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All pets need regular exercise to remain healthy and our feline companions are no exception. Though most cats will be satisfied playing around the apartment or backyard, some will prefer a nice stroll in the park. For those adventurous kitties, a cat harness and leash are a must-have. Secure and comfortable, a harness will give your kitty maximum freedom to explore their surroundings while keeping them safe and sound in case of trouble.
But, with so many types and styles on the market, how do you know which harness to choose? Our panel of cat experts and pet lovers has put together a list of some of the best cat harnesses to help you make the right decision for yourself and your furry feline. And if you need more info on how to choose the right model? Our comprehensive buying guide contains everything you need to know!
Made of a soft and breathable material, with a lot of support in all the right places, the Voyager cat vest harness offers the best of all worlds. It’s hassle-free and incredibly easy to use thanks to its convenient step-in design, but it’s also durable and secure due to its sturdy buckles, strong velcro closure and double D-rings. It’s also all-weather appropriate as the breathable mesh makes it comfy both for summer and winter walks. Importantly, the safety vest is also highly durable and perfectly safe thanks to its fuzzy fastener and snap-in buckle, making it suitable even for larger cats who have a stronger pull on the leash.
If you are looking for a safe and effective way of letting your cat explore the outside world, check out Come With Me Kitty Harness and Bungee Leash from PetSafe. This kitty harness is designed to cradle your cat and restrain forward motion when you apply gentle pressure via the leash. Aside from helping control your pet, the cradling effect also helps calm most cats without putting any pressure on their neck or throat area. The harness is adjustable, so it can be set to meet your cat’s specific shape and size. The shoulder straps move through the D-rings on the back so that you can increase pressure if needed, while the bungee leash provided softens the effect of your furry feline reaching the end of the leash.
Available in small, medium, and large
Dual-adjustment points and adjustable straps
Applies gentle pressure to shoulders, rather than the neck or throat
Bungee leash ensures no sharp jolts to your cat when they reach the end of the leash length
If your cat is an escape artist when it comes to harnesses and leashes, check out Puppia’s Authentic RiteFit Harness. Specifically made to keep pets both comfortable and secure, this harness is perfect for mischievous cats and felines who are uncomfortable wearing classic ‘H’ style cat harnesses. The material used in the construction of this model is polyester mesh which feels snug and pleasant on the skin. The quick-release buckles around the neck in combination with loop and hook straps provide much-needed adjustability for the neck area for fussy felines. There is also an adjustable chest belt that allows for even more flexibility – perfect for cats who are in-between sizes. Speaking of which, there are four available sizes, but we find that the small model fits best most cats.
The Cat Harness by Kitty Holster is a wraparound vest style harness made from 100 percent cotton. Needless to say, it’s one of the softest, most breathable and comfortable harnesses on the market. Secured by two wide Velcro straps, it provides plenty of safety but it’s not ideal for escape artists. The lining of the harness is made from undyed cotton, so the model is suitable for use in all weather conditions. Lightweight but strong, the harness has a single D-ring leash attachment point and can be washed to keep it in top condition.
Available in four sizes from x-small to x-large
Easy to fit wrap-around harness secured by two Velcro straps
Made from 100 percent cotton – breathable and washable
Single D-ring leash attachment point – leash not included
This super-soft step-in style harness by Best Pet Supplies provides both safety and comfort for your cat. Made from plush suede and featuring multiple adjustable points, the Voyager ensures a perfectly comfortable fit. The no pull harness includes an extra strong Velcro strap and clip lock to keep the harness in place, plus a double D-ring leash attachment point. This model is ideal for winter walks and use in colder climates as it’s padded with cozy fleece; it can be machine washed on a delicate cycle and then air-dried to keep it in top condition.
