The Best Cat Harnesses

As indoor cat owners become more common, so are cat harnesses. They provide a unique opportunity to let your cat explore the world safely and by your side. We've tracked down a few of the best.

The Best Cat Harness

To many owners, a cat harness sounds like a disaster waiting to happen. A few years back, they’d have probably been right. With more options than ever for cat harnesses these days, there’s definitely something out there that’ll work for you.

Taking an indoor cat outdoors is something that requires extreme caution. It’s no secret that cats are super quick and flexible, and they’ll get out of almost any situation through the tiniest of spaces. To avoid escapes, we’ve put the by Soft Mesh Cat Harness by PACCOMFET at the top of our list as the best harness for cats.

Be sure to check the measurements for each size by clicking through on the table above before purchasing. A medium for one brand is likely to be slightly different to a medium for another. This is especially true for harnesses that are designed for cats and small dogs.

The fit and effectiveness of each harness depends entirely on how well they match your cat’s size and body shape. It’s hard to guarantee any harness for cats will fit perfectly without fully measuring them beforehand.

The Best Cat Harness For No Escape

Best Harness No Escape

The heading seems a bit, err, strongly worded? But in truth, this is exactly what you’re looking for. You can practice using a cat harness indoors all you like, the game changes completely when you take them outdoors.

You need to be very sure when you opt for a cat harness that the one you’re getting will suit your cat. Certain harnesses for cats contain noisy straps that may frighten some, while others might be uncomfortable with a mesh style fabric harness. Tastes differ, but we’ve tried to accommodate everyone in this article. Below are the best cat harnesses to keep your cat close by while outdoors and ensure there are no escapes.

PACCOMFET Soft Mesh Cat Harness

Many cat owners take offense to products that are cross-marketed as dog/cat products, and harnesses may fit this frustration even more than many other products.

The nature of a harness, of course, is that it must fit a cat snugly and comfortably and decrease risk of a cat wriggling out while wearing it.

Differences in dog and cat anatomy and potential to slip out of a harness are real of course, but many people find that if a harness fits your animal’s body properly, it can serve cats and small dogs equally.

The fabric of the Soft Mesh No Pull Comfort Padded Vest is a type that many cats will welcome against their bodies, with soft polyester beneath mesh fabric that allows air circulation.

This harness is suited especially for smaller cats, with girth of 10″ – 15″ inches around the chest and neck size of no more than 8.3″.

Because of the sizing, it’s imperative that you get a good measurement of your kitty to be sure she will fit in the No Pull Comfort Padded Vest comfortably.

The closure is a plastic snap on the neck portion of the vest, so that nothing needs to slip over your cat’s head, which many people find important in a harness.

PUPTECK Escape Proof Cat Harness

While this harness boldly calls itself “Escape Proof,” it is crucial to make your own assessment of how likely you cat is to be safely restrained by any harness.

Take some time to acclimate your cat to the feel of the harness, of course, and be careful with venturing into risky places where stress or sudden situations could set off a panic escape attempt. Always supervise your cat outdoors in its harness for maximum security of course.

The fabric of the Escape Proof Cat Harness is a soft mesh that many cats seem to love. You know what types of materials that your cat is most likely to prefer, though.

Closures on this harness are a combination of Velcro beneath with a safety clip, which is part of why the company markets the harness as “Escape Proof”.

The extra layer of security to the closures that many harnesses don’t have makes this an excellent choice for those with particularly wriggly cats.

The width of the body-wrapping portion of the harness is a plus for many cats, as it gives a more secure “hug” feel than a narrower strap or fabric. This harness also comes in three sizes, giving plus size cats a better option than many one-size-fits all type of harnesses.

Dexil Luxury Cat Harness

Without a lot of excess material and padding, the Dexil Luxury Cat Harness is ideal for cats who enjoy the feeling of less fabric covering their bodies.

The material of the harness may be somewhat stiff and heavy for some cats, however. Other cats prefer wider fabric embracing the body and do not react well to thin straps.

Only you know what works best with your feline friend; if you haven’t tried on harnesses before, it may take some sampling to see which one seems most comfortable and welcome to your cat.

