The best cat harness will not only be comfortable, it will keep your feline travel buddy safer. Learn which harnesses are best depending on your cat’s age, shape, and preferences.
More and more cats are enjoying adventures with their people — from camping and hiking to exploring beaches and parks. And the most important thing these adventurous cats need to keep them safe when they’re out and about is a good, well-fitted harness. In this post we’ll help you discover the best cat harness for your feline friend.
Why A Cat Harness?
Our cats, Fish and Chips, have been hiking, camping, and traveling with us for years. It provides them with endless entertainment, results in better behavior at home, allows them to get the exercise they need, and strengthens our bond.
Of course, there’s also the added benefit of never having to find a pet sitter!
If you decide to take your cat outdoors, whether exploring in the backyard or off on multi-day hiking trips, the first thing you’ll need is the right cat harness. Collars are fine for attaching ID tags and a bell, but it would be dangerous to attach a leash to your cat’s collar.
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Start With A Kitten Harness
Many harnesses made for small dogs fit adult cats, so if your cat is full-grown you’ll have more options. Unfortunately, the selection for kittens is more limited — and that’s the best time to train your cat to get used to the harness. And, because your little friend will grow quickly, you should plan on buying a new harness every few months.
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When they were eight weeks old, Fish and Chips started wearing figure-eight style harnesses made for teacup dogs. This style of harness is easy for cats to wiggle out of, and tightens up if they pull, so it can be uncomfortable.
The purpose of having Fish and Chips wear the figure-eight style harnesses harnesses was simply to acclimate them to wearing something that fit their tiny little bodies! At that point, we hadn’t started any leash training.
Cat Harnesses For Adolescent Kittens
After a couple months, the boys graduated to the Petsafe Easy-Walk Come With Me Kitty Harness. This harness is great for growing kittens because of it’s unique design and adjustability. It also comes with a neat little bungee leash that allows your cat to jump down when riding on your shoulders or backpack.
Both Fish and Chips used these harnesses for the first few months of adventures with us. But we eventually moved on to safer and more comfortable cat harnesses.
Using Vest-Style Cat Harnesses
Next we tried vest-style cat harnesses. These are often the most comfortable for your cat because they distribute weight and pressure evenly. This also makes them an excellent choice for strong cats, because they’re very secure and don’t have pinch points like the strappy harnesses do.
Fish loved his vest-style harness and is still using this design. He’s currently wearing the Puppia brand harness, which fits him nicely. It also comes in a fantastic variety of colors, allowing every cat to look his best.
Chips, on the other hand, tried the vest-style harness a few times and decided he’s not a fan. Fish and Chips have very different body shapes, and the vest was too bulky on Chips. He also disliked having it pulled on over his head and ears, so he went back to wearing the Petsafe harness for a while.
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More Cat Harness Options
In an effort to find the best cat harness for Chips, we’ve tried jacket-style harnesses. The Kitty Holster got great reviews online, and was designed specifically for cats that tend to slip out of their harnesses. But it was too bulky for our athletic cats.
Fish and Chips had difficulty walking comfortably in the Kitty Holster around the house, so we never even tested it on the trails. That said, it could be the perfect option for your feline friend!
Another option we tried is what I refer to as the “designer” jacket for cats. Some of these can be used as harnesses and are also quite fashionable!
Chips has a leather biker jacket from the ALLCATSGOOD Etsy shop that he seems pretty comfortable in, though it would be too warm to use on long hikes.
H-Style Harnesses – The Best Option For Chips
To Chips, the best cat harness is one that doesn’t go on over his head. So we searched for an option that would be easy to put on him, and wouldn’t have to be adjusted once it was in place. That brought us to an H-style harness.
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It should be noted that H-style harnesses are not as secure as other options, so they would not be ideal for strong cats or escape artists. They are, however, a good option for docile cats that require a lightweight harness.
We started with an H-style harnesses made for dogs, but found that the straps were too wide and were chaffing Chips’ little arms.
After searching high and low for an H-style harnesses that fit Chips better, we discovered one at our local grocery store! The harness was inexpensive, fits him fairly well, and has little skulls on it to match his tough-guy personality.
That’s the harness he’s currently using, but it does move around on him a bit. It’s not perfect … so we’re still hunting for the absolute best cat harness for him. It’s a process! But, as more cats are starting to travel, companies are making more gear specifically designed for cats. That will make finding the best cat harness for your furry friends even easier!
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We hope this information helps you in choosing the best harness for your cat. Good luck, and happy travels!
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I have vest harnesses for both my cats but Kaya in particular slips out of them with ease. She just pulls on the leash & then, maintaining tension, she turns around to face the leash, ducks her head & off it comes. Any suggestions?
Hi Fiona! Thanks for your note. I know that Sleepypod is making a cat harness with more Velcro adjustments. It might allow you to get a more snug fit, which would keep Kaya from slipping out. I hope that helps. Safe travels to you all!