Available in five different sizes from x-small to x-large
The step-in style harness, secured with a Velcro strap and quick release clip lock buckle
Made from soft plush suede, the no-pull harness can be machine washed and air dried
Double D-ring leash attachment point – leash not included
The wrap-around, vest style Escape Proof Car Harness and Leash by PUPTECK is perfect for cats who need a little extra support to stop them wiggling out of their harness. Made from breathable air mesh fabric, this model ensures your kitty is comfortable whatever the weather. The vest has two closure points at the neck and around the chest. The neck point is secured with a plastic closure and Velcro strap, while the chest closure is a strong Velcro strap. As a nice bonus, the leash – which is made from strong nylon and attaches to the harness via two heavy D-rings on the back – is included with the harness.
Available in small, medium, and large sizes
Easy to wrap around vest style harness, secured by two Velcro straps and a plastic clip
Made from breathable material so it is suitable for all weather conditions
Dual heavy-duty D-rings secure the leash to the harness – strong nylon leash is included
The No Pull Comfort Padded Vest by PACCOMFET is made from 100 percent polyester for durability and strength, and covered with breathable mesh for comfort. It enables you to have control over your feline’s movement without causing them any pain or discomfort thanks to its adjustable and padded design. It includes a single D-ring leash attachment point on the top and a single adjustable strap to ensure a good fit. There are three sizes and many colors available, but we recommend either the xs or s models for cats.
Available in x-small, small, and medium sizes
Made from 100 percent polyester, covered with a breathable mesh, and padded for additional comfort
Over the head fit, with click lock clasp and adjustable strap
Single D-ring leash attachment point – leash not included
If your cat hates the feeling of heavy, restricting harnesses, the Gauterf Universal Harness is a great option to consider. Made of soft, breathable mesh material, this harness is incredibly lightweight and comfortable, suitable even for the fussiest of felines out there. It’s also adjustable thanks to 2 buckles that can be adapted according to the size of your pet. At the same time, it’s also safe and secure thanks to the strong Velcro closure and a locking snap. To increase safety when walking at night, the harness has reflective tapes on both sides. There is a wide range of sizes and colors available too, so finding the right model for your kitty shouldn’t be a problem.
Pupteck adjustable cat harness is designed to fit small cats and young puppies under 12 lbs. The harness evenly distributes pressure and is adjustable for the perfect fit, however, since it’s not padded, we don’t recommend it for fussy felines and very long walks. This said, the harness is easy to fit and secure with snap-lock buckles on both the front and rear body straps. The set also comes complete with a matching leash, which attaches to the harness via a single D-ring. Overall, a simple but highly durable harness that’s best suited to escape artists.
Available in one size, adjustable to fit chest girths from 10” to 17” and neck girths from 7” to 10”
Adjustable straps for a comfortable fit
Secured by two quick-release clip lock buckles
Single D-ring leash attachment point – leash included
Looking for a stylish pet harness for your kitty? Check out ABPet Vest that comes in three adorable designs and colors. Made from soft fabric, with a breathable mesh lining, this cute harness is pretty comfy and suitable for most weather conditions. It’s also adjustable at the back, which makes finding the right fit a piece of cake. The harness features a no-pull design, which, combined with an alloy buckle, makes for safe and comfortable walks. That said, this is not the most secure harness out there – if your kitty is an escape artist, you may want to look for another, sturdier and more snug harness. This piece is all about comfort and style, making it suitable only for already harness-trained cats.
A great harness that is shown to be a comfortable option for both your cat and yourself. This harness has a mesh inner fabric to maintain breathability, while the fabric outside keeps dirt and debris outside of the smaller holes. With a cute design that is sure to stand out, owners love how this option brings together both style and comfort.
Designed for toy breed dogs, puppies and cats, this option is easy to click on and off, with even the most wriggly pet! The buckles work together with the design to ensure security for your cat without restricting movement, and the open back reduces the risk of friction. There’s even an element of adjustability to meet the needs of different sized cats.
