Features to Look for and Avoid in a Cat Harness

Cats are wonderful, adventurous animals. Due to their exploratory nature, a well-fitting cat harness can be a great option. Collars and harnesses play a vital role in identifying your cat if he were to become lost. 

When it comes to selecting a cat harness, the following features should be considered:

Size—Not too Big, Not too Small

Size is the most important factor in choosing a harness for your cat. A harness that is too large can be easily lost. A harness that is too small can cause discomfort and may even affect your animal’s breathing. If you are unsure of what size your cat needs, bring him along to the pet store to try some on. Most pet stores welcome animals that have been vaccinated and are leashed or crated. A well-fitting harness will allow you to place two fingers between your cat’s body and his harness. It is important to choose a harness that is adjustable and will grow with your cat over time. 

Durability to Withstand Cat Play and Outdoor Activity

Durability should also be a factor to consider when making your purchase. If your cat will be wearing the harness consistently, look for a fabric that can withstand your cat's scratching, playing, and outdoor life. If your cat lives mostly outdoors, a nylon harness is a great option. The fabric will not be affected by rain and won’t rot in the sun. If your cat lives indoors, a cotton harness can be both stylish and comfortable for your cat. Check the cleaning instructions for the harness. Many harnesses are machine washable or can be easily wiped down with a damp cloth.

Safety: Quick-Release, Reflective Material, etc.

Safety is the greatest concern of pet owners. Purchase a harness with a “quick-release” closure in the event that he gets caught on something. Many harnesses are made with reflective material if your cat lives outside. It is important not to rely on the harness alone since it can, despite your efforts, come loose. While an added collar can help, a microchip is the best way to ensure your cat can be properly identified. A microchip can be placed under your cat’s skin by your local veterinarian.

Type of Harness

There are three main types of harnesses: figure eight, H-harness, and V-style. If you plan on walking your cat, the figure eight is the best option due to it's ability to move with your cat.  It also tightens when your cat pulls to avoid the cat slipping out. If your cat will be wearing the harness for longer periods of time around the house or for identification, an H or V-style harness is a great option. These harnesses are popular with owners because they are easy to get on and off of the cat.

What to Avoid

  • Avoid harnesses that are made of heavy fabrics such as leather. The weight of the harness is uncomfortable for cats and should especially be avoided if your cat will be wearing the harness for long periods of time.
  • Avoid harnesses that are one-size or non-adjustable. The harness should grow with your cat to secure his comfort and save you from spending money on new collars as he grows.
  • Avoid harnesses that are too big or small. A well-fitting harness will keep your cat both safe and comfortable.

Remember, if you plan on using your harness outdoors or for walking, let him wear it indoors under your supervision until your are sure it fits correctly and he is comfortable wearing it.