The 10 Best Cat Harnesses
This wiki has been updated 22 times since it was first published in May of 2016. Whether you'd like to take your indoor kitty outside for supervised adventures or attempt the rarely successful feat of walking a cat, one of these harnesses can help. They allow you to enjoy excursions without worrying your feline will escape, and some of them have extra safety features, like reflective strips for nighttime use. As a bonus, they're great for trips to the vet, too. When users buy our independently chosen editorial picks, we may earn commissions to help fund the Wiki.
December 15, 2020:
If your cat is fussy and resistant to wearing a harness, you may want to try a lightweight model, like the PetSafe Come With Me Kitty, which weighs just 0.8 ounces. Its barely-there strap design will not feel constricting to your kitty or limit its range of motion, whether running through the grass or climbing trees. That being said, if the strap-only model doesn’t have enough material for your liking, the Voyager by Best Pet Supplies is an alternative lightweight option. It features plenty of coverage and weighs just 2 ounces. Plus, the step-in design is desirable for cats, a species that generally doesn’t like sticking their heads through small openings.
If style is important to you, there are some options on our list available in fun patterns, like the Bingpet Vest. This harness is available in classic plaid, in either neutral or pink. As a bonus, it’s also one of the most affordable choices on our list. Likewise, the Kitty Holster Original is another great choice if you want to add some flare. They offer earth-based tones and interesting choices, like red bandana and blue jean denim. Alternatively, if you enjoy bold colors and adorable designs, the Smalllee Lucky Store Aibao-35 may be your best option. You can choose between bright pink polka dots or traditional camouflage.
If you have multiple pets, or a cat that falls in-between sizes, you may want to narrow your focus to models that feature a variety of sizes. Possibly the best option in this category is the Gauterf Universal, which offers five sizes, ranging from extra small to extra large. The tiniest ones can even fit small mammals, like rabbits and ferrets. Similarly, the Puppia Ritefit prioritizes variety by offering small, medium, large, and extra-large. Though it’s intended for dogs, the smallest options work wonderfully for cats. Lastly, the Pupteck Frills is also available in four sizes, covering a range of ages, weights, and breeds. Plus, the durable Velcro and buckle closures minimize the chance of escape.
May 29, 2019:
While it's technically made for dogs, the Voyager by Best Pet Supplies works better than most harnesses that are designed for cats. The mesh material won't cause overheating on hot days, and the step-in design is much easier to manage than others that have to be pulled over the head. The Kitty Holster Original makes comfort its first priority, with no nylon straps or plastic buckles, so it's a good choice for particularly picky cats. The PetSafe Come With Me Kitty has two D-rings on the back that the shoulder straps can slide through, allowing for additional tension when needed, and it comes with an elastic leash that prevents sharp pulling or tugging.
If you take your cat out at night, opt for a harness with reflective strips, like the Rogz Catz Alley, Gauterf Universal, or Eagloo Escape Proof, so they can easily be seen by passing vehicles. For car rides or trips to the vet, the CatYou Safety includes a nylon strap that buckles into a seatbelt to prevent your cat from sliding around or falling off the seat.
Meow, That's Right
You should be able to easily fit a finger or two between the harness and the body of the cat.
Jealous that the dogs have all the fun? As a cat owner, don't you wish you could show off the well-trained feline in your home? Your dream is now a reality thanks to the cat harness, which is designed to allow your cat to enjoy a walk outdoors like their canine counterparts. They are built for the elusive nature of a cat, offering more protection and support than a simple collar. Harnesses distribute force to prevent choking and slippage that collars can cause.
A harness works, if your cat cooperates of course, by covering a large surface area of the animal's body. It includes a band of support around the neck and torso to fully support the cat. They are designed to be complimentary to a collar, and not meant to replace it. The H-model is the most popular, and it will easily fit most cats. A harness should fit snugly, but not so tight as to restrict airflow. You should be able to easily fit a finger or two between the harness and the body of the cat.
A leash may or may not be included, but all models should be able to connect to pretty much any type of leash. A bungee leash is also beneficial, as it minimizes the risk of choking and relieves pressure from the walker's wrist. It's worth stating, never attach a leash to a neck collar. This is dangerous, as a cat's sudden movement could result in a neck injury.
What You Can Expect
Largely dependent on the nature of your cat, one harness could fit wonderfully, while another can awkwardly place strain on its neck and chest.
This is particularly true for domesticated cats that do not experience the outdoors often.
One of the major concerns is the cat slipping out of the harness. Cats are generally not as agreeable as dogs when it comes to being walked, and their cooperation, or lack thereof, might leave a bit to be desired. A stubborn cat can easily slip out of a simple collar, but a harness should be secure enough to prevent such mishaps. Both the neck collar and torso band should be adjustable, so you can customize the fit according to size and age. If possible, allow your cat to try on the harness before purchasing.
A harness can also be used for travel or trips to the vet. By using a harness, it may be easier to handle an anxious kitty, especially one that's resistant to a cat carrier.
If you want to take your cats out at night, since they are nocturnal animals, you might want to consider a reflective harness. Putting a cat on a leash is an uncommon practice, and you want to make sure your fur baby is seen.
The material used is also a factor. Mesh will regulate the body temperature of the cat and ensure that they do not overheat during warmer times of the year. This is particularly true for domesticated cats that do not experience the outdoors often. Additionally, many harnesses include soft material with padding to prevent injury.
The leash can be almost any variety, including those meant for dogs, but some argue bungee style is the most humane.
Harnessing the Kitty
Cats, as we know, are not the domesticated animal best suited for walking. Hope is not lost, however. There are a number of ways to coax your cat into trying a harnessed adventure.
First, determine which harness is best. Wait until your cat has had full vaccinations, which can help protect it from outside dangers. Keep in mind, older cats are more resistant to leashes, particularly if they have developed a fear of the outdoors.
Repeat this activity for several days until your cat does not struggle.
Ultimately, you know your pet better than anyone else. While they can be trained to walk outdoors, there might be a tough learning curve, and you need to be incredibly patient with your pet.
Make sure your cat consistently comes when you call it. If this isn't the case, you should practice this call-and-response behavior before you move outdoors. Next, utilize positive reinforcement. Place the harness near you cat's favorite area, and reward your pet with treats when interaction is observed.
After a few days, slowly begin to place the harness on the cat, once again reinforcing behaviors with treats. Let the cat wear the harness for several minutes, and then take it off. Repeat this activity for several days until your cat does not struggle. If or when your kitty does resist the harness, let it be and try again later.
If the harness is a success, allow your cat to wear it indoors for an extended period of time. Next, attach the leash and let kitty experience this added constraint. Make sure the leash doesn't get tangled up and restrict the cat's movements. After this, gradually instigate outside visits, letting your cat take the lead, all the while rewarding her for good behavior. Be vigilant for dogs or other animals that might spook your cat. It's a good idea to bring a cat carrier with you in case your cat panics.