We live in Laurel Canyon, home of legendary folk music and coyotes that are not scared of anything. You simply cannot let cats outside loose in the canyon. But as a comedian and writer in L.A., I spend what feels like 24 hours a day outside driving, so I decided to bring him along with me in the car (it’s nice to have someone to talk to). He loved it, head hanging out the window like a maniac. The reality, though, is you really cannot roll into network meetings and auditions with a cat in your purse. I mean you can, but I am trying to keep myself and a 13-year-old child alive, so I need to maintain some level of normalcy in the workplace.

When I am writing from home, Captain screams while walking circles around me, bites my ankles, and hurls himself at the door. I have enough of this in my dating life. I began to wonder if I could walk him like a dog. I knew I’d need a leash, so I went to Amazon (like I do about 78 times a day) looking for cat leashes. There was quite an array. I started to read reviews — I can get lost in a good Amazon review — before settling on Niteangel’s set of two harnesses and a leash. Two reviews stood out: Someone named “iced_coffee” wrote about how she used them with her “crazy, biting cat,” but it was “Joe Sixpack” who really sold me, because he said the harnesses — which are kind of like jaunty vests — are lightweight and good for warmer weather. Other reviewers said that most cats would put up a fight about putting on a harness, which was weird because I can’t imagine why people would shop for stuff like this if their cats are not begging them to, but that’s their business. I found what I came for, and it cost less than the price of some cups of coffee.

When the Niteangel set arrived, I braced myself for a struggle, but Captain could not get his paws into the harness fast enough. He looked at me with gratitude, but also seemed overall annoyed that it took me so long to order it. Fair. Walking a cat is a nightmare; Captain can go for like 20 hours, and he needs to investigate everything and can be skittish. But another nice thing about the harnesses (which come in two sizes) is that they’re adjustable — they have velcro closures at the neck and stomach, and you can secure them even more with the easy-to-use buckle clasp near the neck. So you really don’t have to worry about your cat slipping out, even if you have a Houdini on your hands. Plus, the leash is elastic, so Captain can navigate with ease. Sometimes while working at home, I put him in the harness and leash and hang it on my office door so he can roam and scream outside at birds and I can get stuff done. Do I sound insane? Yes. Do I care? No.

More Strategist-approved cat gear

The best overall cat litter, according to six vets and other experts we spoke with, who like that it is unscented, clumping, long-lasting, and that it doesn’t create as much dust as other litters.

Kerrie McKeon, resident cat expert at the animal welfare and adoption organization Bideawee, told us this basic litter box is a workhorse at her shelter. It’s “always safest to go with a large, uncovered box,” she says.

Photo: courtesy of the Retailer

If your kitty likes to play fetch (like Captain), writer Karen Iorio Adelson recommends picking up this catnip-laced toy, which she says is a playtime favorite for her cat. “Let your cat sniff the toy to get a whiff of catnip and then toss it across the room and watch her bolt off to ‘hunt’ it.”

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I Walk My Cat Like a Dog Using This Harness-and-Leash Set