Only small sizes are offered in the Dexil harness, so measure your cat’s girth and be sure it will fit comfortably before ordering.

With no Velcro closures, the Dexil Luxury harness relies on adjustable clips that are secured after placing the harness around your cat’s body. Like any harness, check the security and fit on your cat before relying on it to keep your cat safe from escape.

Practice inside, and look for signs that your cat can pull backward or otherwise slip out of the harness when it is properly secured. Adjust the clips as needed to get a secure fit.

No leash is included, but the Dexil has dual D-rings on the back to attach the leash of your choice.

Cat Harness by HoundNine

Again, the issue of products designed for dogs but marketed toward cats doesn’t sit well with some cat lovers, as there are important differences between the species, obviously.

Dogs in general are much less prone, or even able, to slip out of a harness, while cats have the agility and flexibility to wriggle free from many restraints.

For those who can tolerate some degree of overlap between dog and cat products, this holster style harness may be just right, though.

The adjustable clips on the HoundNine Cat Harness allow tightening of areas that might allow for wiggle room. Made to fit cats with chest girth up to 12 inches, the HoundNine harness can handle bigger felines well.

The mesh fabric appeals to many cats with its softness and breatheability.

With clip closures that snap in place after the harness is around your cat’s body, the harness gives a good sense of security with a larger, wider, well-padded fabric around the neck area and thinner straps around the body.

Many cats love this feel, and it can be very secure for cats that like to slip out of things around their necks. Be sure to thoroughly cat-test your new harness out for security, fit, and range of movement inside the house before venturing out to more risky, escape-prone situations.

Bestag Cat Harness

Available in four sizes, up to XL, the Elegant British Style Jacket is not just a fashion item, although your cat will most definitely look as dashing as ever she has in the light grey vest and plaid bow tie that make up the vest harness.

The fabric of the harness may be a bit heavy and stiff for maximum comfort of some cats, especially if your harness is an everyday activity for outdoor time.

The Elegant British Style Jacket may be restrictive for some cats that love full range of movement to leap or climb, although most cats won’t be getting to rough and wild on a walk with their person by their side.

Possibly one of the more secure harnesses, considering the amount of body coverage it provides for the cat wearing it.

The harness opens at the back, with two leg openings and a Velco closure, which some cats find disturbing, either the sound of opening and closing, or, for long-haired cats, the risk of catching fur in the loops and hooks and pulling or injuring your cat.

Providing you take care, we’d definitely recommend this as a viable harness for short haired cats. Long haired, we’d potentially look elsewhere.

A Guide To Buying Your First Cat Harness

Guide Cat Harnesses

A cat on a leash was almost a non sequitur at one point in recent history it seems. Cats are agile and slippery creatures who don’t often take well to restraints.

For most people not that long ago the question was “inside” or “outside” cat for a feline companion. Surveys of cat households, however, show a dramatic swing in the “inside/outside” dynamic in recent years.

In the past three decades the percentage of cats considered “inside only” has jumped dramatically, from some 30 percent of US households in the mid-1980s to some 70 percent of companion cats that are strictly indoor cats who never go outside alone today.

Obviously, anyone who knows cats knows that there is no containing a cat in a secure backyard as one might do with a dog. There is no fence nor wall that a healthy cat can’t clear in some way, so the idea of having an “outdoor” cat necessarily means that the animal is able to go anywhere, from busy roads to neighbors’ yards to wooded areas near home.

A Dangerous World for Little Creatures

It is easy to imagine a few of the obvious dangers for a cat in an urban environment. Domestic cats often show a disregard for cars and other animals that may be prowling in the area.

Disease risks are more of a concern to outside cats too. From feline distemper to upper respiratory infections that a cat can catch from other cats, there’s a tonne of real life risks. Of course parasites like fleas, ticks, mites and intestinal worms are something that outdoor cats are far more likely to suffer with.

Toxins and poisons are temptations that some cats may not have the discretion to avoid.

The Thrill of the Outdoors

Anyone who knows cats though, also understands that they do for the most part have the instincts of wild creatures.