The simple, yet effective Mesh Cat Harness from Coastal Pet is ideal for use in any weather, especially summer thanks to its light, breathable mesh design. The over the head harness is easy to fit and secures with a quick-release click-lock buckle. The lower strap is adjustable so that it can fit most cats snuggly. The harness also comes with a single D-ring attachment point, but unfortunately, a leash is not included.
Available in one size to fit chest girths from 14” to 16” and Neck girths from 8” to 10”
Over the head design, easy to fit
Secured by a single quick-release clip-lock buckle
Single D-ring leash attachment point – leash not included
Knowing more about the best cat harnesses that are available is only half the answer. It’s also important to learn more about harnesses in general, how they should be fitted, and what to look for in a good model. It is also important to consider what makes a good cat leash as a harness is often only as good as the leash that connects you to your cat. In this part of the buying guide, we provide answers to these and other questions to help you get the best possible cat harness for your needs.
Benefits of Harnesses for Cats
As a cat owner, you’re probably aware that most felines are curious and mischievous creatures that like to explore the outside world on their own terms. If left to their own devices though, cats will often run away and get into all sorts of troubles that sometimes can lead to serious injuries, and even death. However, the answer is not to lock your cat inside the apartment and never let them out. After all, cats thrive on external stimulation – exploring the outdoors is good for their physical and mental health. The solution? Walking your cat with a pet harness and leash.
A quality harness has various benefits, with the three main ones being:
Keeps cats safe: no matter the breed, age, or size of your cat, a secure harness will keep them safe while they’re exploring the outdoors. If you encounter another animal, such as a large dog or a feral cat, you can quickly pull your kitty to your arms and avoid fights and or/chasing after them.
Particularly useful for seniors: while all cats can and should use a harness when walking outside, you’ll find that older cats reap the most benefits. A lot of senior cats suffer from joint pains and can’t walk for long periods of time on their own, which is why harnesses are a godsend – they offer support right where it’s needed, keeping them comfortable when walking, plus safe in case you encounter danger.
Allows for comfortable exploring: unlike most dogs who can be walked with leash and collar only, cats, being that they’re smaller and more delicate, need more support for comfortable walking and outdoor exploring. A well-fitting harness made with soft and breathable material will help keep your feline companion not only safe when walking and exploring but comfortable too, as it will remove excess pressure off their neck and throat.
While harnesses may differ widely in appearance, material, and size, there are three main categories that they all fit into. These types are figure-8 harnesses, V-harnesses, and H-harnesses.
This is a basic style of harness that consists of two circles that go around your cat’s neck and torso and attach at the back of your cat’s neck. The Figure-8 harness is often considered the best harness for those looking to walk their cat on a harness and leash as it tightens to apply gentle pressure as your cat moves. This makes it easier for owners to keep control and means your cat is a lot less likely to be able to slip out of the harness.
These are vest-style harnesses. They tend to wrap around your cat and secure at two points across the body with Velcro straps, but often also with quick-release buckles to provide additional security for your cat. This style of harness is preferred if your cat is going to be wearing it for long periods of time. The material it is made from is important too as your cat could overheat in warmer months if the vest material is too heavy or not breathable.
The H-harness is similar to the figure-8 harness, but it has an additional piece of material that runs between the two loops. This makes it look like the letter H when you look at your cat from the side. The H-harness helps to distribute pressure more evenly across your cat’s body if they pull. This helps to prevent injuries to your cat’s neck, particularly if they are young or prone to tugging on the leash.
What to Look Out For When Buying the Best Cat Harness
Buying a harness for your cat is not just about the type of harness you need, it is also about the material used, how easy it is to put on, and the safety features that are included. Here we look at these and other things you should look out for in a cat harness.
Easy to Clean
This is especially important if you are taking your cat hiking or walking through environments where they could get muddy. If the harness cannot be washed, then it is likely to become uncomfortable for your cat to wear and could potentially become a breeding ground for bacteria. A machine-washable harness will be easier to clean and is likely to dry quicker than one that needs to be hand washed.
