After hours of research and testing, the best cat harness we found is the rabbitgoo Cat Harness and Leash for Walking. It comes in 2 sizes, fits snuggly around the torso, and keeps even the most wiggly feline from escaping. Made from breathable mesh and reflective material it keeps your kitty comfortable and safe.
Our top 5 picks for the best cat harness
- rabbitgoo Cat Harness and Leash for Walking
- Yizhi Miaow Escape Proof Cat Harness
- Cat Harness by Kitty Holster
- Voyager Step-in Air Dog Harness
- PetSafe Come With Me Kitty Harness
Are cat harnesses a good idea?
You don’t see cats on a leash nearly as often as you see dogs. Because of this, many owners often don’t consider buying one—some may even feel silly.
Even though cats don’t need as much exercise as dogs, some cats benefit from going outdoors in a harness (1).
Cats who don’t get enough stimulation resort to bad behavior and wild antics (2). You can find them racing across the living room, scratching the furniture, or literally climbing your walls.
Cats are naturally curious animals who like to observe the world. Leave a perch by the window, and you’ll find your cat sitting there.
Whether or not a cat harness is a good idea depends on your kitty.
For outgoing cats who aren’t bothered by changes in routine, a walk outside could be a welcome change. But for shy cats who hide from anything new, going out in a harness could be stressful.
Cats are also territorial. Bringing a nervous cat outside in unfamiliar surroundings could stress them. In these situations, focus on improving their home environment. This could include a cat tree with a perch and other furniture that they can climb on.
How to measure cat for harness
Measuring your cat is essential. Cats in harnesses are like Houdini. They can escape in a second from seemingly impossible situations.
Fortunately, measuring your cat is simple. Here’s what you need:
- A soft tape measure.
- Pen and paper.
- A compliant cat.
This is what you do:
- Start by measuring the front of your cat’s forelegs. Take the tape measure and bring it around their chest and back up again to the shoulders. Read the result and write it down.
- Next, measure behind the forelegs or the circumference of your cat. Bring the tape measure around the girth and back up to the shoulders. Then write the results down.
- Once you have your measurements, consult the size chart of the cat harness you’re looking to purchase.
How to put on a harness on a cat
How to put a harness on your cat depends on what type of harness you have.
H-style harnesses resemble an “H” when laid out. These have a strap running over your cat’s shoulders. They’re pretty old school but are reasonably easy to put on.
Here’s how to put it on your kitty:
- Begin by getting an overview of the harness. Lay it out on a table and locate where the neck and girth go.
- Place the harness on your cat. Gently bring the front loop around the neck and close the fasteners. Make sure you can fit one finger between the strap and your cat.
- Take the girth loop and bring it around the belly. Fasten it, and check with your finger. Now you should be ready to go.
Vest-style cat harnesses are also easy to put on. If there are fasteners or buckles, place it on their back and attach the ends around their chest and girth.
Some cats may not let you do it if there aren’t buckles or hook and loop fasteners.
Here’s what you do:
- Begin by familiarizing yourself with the harness. Locate the ends and open buckles and fasteners, if any.
- Bring your cat’s head through the front opening. You may need to use treats to bribe them.
- Next, bring the harness either under or over their shoulders and fasten. Make sure it sits snugly but comfortably, and you should be ready to put your kitty on a leash.
How to get a cat used to a harness
Be patient as your cat gets used to their new harness. The best thing to do is to divide the process into two phases: an intro and trying on the harness.
Introducing the cat harness to your cat
The key to getting cats used to the harness is by creating positive experiences. This generally means food.
Begin by leaving the harness close to your kitty’s food bowl (3). Once they’re familiar with it, hold it while letting them sniff it. Then offer a treat afterward.
Once they’re comfortable, work the buckles, fasteners, and snaps. Cats can be sensitive to new sounds, so doing this helps them become used to the noises (4). Then, of course, offer a treat.
Putting the harness on
When they feel comfortable around it, it’s time to try it on without fastening it.