They love to watch birds through the window with eager anticipation, they love to scratch their claws on things like trees and wooden fence posts, they are thrilled to sniff and nibble at grass, and of course, they leap at the chance to climb things.

Many cat lovers know that, while indoors is the only true safe place for an inquisitive feline, the tradeoff is usually a bored, anxious, overweight or even depressed house cat who loves to watch the world go by outside the glass.

Almost three out of four people with cats in the home realize three things: cats value outdoor experiences, they are too inquisitive and free-roaming to safely be allowed out unsupervised, and they don’t like to be restrained. Planning quality time out on a walk with a feline friend takes a bit of careful thought and preparation, then.

Planning For Harness Use

Even a trip to the vet’s office can turn quickly to chaos once your cat is out of the carrier. Just a small space to wriggle free is all the average feline needs to hit the ground running and find a place to hide. This is where the best cat harness comes in.

Pretty much all cat lovers are well aware that cats are sensitive and do not like new things. This is especially true of things that involve some sort of restraint or presence around the cat’s body or neck, which a harness does, of course. A recommended trick to get your cat companion comfortable with a harness is to go slowly.

Cats generally will resist harnesses, leashes, and collars. Collars in particular should never be used as a restraint as is done commonly with dogs. The pressure of a struggle against a collar and leash is very likely to damage a feline’s delicate trachea.

First, introduce kitty to the new gear at a distance. Leave the harness that you’ve settled on near your cat’s food and provide treats for positive interactions with the harness and you together. Soon you will be ready to incorporate the harness into some personal time with you and you cat.

When your cat is enjoying sitting with you, try either draping the harness over kitty’s back or gently placing it fully on as your cat is more comfortable with it, sharing treats of course, and giving positive feedback as your cat adapts to the feel of the harness.

Take some time at this step as well, allowing your cat to wear the harness around the house and become accustomed to the feel of the snug material before taking the next step, which is to attach a leash to the harness and take the experience outside.

Develop both kitty’s comfort level as well as your sense of assurance that the harness is secure and essentially escape proof. One fairly common story with cats in harnesses involves the well-known escape artistry of the feline. Most escapes seem to happen with the cat finding a way to essentially turn the harness inside out, like pulling off a t-shirt over your head.

Choosing The Best Cat Harness For You

Harnesses come in a range of different styles and with various closure mechanisms. You should have a good idea of what your cat will react well to before purchasing. For example, if your cat is particularly sensitive to noise, a cat harness with a velcro strap isn’t going to be the best harness for them.

Harness Features

The best harness for cats will include the right mix of fit, feel and quality of materials and closures, and form. When measuring your cat for new harness, measure girth around the chest, snug against the fur for an accurate size estimation. For the neck size, be sure to measure around the area where a collar rests naturally.

The harness you select should fit snugly without pinching or binding anywhere, of course. Generally you should be able to fit a finger or almost two between the harness material and cat’s body.

Comfort

While many cats won’t relish the feel of a harness, most will get used to the feeling if it fits well and is made of materials that your cat reacts well to. Some people find that their cat doesn’t like mesh material, for instance. Certain types of stiff woven fabrics can be irritating to some cats.

Many cats are frightened of the sound of hook-and-loop (Velcro) closures, so if you know a type of fabric or closure that may be an issue for your feline, look for a harness with other options.

Style

Harnesses for cats come in a few standard styles, which are suited to different cats’ needs and preferences.

  • Step-in style cat harnesses allow you to put the harness on with your cat stepping both front paws into it and securing it in place, avoiding slipping it over the head, which can be traumatic for many cats. This style can be less secure than others, so be aware of your cat’s likelihood to struggle and escape, or use it in environments where escape is less likely.
  • H-style cat harnesses are some of the most simple designs for cats to wear, with an “H” shaped piece that wraps in front and behind the cat’s front legs and secures with buckles or closures along the cat’s back. Some cats do not appreciate the feel of the thinner straps of the “H” harness squeezing their body, so it helps to know your cat’s feelings about such things
  • Vest style cat harnesses are known as the most secure style of harness, but can be bulky for some cats, as they consist of the most fabric in contact with kitty’s body. For situations where flight risk may be severe, a vest harness can be most effective to avoid escape attempts