The 9 Best Cat Harnesses
9. Fun Pet No Pull
8. Coastal Pet Figure H
7. Petetpet Adjustable
6. CatYou Safety
5. Pupteck Escape Proof
4. Rogz AlleyCat
3. PetSafe Come With Me Kitty
2. Smalllee Lucky Store Vest
1. Kitty Holster Original
Meow, That's Right
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. The cat harness is designed to allow your cat to enjoy a walk outdoors like their canine counterparts. They are built to factor in the elusive and troublesome cat, as a harness offers more protection and support than a simple collar. Harnesses distribute force to prevent the choking and slippage that collars often involve.
A harness works, if your cat cooperates of course, by covering a larger surface area of the cat. 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, though, and not fully 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 and 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 to prevent a choking scenario and it relieves some pressure from the walker's wrist. Never attach a leash to a neck collar. This is dangerous, and 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 might work wonders, while the other is incapable of securing the cat and places a large amount of strain on the animal's neck and chest.
The largest caveat is the cat slipping out of the harness. By nature, cats are not as outgoing as dogs when it comes to being walked, and their cooperation might leave a bit to be desired. An agile cat can easily slip out of a simple collar, so a harness should be secured to prevent such mishaps. Both the neck collar and torso band should be adjustable, as cats come in a variety of sizes and ages. If possible, allow your cat to try on the harness before purchasing.
If you are not using the harness to walk your cat, it can also be used for travel or trips to the vet. By keeping the harness on, it's easier to handle a cat without subjecting it to the dreaded cat box, which can seem like a kitty coffin for some terrified felines.
If you want to walk your cat at night, which makes sense as cats are nocturnal animals and they are most active then, you might want to consider a reflective harness. Since walking a cat is an uncommon sight, you want to make sure the small animal is seen at night for safety.
The material used for a harness is also a factor. A mesh material will regulate the body temperature of the cat and ensure that they are not overheated during warmer times of the year. This is particularly true of domesticated cats that do not experience the outdoors often. Many include soft material with padding to prevent injury to the cat.
The leash can be a standard leash, a dog leash, or a bungee leash, which some argue is the most humane.
Harnessing the Kitty
Cats, as we know, are not usually the ideal domesticated animal for walking. Hope is not lost, however. There are a number of ways to coax the cat.
First, determine that the harness is right for you and your cat. Wait until they have had full vaccinations to protect your cat from outside dangers. Older cats are more resistant to leashes, particularly if they have developed a fear of the outdoors over the years. You know your pet better than anyone else. While they can be trained to walk outdoors, you might experience a tough learning curve, and you need incredible patience with your pet.
Start slow with positive reinforcement. If your cat comes consistently when you call it, that is a good sign. If you haven't developed this yet with your pet, you need to start here before you attempt to walk it outdoors. Next, using treats as rewards, place the harness near the cat's favorite area; allowing her to smell it, see it, and play with it.
After a few days, slowly begin to place the harness on the cat, once again, enforcing rewards such as treats. Let the cat feel the harness and then take it off after several minutes. Repeat for several days until the cat no longer struggles. If the cat is struggling with the harness, do not force her. Let her be and try again later.
If the harness is a success, allow her to wear it indoors for an extended period of time. Next, attach the leash and let the cat explore indoors with the added weight on the leash. Make sure the leash doesn't get tangled up and restrict the cat's movements. Gradually allow her to visit outside and let your cat take the lead; all the while rewarding her for good behavior. Be vigilant for dogs that might spook your cat. I recommend bringing a cat box with you as an insurance policy in case your cat panics.