Easy to Use
It may take a while for your cat to acclimatize to wearing a harness, so one that is simple to put on is essential. It is also likely to cause less stress to your cat.
Look for safety features including quick-release buckles and strong D-ring attachment points for the leash. If the leash is not included, then check that the leash you buy is suitable for use with the harness. The best cat leashes are designed to the same high standard and often include elastic like a bungee leash rope to provide some ‘give’ when your cat gets to the end of the leash length. Check that the harness distributes pressure evenly across the body and does not pull on or restrict their neck or throat.
You want your cat harness to be effective and long-lasting. Check aspects such as the stitching around the D-rings and closure points. Also, look for good finishing on the edges of the harness; if these begin to fray your cat could easily get caught in the loose threads or get them caught on things while you are out walking.
Size and Adjustability
It is crucial that you purchase the right size for your cat. If the harness is too small it could restrict their breathing and movement, but if it’s too big they could easily slip out of it or become tangled in it. The best cat harnesses are also adjustable so that they can be fitted exactly to the shape and size of the individual cat.
The last thing you want is your cat overheating while they are wearing their harness. Unless you are in a cold climate or using the harness during the winter months, it is important to avoid heavy materials. If using a vest-style harness, check that the material is breathable and includes padding to make it more comfortable. Nylon and cotton are both popular choices for harnesses, however, for vest harnesses cotton is more likely to be comfortable and provide breathability.
To avoid your cat slipping out of the harness you need to ensure that it closes up securely. Most close with either Velcro or clip buckles, or a combination of both. Velcro strap should be wide enough not to dig into your cat and buckles should have a quick release feature, just in case you need to remove the harness quickly.
Once you have found the perfect harness and leash, the next step is to get your cat used to it and this is a process that in most cases takes time. Start by introducing your cat to the harness by leaving it with their other toys and accessories. Being curious by nature, it should not take long for your cat to start investigating the harness. You can familiarize your cat with the harness by rubbing it on their bed or blanket to place their smell on it and make it seem more familiar.
The next step is to place treats near the harness so they begin to associate it with positive rewards. At this stage, you can put the harness on your cat; and remember to praise and treat them while they’re wearing it. If they become stressed at any point, take the harness off of them because you don’t want them to associate it with negative experiences.
Once you have managed to get the harness on the cat and they don’t seem to mind it, let them wear it indoors to become accustomed to the feel of it. This is a good chance to check its fit and how your cat moves when wearing it. Do this for a few days while practicing putting it on and taking it off.
Next, attach the leash and practice walking with your cat indoors. Start by being led by your cat before you take control of the direction of movement. Again, it is important to associate wearing the harness and leash with something positive, so plenty of praise and treats.
Now you are ready to go outdoors. Start small and in familiar surroundings, especially if your cat is new to going outside. Build up the amount of time you are out slowly and introduce new experiences over that time. Always double-check the fit before your head out and check the harness for signs of wear when you return.
A: A cat harness is a piece of equipment that consists of straps and webbing that fit around a cat’s body, specifically their neck and back, and connect to a leash. There are two main types of harnesses: a vest style and a classic ‘H’ style. The former one fits around a cat’s chest much like a vest does on a human, only it clips on the back. The H shape harness, on the other hand, consists of several straps that go around the animal’s waist and neck, helping distribute pressure evenly. Both styles have the same purpose and work in a very similar way: they keep your cat safe and secure when walking and participating in outdoor activities by comfortably restraining them.
Unlike dogs, who are stronger and more muscular than cats, our feline companions cannot be walked with a collar and leash combo as this puts too much pressure on their soft throats. That’s why a proper pet harness is a must-have for cat owners.
Q: Can a cat be walked on a leash?
