Offers an adjustable fit that's snug yet flexible. Has a secure fastener and reflective accents on the durable nylon fabric. Comes in several sizes and colors. Leash included.
Bulkier than some competing harnesses. Can be tricky to find the right size and adjust properly to prevent escapes.
Affordable. Made of soft mesh-like nylon material that's highly breathable and has reflective strips. Can be adjusted to fit cats of various sizes. Available in several bright colors. Leash included.
A few kitties were able to escape the harness. Awkward to slip over a cat's head. Only two sizes available.
Made of durable nylon that can be adjusted to fit cats of various sizes. Tends to stay put once it's adjusted to fit correctly. Comes in several bright colors.
It takes some time and patience to adjust, which can be frustrating if your cat isn't happy with the process. Instructions need more details.
Strong nylon mesh material with easy-to-see reflective strips. Simple to adjust. Owners of hesitant cats report that their pets tolerated it well. Choice for several attractive colors.
Determined cats may be able to get out of it. Just two sizes to choose from. Must be slipped over a cats head, which can be challenging.
Features a minimalist design that some cats prefer over harnesses with lots of material. Includes a leash made of bungee material for flexibility during outdoor time. Comes in several colors and three sizes.
Takes a little time and effort to put on and adjust. Just like many other harnesses for felines, some cats can get out of it.
We purchase every product we review with our own funds — we never accept anything from product manufacturers.
We purchase every product we review with our own funds — we never accept anything from product manufacturers.
Do you ever get the impression that your indoor cat longs to explore life beyond the windowsill? If so, a cat harness could be the perfect solution.
While most experts agree that keeping your cat inside is the best way to prevent disease, injury, and accidents, making sure she gets enough mental stimulation and exercise is also important. A cat harness can help keep your kitty safe when out and about, allowing her to get the best of both worlds. And with a little practice, walking your cat can be a highly rewarding experience for both of you.
Our detailed guide is packed with all the information you need to find the right harness for your feline friend. We don’t take freebies from manufacturers so our reviews stay objective.
Short on time? Take a look at our favorite harnesses to make a quick selection. If you’d like to know more about cat harnesses in general, read our shopping guide.
Whether or not your cat actively communicates a desire to be outdoors, there are numerous advantages to getting Snowball accustomed to wearing a harness while outside the house.
Yes, she is your fluffy princess, but your cat is also a natural-born hunter, a fact you're probably know well if you've ever been the victim of an early-morning ankle ambush! Regular exercise can help keep your cat happy and healthy, and it might go a long way toward keeping your Achilles tendon intact as well. Not having an outlet for pent-up energy can even lead to destructive behaviors like scratching furniture or climbing curtains. Taking your kitty for a stroll is a great way to improve her general well-being and boost her overall fitness level.
Does your kitty pull a disappearing act the moment you bring out the carrier for trips to the vet? Using a harness can make traveling with your cat more relaxed for both of you. Even if you still need a cat carrier to get from point A to point B, having your cat on a harness will help keep him from bolting the moment you open it.
Cats can easily become bored when confined to an indoor environment. Introducing your cat to new sights, sounds, smells, and textures will add a whole new dimension to his life. Stalking butterflies, prowling through overhanging vegetation, rolling in the grass, scratching tree bark, and pausing to identify a scent carried on the wind are just a few outdoor pleasures he'll get to experience. Processing all this fresh information will not only sharpen your cat's mental faculties but also bolster his confidence in his ability to confront daily challenges.
Successfully learning to walk your cat requires a level of communication that goes beyond what you may already be accustomed to during your everyday encounters. You'll need to pay careful attention to her cues and learn to identify her unique environmental likes and dislikes. Similarly, as you train your cat, her trust in you will grow, enabling her to better react to your signals. Gaining a better understanding of each other ultimately results in a richer relationship.
No two cats are the same, and with unique personality traits come varying demands. Whether your kitty is a laid-back furball or a feisty fireball, finding the right harness style is essential. Common cat harness styles include the following.
The slim nylon straps on these traditional harnesses make them very lightweight. They're also among the most adjustable and affordable. However, many a frisky feline has managed to wriggle her way out of one of these, and you might want to keep that in mind if you have a spirited cat.
Figure 8: A continuous strap forms the figure 8, with a smaller loop for the neck and a larger loop for the torso. With the lead secured to a D-ring at the center, this configuration tightens slightly when tension is applied. Unsurprisingly, these aren't the most comfortable for cats. And despite being designed to prevent escape by squeezing when your cat lunges forward (or you pull on the lead), many felines manage to break free anyway. These harnesses work best for:
Seasoned harness wearers
H-style: This harness has two separate loops for the neck and chest connected by a shorter strap between the shoulder blades, forming the letter H. Each loop fastens with a clasp/buckle and is adjustable for a secure fit. The lead is secured to the top of the rear loop with a D-ring. While they are pretty secure if sized and fastened correctly, adjusting the straps can take some fiddling. Unfortunately, most cats aren't likely to wait patiently while you get it just right. This style works best for:
Relaxed kitties that need a lightweight option
Cats that are spooked by the sound of Velcro fasteners
Made from a variety of fabrics, vest-style harnesses provide improved comfort and extended coverage for added security. These are the best option for cats who can squirm their way out of just about anything. However, the Velcro fastening on some of them may alarm nervous cats.
