If you have an indoor cat, a cat with FIV or cat that can’t go out due to health problems, you may find yourself being a little wracked with guilt. Cats are naturally outdoor beings and, sometimes, staying indoors is simply suffocating for them. Enter the cat harness.
You might think that cats are not likely to want to be placed on a leash and walked through the streets like a dog, but you would be surprised. Like dogs, many cats love the idea of going out and simply require a little training to get used to the idea. If you’ve never used a cat harness before, take a look through our buying guide to find out everything there is to know about these simple but effective items- and don’t forget to check out our top picks!
The Best Cat Harness
Our top kitten harness is this “H” style cat harness and leash combination, available from PetSafe. While we’re not usually the biggest fans of “H” harnesses, this is a harness that is well thought-out when it comes to happy cats. This cat walking harness is well-placed to provide gentle protection around your cat’s sensitive neck area- with the kit placing pressure over the shoulders, instead.
As well as this, the cat leash has an integrated bungee cord to allow for a much gentler restraint than those available in the competition. This allows for a safe exploration of the world around your cat, without concern about harm or hazards.
Bungee cord leash allows for gentle restraint
Comfortable pressure focuses on shoulders
Popular with cat lovers
- Weight0.8 ounces
Coming in a surprising array of eye-catching colors and made with a comfortable, breathable, polyester mesh, this soft mesh harness is perfect for smaller cats and those kitties who prefer the extra feeling of security that comes with a vest. A great combination of both a “H” style and vest cat harnesses, this is light, durable and comfortable, while still being easy to fit and hard to escape from.
This is a great option for small to medium cats, who are generally of a calmer nature and will allow you to place this item over their head and stay still long enough for you to buckle each adjustable strap around their waist. You’ll also need to check out the best cat leash for sale, as this one comes as a standalone vest.
- Weight0.3 ounces
Coming into the more security-focused items is this escape proof cat harness from PUPTEK. Again, this is made from a breathable mesh, although you will likely notice that this choice comes with a slightly thicker overall material. It also has strong Velcro around the chest area, which is tough enough for cat parents to pop the vest on, without any risk of your cat escaping from their new coat. Finally, the neck area is secured using an adjustable buckle, to ensure no risk of your cat escaping- providing the vest fits well- without being too uncomfortable for your cat.
This isn’t the best choice if your cat is calmer and used to walking, as it may feel a little too controlling for them. However, this is brilliant choice for larger cats, or for those who want the added security of being able to work around and adjust their cat harness.
Double leash connectors
Soft mesh material
Widening Velcro on chest enclosure
- Weight4 ounces
If you’re a fan of cute designs and you know your cat doesn’t mind you popping a t-shirt on him or her, then this is a fantastic option that works well for colder climates. We definitely wouldn’t recommend this for the warmer states, as the vest is made from cotton and can therefore cause your cat to get warm, very quickly, however. There’s also a thicker area under the chest which allows for the Velcro attachment to be placed before walking.
Overall, this is a very comfortable and surprisingly lightweight option, making this is a great choice for cats who like that feeling of comfort. This item probably has the largest surface area of our choices and can therefore be a huge hit for your cat or may stress them out. You know your cat best, so we’ll leave that decision up to you.
Hook and loop closures
10% of profits go to Crazy K Farm
- BrandKitty Holster
- Weight1.6 ounces
The extra-plush fabric of this cat vest harness is perfect for those colder months, as it can keep your cat snug without placing too much pressure on their essential areas, as you walk. This particular vest uses a double set-up of Velcro over the topside of the harness, while being topped with the buckle to ensure the harness doesn’t come apart during your walks.
While we can’t recommend this for cats living in warmer areas or in the summer months, this is still a great option for cat walkers who are looking to provide that extra layer of comfort- which makes it perfect for young or nervous cats. It’s also a great choice for owners of the Maine Coon or similar, large cats who need a larger harness.
Velcro and buckle fastenings
- BrandBest Pet Supplies, Inc.
- Weight1.6 ounces
Admittedly more of a design-oriented option than a security-based harness, this is still a great choice for owners of relaxed cats who are used to their cat walking days. This is a cute little nautical option that uses both a Velcro and buckle option to give some security and can be much easier to get on than some of the more secure harnesses.
Despite being a rather simple-looking option, the vest still allows for freedom around your cat’s neck area and is a comfortable option for cats who enjoy walks on their lead but need the added security that a harness brings.
