Dog lovers shouldn’t get all the fun! Sometimes you want to take your cat out and about for a little playtime in the sun. Or maybe you just have to bring your furry friend along somewhere, and you don’t want them cooped up in a crate the whole way.
Either way, a cat harness is a safe and comfortable way you can keep an eye (and hand) on your kitty when you are out of the home. We’ve found a few of the better cat harnesses on the market and compiled the essential facts so you can make an informed decision.
What to Look For
Cat harnesses seem like they might be all the same, but small variations can have a big impact. Think of it as a shoe; if it rubs you the wrong way in one little spot, it can create some painful problems in the long run. Here are a few things to consider when you are deciding which is the best cat harness for your feline friend.
The first thing you want to check out is what fabric the harness is made of. There are two main types of material that most harnesses are made from, nylon and cotton. Which fabric is best for your cat depends on where they will wear it and what they will do while wearing it.
Nylon is a durable synthetic fabric that is best for cats who wear the harness outdoors. It won’t absorb excess water, is resistant to tears and rips, won’t rot in the sun and won’t fray as easily. Those loose strings are a bit too tempting for some cats. On the downside, nylon is much harder to clean and is not as soft or comfortable as cotton.
Cotton harnesses are best for indoor kitties who won’t be doing a lot of roughhousing. The soft and breathable material is much less likely to chafe or irritate, and it’s much easier to clean. Of course, cotton is more absorbent and less rugged than nylon, meaning it will fall apart sooner and stain easier.
Size and Adjustability
A cat harness is just like clothes, you want it to fit right, or complications may arise. Too small, and the harness will irritate or even inhibit your cat’s movement and breathing. Too big, and they may fall out of it or trip over errant straps. You want a harness that will fit right from the get-go, but also one that will grow with your cat.
A highly adjustable harness will ensure that a kitten will always have a snug fitting harness. Or, it can help a cat that is prone to weight gain by not bursting the seams after one too many treats. Ideally, you want to be able to fit two fingers between the harness and your cat’s body. If you aren’t sure, take your cat to a pet store to try some out. Most stores are ok with it as long as your pet is vaccinated.
There are two general categories of cat harness out there, each with their pros and cons. The first is the “H” or “V” style harness. It consists of a series of adjustable straps that snap into place around your cat’s body. These are easier to get on your cat, as you don’t have to force a head or limbs through any holes; just buckle them up.
The other kind is sometimes referred to as a “kitty holster.” This type resembles a vest or jacket that you have to put on your cat. They are usually more difficult to get your feline into because you have to get their head and sometimes legs into the holster through holes. However, some cats find it more comfortable, and it is easier and safer to lift your cat while it is wearing this kind of harness.
What to Avoid
Obviously, you want to avoid harnesses that are too big or too small, but that isn’t all you should watch out for. There are plenty of materials that you should steer clear of when choosing a harness, like leather. It’s just too heavy and does not breathe well. You might find yourself with a cranky feline or worse, one with skin problems because of chaffing and overheating.
Also, try and avoid harnesses with too much metal. Leads and the rings they attach to are fine, but you don’t want any buckles or fasteners to be metal, they might pinch or rust and could end up injuring your cat. Plastic buckle snaps or Velcro are your best options here. That way they are safe, and machine washable!
Here are a handful of products to consider when deciding on a cat harness. We’ll go over some pros and cons, and decide on a winner at the end.
Airsspu Cat Harness
This nylon harness is set up in an “H” configuration, so it is a little easier to get your cat into it. The plastic buckles snap together around your cat, and the straps are fully adjustable. The neck strap can be adjusted to 6-10 inches, while the chest measures from 10-17 inches. The Airsspu cat harness is suitable for cats under 12 pounds.
This model comes with a cat harness and leash that’s just over 42 inches long, so you don’t have to buy anything extra if it’s your first time taking your cat out and about. Unfortunately, the nylon used in this harness is not as sturdy as others. It is a bit thinner, and the stitching is not as secure one the edges. This decreased thickness makes for a lighter harness, but also one that won’t last as long.
- Fully adjustable
- Comes with included detachable leash
- Lightweight, great for fussy cats
- Thin nylon not as durable as it could be
- Non-reinforced stitching may affect lifespan of product with active cats
- Not suitable for heavy cats
Kitty Holster Cat Harness
This model, as the name suggests, comes in “kitty holster” configuration. It is a vest-like garment that you have to slip onto your cat, assuming you can get it to cooperate. Fortunately, though, this kitty holster uses Velcro to secure itself around your cat’s neck and chest. This way, you only have to get their front legs into the holster, then fasten the Velcro around the neck.
The Kitty Holster is made of lightweight, breathable cotton. The lining is nonabrasive and undyed as to ensure your cat never gets irritated while wearing it. The harness is thin, which makes it lightweight and easy to wash, but it likely won’t last very long with an active cat who loves the outdoors. This harness also is not as secure as a buckle in “H” configuration harness, and some cats have figured out how to escape it.
- Easily applicable compared to other holsters
- Velcro fasteners simple and comfortable
- Lightweight cotton material is breathable, soft and easy to clean
- A variety of colors and patterns to choose from
- No included lead or leash
- Thin material not suitable for active and outdoor cats
- More easily escaped than other kinds of harness
Pupteck Adjustable Cat Harness
Another “H” configuration harness, the Pupteck brings the quality with their nylon constriction. The straps snap into place with plastic buckles like other harnesses, but the nylon used in its construction is considerably thicker than different models. The side stitching is also reinforced to prevent fraying. It also comes with a lead made from the same material.
While the material is sturdier, it still is not recommended for cats over 12 pounds. This restriction is mostly a limitation of the buckles and safety issues. However, many owners report using this product on their heavier cats without problem. It all just depends on the activity level of your kitty, and how often I tries to bolt away.
- Exceptionally durable material and construction
- Included heavy duty lead
- Easy on and off design
- Several colors to choose from
- A bit heavier than other harnesses, may distress fussy cats
- Strap connecting neck and chest straps not adjustable, may not be suited for longer cats
- Not suitable for larger cats despite sturdy material
The Best Harness for Your Cat
For our money, we think the best harness here is the Pupteck Adjustable Cat Harness. It’s easy to get on a cat, and will stand the test of time even if you take your feline out on adventures. Wind, rain, sun, snags and scratches won’t damage or slow this harness down.
A cotton harness may be lighter and easier to wash, but the thin material means you’d be doing a lot of washing and buying new harnesses. Remember though, before purchasing any harness for your kitty, make sure it will fit them. Trying to get a harness on a cat is hard enough, you don’t want an angry feline resisting you because the fit isn’t purrrrfect!