Traditional vest/jacket: Resembling an item of clothing, vest harnesses generally extend from the neck to the waist, but lengths may vary. These fit over the cat’s back and fasten from below with Velcro straps at the neck and torso. The lead is attached to a D-ring on the back of the vest. This style doesn’t pinch (something that can happen with straps) and, thanks to the extensive coverage, cats are less likely to wriggle out. Vest harnesses are best for:
Cats in need of superior comfort
Step-in vest: These tend to be smaller than traditional vest harnesses. They typically feature a breathable mesh chest piece with larger leg openings for improved mobility and comfort. It's important to note that while this style is not as secure as a traditional vest harness, it is far easier to put on. These allow your cat to step through the leg openings before the sides are pulled up and secured at the shoulder blades. Some have an adjustable neck strap, too, and may have either Velcro, buckle, or combination fasteners. The D-ring attached to thin nylon straps sewn into the fabric at the neck or shoulders attaches to the lead. These harnesses work best for:
Cats that wriggle or fight when putting on a harness
Cats that need more security than offered by a strap/lead harnesses but not as much as a full jacket style
Figure 8 and H-style harnesses are the most affordable. These typically cost between $10 and $15, depending on the quality of the harness and the brand.
To avoid buckle and material malfunctions, we recommend spending a few dollars more on a harness from a reputable manufacturer.
Step-in vest harnesses generally range between $10 and $20, depending on material, adjustability features, and brand.
Fuller jacket-style vests can cost anywhere from $15 to over $25.
Most experts advise introducing a cat to a harness early in life, but that certainly doesn't mean you can't teach an old cat new tricks. Following these tips can help.
Find a harness style your cat is comfortable with. This can take some trial and error. If you've tried a strap-style harness and your cat stubbornly refuses to cooperate, it may be because he’s uncomfortable. Rather than giving up, try a full jacket or step-in vest harness. Cats can be fussy, and you might need to shop around for different styles and materials before you find a harness he approves of.
Get the right size. Correct sizing is incredibly important. Fluffy will easily slip out of a harness that's too large. One that's too small will be uncomfortable or impossible to close. Either way, a harness that isn't sized correctly will be useless. Follow sizing guidelines and always measure twice before purchasing.
Before attempting to put the harness on, let your cat get familiar with it. Leaving it within easy reach so she can sniff it or play with it can help eliminate fear.
Let your cat wear the harness around the house. Before you attempt to walk your cat, let her wear just the harness for a few minutes each day. This will help her get used to the feel of it.
Practice indoors first. Once your cat is familiar with the harness, attach the lead and practice walking around the house. This allows both you and your cat to become accustomed to using the harness in a safe and friendly environment.
Use treats for encouragement. Giving your kitty a treat can create a positive association with wearing the harness. Offering him a tasty morsel is also a great way to communicate your approval and reinforce good behavior.
Always carry your cat outside. Allowing her to walk out can send the message that this is acceptable behavior, and most will continue to do so even when not wearing a harness and lead.
Be patient. Not all cats will take to using a harness immediately, and some may need a little more time than others. Be patient with your kitty, and don't be tempted to throw in the towel after just a few tries.
While there may be a handful of cats who flat-out refuse to cooperate, with a little time, patience, and practice, most can be successfully trained to walk with a harness.
Q. What is the safest harness style?
A. When sized correctly, full vest harnesses tend to be the most difficult for a cat to get out of. Thanks to their wider straps and extra padding, they're generally the most comfortable as well.
Q. How can I tell if the harness is too tight?
A. The best way to tell if you have a good fit is by using the finger method. Start with the neck strap. The fit should be snug while still allowing you to slide one finger between the strap and your cat's neck. Loosen the strap if you have difficulty sliding in your finger. If you can fit more than one finger, it might need to be tightened. The same method can be used for chest girth (the area directly behind the front legs).
Q. My cat won't use a harness. Are there other outdoor alternatives?
A. There are a handful of other safe outdoor options for cats who just won't tolerate wearing a harness. Outdoor cat enclosures and tents are available in variety of styles, ranging from simple to elaborate. These can provide cats with a safe space in which to experience outdoor pleasures. If you really like the idea of taking your cat for a walk (and your cat is willing) a pet stroller might be another option. Last, but certainly not least, is the cat patio, or “catio,” which can be connected to a window, allowing your cat to safely climb out to get some fresh air.
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