Harness and leash set
Fabric outer, mesh inner
- Brand Bro’Bear
- Weight4.8 ounces
Another “H” style option and this offering from PUPTECK uses snap-lock buckles with fully adjustable straps which is perfect for cats of different proportions- something that is usually not catered for. If you have a cat which needs a little exercise as they’ve had a few too many treats, this should definitely be your first port-of-call. It’s also handy for growing cats, as you can easily make the straps bigger as your cat grows up, making this a great option as a kitten harness.
“H” style cat harness
Harness and leash set
- Weight1.92 ounces
A super-lightweight choice which works brilliantly as a mid-way between confident kitties and coy cats is this mesh cat harness from Coastal Pet. Being made with a breathable mesh and coming in a shocking light 0.8 ounces (the lightest of our options), this would be perfect for the warmer months or cats who live in sunnier states.
There’s also an easy-to-use D-ring attachment around the adjustable chest strap, which is finished with a snap-lock buckle, giving you both security and flexibility when taking your cat for a walk. It’s available at a great price, but you should definitely check out the best cat leash before buying, as this comes as a standalone vest.
Breathable mesh material
Popular with buyers
- BrandCoastal Pet
- Weight1.6 ounces
This is a very sturdy and durable option that is surprisingly light and is made from a breathable mesh. Perfect for those who like to travel a lot, or simply enjoy walking their pets but want the added security of visibility, this is a great option for cat and dog owners. The main benefit of this vest is the thick, reflective strip that allows for drivers to spot your pet more easily but is also one of the most secure option of our top picks.
The harness is secured using Velcro, plus snap-lock buckles, with a double helping of D-rings to ensure that your little escape artist is unlikely to get away from their owner. All the while, this vest remains comfortable and completely safe for your cat to use.
Easy to clean
- Weight1.76 ounces
Another cat harness that uses a double-secure Velcro and snap-lock buckle for security, our final choice is another escape-proof cat harness that comes with a leash and double d-rings for added peace of mind.
The inner material is made from a lightweight mesh, while the outer material uses denim, to produce a simple but aesthetically-pleasing design. The adjustable straps work well to create a comfortable fit for your cat and the thicker straps around the neck help to keep your cat’s airway free from pressure.
Double security of Velcro and buckles
Mesh inner, denim outer
- Weight5.6 ounces
Best Cat Harness Buying Guide & FAQ
What to Look Out for in A Cat Harness
It’s likely that when you first begin training your cat on their leash and harness, that you’re going to be dealing with an uncomfortable kitty who wants to remove their new clothing. This will lead to a lot of pulling, scratching and generally a very grumpy cat. The best cat harness will be tough enough to handle this tantrum.
Of course, your cat could be as calm as they come, and you may not have any issues at all. However, having that added durability means that your harness is more likely to have added longevity, leading to your saving money over time and being safe in the knowledge that your cat won’t slip out of a damaged harness.
A very important factor is the material that your new item is made of. Naturally, having a fur coat means your cat is likely as cozy and warm as they’ll ever need to be, so adding thick material that increases their body temperature will more than likely lead to problems. The best cat harnesses will be made from breathable material, such a polyester mesh. Try to avoid cotton and similar materials, as these contain heat and can cause health issues in your cat.
There are two main styles of cat harness, which we discuss in more detail below. These are the H-style of cat harness and the cat harness vest. They both come with their own pros and cons, so keep reading to find out more about which style best suits your cat.
Probably the biggest factor in how well your cat takes to their new clothing is the fit of the harness itself. Too tight and your cat may become distressed and instantly hate their new attire and you, while being too loose leaves them open to escaping from their harness and getting themselves into mischief.
We’ll talk about how to get the best fit for your cat in our FAQ section- but the main thing to remember is that you should be able to comfortably fit two fingers between your cat harness and your cats’ skin, without being too tight or too loose.
Easily the most important aspect of buying a cat harness is the safety- after all, the entire reason you’re probably looking at this article is to ensure that your cat is comfortable and safe, while still getting the freedom they require. Remember that your cat needs to be comfortable when using their harness, as a priority- otherwise you risk causing harm to your kitty, which nobody wants.
Simple additional features in your cat harness- combined with the best cat leash- will allow you to feel confident in your cat’s safety. For example, many modern cat harnesses come with multiple adjustable straps, which allow you to get a snug fit, while others are reinforced and even have reflective strips or similar, which encourages their visibility when out and about.
All of our top choices have taken these factors into account- particularly the safety features- and we feel that these choices are honestly some of the best cat harnesses available online, today. Take a look through our choices and see which one best suits your needs.
Types of Cat Harnesses
- H style
The first type is the “H” style cat harness. This comes as a rather stringy-looking piece of kit that can be hard to wrap your head around, at first. Don’t worry, once you see the item on your cat, it all begins to make much more sense!