Pick a time when you can distract your cat. For example, right before mealtime. Slip the harness on and then bring dinner out to distract them from trying to escape. This also associates it with food.
Continue doing this for several days until you feel they’re comfortable in the harness.
Now you can start closing the fasteners and slowly adjusting the fit. Remember, patience is key—follow their signals and avoid forcing anything.
Over time, you can begin leaving the harness on for longer. If your cat gets irritated or scared, distract them with a treat and take the harness off. You don’t want them to associate it with negative feelings.
The first time they walk in the harness, your cat may freeze up or refuse to walk. This is totally normal. They just need some time to get used to the feeling.
Can you leave a cat harness on?
Leaving the harness on your cat while you’re around is fine. This can help you get a hold of them quickly and help them familiarize themselves with the feeling.
However, if you’re leaving your kitty unattended, take the harness off. It can injure your cat if it gets caught in something.
Are cat harnesses the same as dog harnesses?
Cat and dog harnesses share similarities, but there are key differences.
For starters, dog harnesses are, on average, larger than cat harnesses. There are also differences in fit since a dog’s body isn’t the same as a cat’s.
That said, some dog harnesses can work for large cats, like Maine Coon Cats and Norwegian Forest Cats.
Finding the best cat harness
To help you find the best harness for a cat, remember these 4 points:
Start by choosing a type of harness. For cats, there are a few, but the 3 best are: H-shaped, vest-style, and step-in harnesses.
Pick one you think your cat would be most comfortable with. If they’re shy, go for either an H-shaped or step-in harness. You can get your cat into these without having to pull anything over their head.
Although not all cats will like being in a harness, most get used to it if it’s comfortable.
Look for materials that won’t irritate or rub at your cat’s skin and fur. Soft mesh is excellent to control heat, but not all cats like it. Cotton is breathable and usually soft to the touch.
Consider if certain items on the harness may scare your cat. Hook and loop closures or noisy buckles can scare a nervous cat.
Safety features like reflective bands or even a bell can help keep your cat visible. It may also make it easier for you to find them if they escape.
Escape proof cat harness
No cat harness is 100% escape-proof, but some come closer than others. Such harnesses fit snugly and may have double fasteners. For example, hook and loop with a buckle.
That said, make sure you get the right size and follow the manufacturer’s instructions.
What is the best harness for a cat?
After hours of research, we found 5 of the best cat harnesses that make taking your kitty on a leash a snap. Let’s take a look:
The cat harness and leash from rabbitgoo is great for both small and large cats. The harness is available in two sizes: XS (extra small) and S (small).
XS fits a neck between 8.5 to 11 inches and a chest circumference of 13.5 to 16 inches. For the S option, your kitty needs to measure 11 to 13.7 inches around the neck and 18 to 20 inches around the chest.
The harness is a vest-style design. It distributes pressure across the shoulders and chest for a comfortable fit. The harness has reflective strips to increase your cat’s visibility to motorists.
It’s made of breathable soft mesh and sits snugly around your kitty’s body. The material keeps them cool while you bring them outdoors for exercise or to the vet.
The manufacturer states that it’s an escape-proof cat harness. It features 4 adjustable straps. These allow you to fine-tune the fit according to your kitty.
However, your cat’s head should be at least 10 inches in circumference. Otherwise, they might slip out. You should be able to fit one finger between the harness and your kitty.
Included in the bundle is a long durable nylon leash. You can attach it to the metal clip at the back of the harness. The cat leash measures 59 inches (150 cm), plenty long for a kitty.
One minor drawback to this system getting the harness on your cat. You have to slip the harness over your cat’s head. This can scare some shy cats.
- Minimizes discomfort by distributing pressure.
- Reflective strips for extra visibility.
- Breathable mesh material.
- Durable nylon leash.
- Adjustable straps.
- Overhead application, which isn’t ideal for nervous cats.
The Yizhi Miaow cat harness is another vest-shaped design. It’s available in several sizes and fits cats with torsos measuring between 8 to 18 inches. Make sure you measure your cat and then use the handy size chart for guidance.
