Which cat harness is best?
While taking the cat out for a walk may sound like an exercise in futility, there are times when a cat does need to be guided by a leash or harness. Cats are notoriously curious, so a trip around the property or a walk in the park can become a search-and-rescue mission without the use of a cat harness. A cat harness safely and securely restrains the pet without limiting its mobility or preferred pace. Cats may not take to leashes as easily as dogs, but they can be trained to accept them.
If you are in need of a cat harness or two, read our helpful buying guide below. We address many of the concerns and questions a cat owner may have, and we have some shopping suggestions as well. Our top choice is the Kitty Holster Cat Harness, a comfortable wrap-around harness that works well as an indoor cat’s first harness system.
What to know before you buy a cat harness
Cat harness design
There are essentially two basic designs for cat harnesses: a wraparound vest or a buckle-and strap harness. Each has their advantages and disadvantages, and a cat’s comfort level does play a role when choosing between the two. Some cats prefer to step into a vest-style harness on their own terms, while owners find attaching a buckle-and-strap harness is easier to put on a more experienced pet.
The closures on a wraparound vest tend to be hook-and-loop, which does help with adjustability but can also disturb some cats with its distinctive noise. Once the vest is on, the owner attaches a lead line to a D-ring or other designated attachment. Many buckle-and-strap harnesses use snap-together buckles, and the leash attaches to the harness. Adjustments may be more challenging to make.
Ease of use
Cat harnesses need to be easily adjustable, because cats will try to escape a loose-fitting harness and will feel too restricted by a tight-fitting one. Vest-style harnesses can be adjusted by changing the fit around the cat’s body. Buckle-style harnesses are adjusted by changing the loops around the pet’s waist and neck.
The harnesses lead line is also a consideration. Some are a fixed length, which means a cat may struggle and strain at the end of it. Others allow owners to reel out or reel in the leash as needed. Some cats respond better to a restrictive lead line, while others prefer to explore their environment as they walk. Harnesses should be lightweight, but sturdy enough to restrain a motivated cat.
What to look for in a quality cat harness
The most basic buckle-style cat harness is more functional than decorative, much like a cat’s collar. Higher-end buckle harnesses, however, can feature pleasing design elements such as metallic studs or rhinestones. Vest-style cat leashes can also incorporate eye-catching graphics or be customized to include the cat’s name or other personal details.
When evaluating a new cat leash, it pays to look at the accompanying hardware. Solid metal or plastic attachment rings will make sure a cat cannot break loose easily. Buckles need to snap together securely, and adjustment loops should not loosen easily. Any hook-and-loop closure should fit snugly without gaps.
How much you can expect to spend on a cat harness
The most basic buckle-and-strap cat harness on pet store shelves will cost between $9-$12, while a decent vest-style harness retails for around $13-$16. Higher-end versions of either harness style are generally available through specialized pet supply stores, and can cost $20 or more.
Cat harness FAQ
How should I introduce my cat to a harness?
A. Many cats respond well to a casual introduction of a new toy or new harness. You should unbox the harness indoors and allow your cat to inspect it naturally. The cat may smell it, chew it, drag it or mark it. Only then should you consider attaching it loosely.
My cat will wear the harness, but she won’t go for a walk in it. What can I do?
A. Unlike walking most dogs, walking a cat requires patience and encouragement. Carry a supply of cat treats and reward your cat for any signs of progress. Words of praise and a positive attitude should also motivate a cat to take a short walk (10-15 minutes) in a harness.
What’s the best cat harness to buy?
Top cat harness
What you need to know: This wraparound harness is ideal for owners of indoor cats not conditioned to three-point harnesses or leashes.
What you’ll love: Constructed from breathable cotton. Secure hook-and-loop closure. Comfortable and machine washable. Slips on easily, challenging to escape. Dye-free, will not trigger allergies.
What you should consider: Leash not included. Can restrict mobility in some cats.
Where to buy: Sold by Amazon
Top cat harness for the money
What you need to know: The Pupteck harness and leash has a basic design, but is an economical way to introduce the concept to kittens and adult cats.
What you’ll love: Affordable price point. Sturdy nylon leash and body straps. Adjustable “H”-shaped straps. Does not create pressure points. Suitable for kittens, adult cats and small puppies.
What you should consider: Distance between straps can be too short. Easy for some cats to escape.
Where to buy: Sold by Amazon
Worth checking out
What you need to know: This comfortable harness and leash is recommended for owners who are just starting leash training through indoor sessions.
What you’ll love: Available in a range of colors. Contains soft padding and breathable mesh. Hook-and-loop closures, no hard buckles. Adjustable neck and chest straps.
What you should consider: A number of owners report frequent escapes. Material retains heat.
Where to buy: Sold by Amazon
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Michael Pollick writes for BestReviews. BestReviews has helped millions of consumers simplify their purchasing decisions, saving them time and money.
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