Essentially, this looks like a H, if you were to look at your cat from above and across their body, as the first strap holds around their neck, while the second holds around their chest or stomach- with a connecting strap along the back of the piece. They are easy to adjust and can usually fit a wider range of cat sizes and breeds- providing you have roughly the right size.
The negatives of the “H” style cat harness is that they are tricky to get on, with many cats becoming annoyed before you complete your mission and wandering off. As well as this, their added adjustability can leave a larger gap for mistaken fittings, leading to many cats easily escaping their host and getting into danger. Because of this, many new users find the vest style of cat harness is much easier, safer and quicker to use.
- Vest style
Also known as a cat harness vest, the vest styles of cat harnesses are usually made of a breathable mesh material- which are ideal as they cover nearly the entire top half of your cat’s body. They can come in two variants- as a t-shirt style, which goes over your kitty’s head and with adjustable fittings, allowing you to place the vest over in the same way you would with a cardigan or waistcoat.
As they’re more all-encompassing, they are a great choice for cats who like to escape from their “H” style harness, as they provide added security and are a little tougher for your adventurer to escape from. They can be a little more expensive, however, but this is usually worth it for the added peace of mind.
Tips for Using a Cat Harness
- Always begin with measurements
To begin, you should get the right fit for your cat as soon as you can- which will require you to take measurements around the chest at the widest area and the neck, just above the shoulders. Don’t forget to take these in both cm and inches, as it’s likely you’ll need to have both to hand in order to work with the sizing guides based online.
- Gently introduce the harness
You should allow your cat to first play with their new clothing, which will allow them to mark it with their scent and show them that the harness isn’t something to be feared. The aim here is to associate the harness with positive memories and experiences.
After you first fit the harness, allow your cat to walk around freely, without the leash. This will give them greater confidence with their new attire and make the next step- going outside- much easier.
- Be patient
Just like dogs, cats can be trained- all it takes is a little time, energy and tasty treats. Don’t pull on your leash and try to make your cat go where you want them to be- this will only make them resent the leash. Allow them time to explore and simply follow their lead.
If your cat is distressed at any point, you can always distract them with your treats. It’s also a good idea to bring a towel on your first few trips outdoors, as this will allow you to scoop up your kitty and bring them home (without any scratches), should anything go wrong.
Best Cat Harness FAQ:
Q: How Do I Put on A Cat Harness?
A: This will depend on the cat harness you buy- if you have a “H” style cat harness, you’ll need to find a decent fit to begin with, so be sure to check the size before you buy. Your cat will need to either step inside this harness or, more likely, you’ll have to have the fiddly task of putting the harness around your cat.
Similar to a collar, you can choose to loosely place this over their neck and chest, and tighten as required, or completely undo the “H” harness to reattach it around the correct areas- do what is best for your and your cat.
The cat harness vest will usually be placed over your cat’s head, much like a t-shirt. Again, this can cause some distress if your cat isn’t used to it, at first but they’ll soon understand that this movement leads to their freedom, so will allow it after a while. Vest harnesses also come in the form of a waistcoat-style opening at the front, which may be easier for you but can lead to an increased likelihood of escape. Both vest styles are admittedly easier to put on and harder to get off, so are more likely to be escape-proof cat harnesses than the “H” styles.
Q: What is The Safest Harness Style?
A: The safest style will always be the harness that has the best durability, fit and features- which can differ from brand-to-brand. That said, the vest that is the most comfortable, places less pressure around your cat’s delicate neck area and is less likely to be Houdinied is undeniably the vest style cat harness. Just be sure to get the right fit and material, which suits both you and your cat.
Q: How Can I Tell If the Harness is Too Tight?
A: Your kitty harness is definitely too tight if you aren’t able to slide two fingers between the harness and your cat. You should also be aware that the harness shouldn’t hang loosely from your cat’s body either, so if you can pop more than two fingers under the harness it is too loose!
Our Top Pick
The biggest benefit to the Come with Me Kitty Harness and Bungee Leash from PetSafe is easily the bungee cord and simple-yet-safe design for your cat. The harness manages to avoid the delicate neck area while still being safe for your cat to use on a regular basis, while the cord has enough give to allow for your kitty to have a little adventure with every trip. Of course, if you are a cat-walking veteran, you can always use the D-ring to exchange this leash type with another of your favorites.
This is massively popular with buyers and provides great security for kitties without weighing them down. Many reviewers mention how quickly their cats approved of the change and note that the fit of the harness seems to work brilliantly for their cats.
Available at a great price and loved by thousands of buyers, this is easily our top pick thanks to the accessibility, durability and overall safety that this cat harness from PetSafe brings.