This cat harness includes Magic Tape closures. These allow you to quickly and easily put the harness on your cat and adjust the fit to match. Both the neck and chest straps are ultra-soft and comfortable.
The vest is lined with a layer of breathable mesh. This improves ventilation and helps keep your cat from overheating.
There are several colors and prints to choose from. These include pink, black, blue, polka dots, camo, and sailor stripes.
Included is a thorough guide on how to train your cat to walk on a leash. It recommends that you start indoors so they can’t run far away.
One drawback is the durability of the leash ring. If your kitty is determined to chase something, it may break off. We recommend reinforcing the ring with a small key ring available at a store like Home Depot.
- Sizes available for various cats.
- Includes Magic Touch closures.
- Padded vest-shape design.
- Comfortable with breathable mesh.
- Several colors and prints are available.
- Durability may not be the best.
The Cat Harness by Kitty Holster is an award-winning vest for cats. Made of breathable cotton, the harness is ultra-comfy and durable.
It’s available in four sizes: XS, S/M, M/L, and XL. It’s easy to use—you simply put it over your kitty and adjust the hook and loop closures. The harness should cover half their length.
The Kitty Holster comes in multiple colors and prints. There’s anything from bandana to tiger patterns to channel your inner Carole Baskin.
At the top, there’s a D-ring where you attach the leash. It’s sturdy and should easily withstand the pulls of any tiger kitty. You can use the cat harness for any occasion, whether it’s a vet trip or a walk around the neighborhood.
The cotton lining is 100% undyed, so you won’t have to worry about chemicals. It’s also machine washable, so accidents and dirt are no biggie.
Be mindful, however, of the sizes. It can be big in the neck area and snug around the belly.
- Comfortable undyed cotton material.
- Durable D-shaped ring.
- Several colors are available.
- Machine washable.
- The fit may be a bit odd on some cats.
- Not fully escape-proof.
For bigger cats, I recommend looking at this pet harness from Voyager. This is a step-in design that’s easy to sneak your cat into.
The Voyager pet harness consists of all-weather mesh. It’s breathable and lightweight, perfect for wearing around the house or for walks. The material is also supportive and fits snugly around their body.
The harness features durable hook and loop fasteners that make it easy to put on and take off. For added security, there’s also a buckle, which holds it together in case the closures come undone.
To put it on your kitty, lay it out on the floor, then place your cat over it with their paws inside the openings. Pull it up and fasten it over their shoulders.
Once you’re ready to walk, attach your leash through the double D-rings. The additional ring aids in security, minimizing any chances of your cat escaping.
Around the harness are reflective materials. These keep your furry friend visible during twilight hours.
There’s a wide range of sizes available, but measure your cat and consult the size chart. This harness may not work for smaller cats.
- Suitable for bigger cats.
- Breathable, all-weather mesh.
- Triple security.
- Reflective material.
- Not a fit for small cats.
- The buckle is hard to close and open.
- The material may rub against a cat’s forelegs.
Lastly, we have this cat harness from PetSafe. This is a minimal harness that has a lot to offer.
The best cat harness secures your cat around the chest and behind the forelegs. It applies only gentle pressure to these points should your kitty tug and pull. However, there are no uncomfortable neck-straps.
The harness is available in three sizes: small, medium, and large. But you can also adjust the fit. The harness includes two adjustment points, letting you customize the size.
Included in the bundle is also a bungee-style cat leash. The stretchy material provides some give for your cat as they move. This helps reduce sharp tugs and pulls.
A drawback, however, is the strappy design. Some cats might find it too easy to get out of, so test it indoors first.
- Easy to use.
- Included bungee leash, which minimizes painful tugs and pulls.
- Three sizes are available.
- Adjustment points.
- It might be too easy for some cats to escape.
Kitty on a leash
Getting a cat used to being in a harness and walking on a leash opens up a whole new world of opportunities to have fun with your cat. Remember, walking your cat takes time. So be patient and before you know it, you and your cat will have every dog owner eating out of your hand, ahem, we meant “paw.”