A: Like all animals, cats love walking and exploring the great outdoors. And while physical activity is great for your cat’s physical health, it’s also vital for their mental wellbeing, especially if they otherwise lead a sedentary lifestyle. Outdoor exploration is fun and relaxing at the same time, and can help lower your kitty’s stress levels and boost their self-esteem. Unfortunately, there are many potential dangers for cats in the great outdoors – dogs, other cats, and cars, just to name a few. To provide your kitty with the outdoor fun they crave but keep them safe and sound at the same time, it’s necessary to walk them on a leash. A well-fitting harness, a secure leash, and some practice are all it takes to teach a cat to walk on a leash. A quality harness is particularly important as it allows you to attach the leash to your cat’s body in a comfortable way – without putting pressure on their neck and throat.
If you and your pet are complete beginners to leash walking, start with baby steps.
First, purchase a harness and introduce it to your cat. Let them smell and touch it before putting it on them. Once they’re in, offer a couple of treats to associate being in a harness with a positive experience. Then, attach a leash to the harness and start walking indoors. It may take a few tries and a few days, but your kitty will eventually start walking properly, especially if you offer treats every time they do it successfully.
Once your cat has learned to walk on a leash in the house, it’s time to move outside. Again, start slowly – first in your backyard if you own it, if not, in a quiet street or a park. Let your kitty explore and help keep them calm with words of encouragement and petting. It’s also a good idea to take a few treats with you to reward positive behavior whenever possible.
After your pet has successfully walked on a leash several times in a quiet part of your neighborhood, you can try busier streets and parks. Remember to keep things slow and calm – some cats need more time to get used to walking on a leash than others and it’s important to train them at their own pace.
Q: How Do I Put on a Cat Harness?
A: The key is to take your time and to ensure your cat is familiar and comfortable around the harness before you try to put it on them. Different styles of harness need to be fitted to your cat differently, so always check the manufacturers’ guidance before trying to fit the harness. Style aside, there are some elements that are important to remember for every cat harness, including:
Make sure your cat is calm and comfortable before putting on the harness. You may want to sit them on your lap, pet and treat them before getting started.
Ensure that you have the harness laid out the right way around to reduce the time it takes to put it on.
Talk to your cat while placing the harness on them and remain calm; you can continue giving them treats to distract them.
If your cat shows signs of stress or agitation, stop, and give it some time before you try again.
Check the fit before you attach the leash. Experts suggest running your fingers between the harness and your cat. You should comfortably be able to get two fingers between your cat’s body and the harness.
Attach the leash, check it is connected properly, and you are ready to go.
Q: What is the Safest Harness Style?
A: The most important thing to remember about cat harnesses is that they should not put any pressure on your pet’s neck or throat. This means that quality is more important than style. However, the specific style you should go for depends on the nature of your cat and the intended use of the harness.
If you are looking to walk with your cat regularly but they’re a beginner, then experts generally agree that a figure-8 harness is the safest. This is because it gives you more control if your cat pulls. When this happens this style of the harness tightens slightly, ensuring they cannot slip out of the harness without choking your cat.
It is also important to look at the safety features of the harness. Those that are safest tend to have secure clip lock buckles to keep the harness in place and are adjustable to meet the needs of your cat.
Q: How Can I Tell if the Harness is too Tight?
A: If the harness is too tight your cat will be uncomfortable, and their breathing and movement may be affected. To check the harness is fitted correctly place two fingers between the harness and your cat’s body. If you can slide your fingers between them, then the fit is correct. If your fingers are stuck or squashed, then the harness is too tight. Similarly, if you can move your fingers too easily, or there is room for more of your hand, then the harness is too loose, and you risk your cat slipping out.
By choosing the best cat harness from our list and following our detailed buying guide you can be assured that you will find a harness that your cat will grow to love. They gain additional freedom and stimulation, while you get peace of mind knowing they are safe and secure – it’s a win-win!
A freelance writer and word nerd, Wendy is a content writer with a knack for getting into the nitty-gritty of pet ownership. For the past three years, she’s been researching and writing a huge range of different topics – but always comes back to her beloved pet articles. Lover of all things four-legged and owner of Harley, Pepper and Rush, Wendy is currently completing her MNSW at Edge Hill University.