The Best Cat Harnesses for Your Kitty’s Outdoor Adventures

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Is your kitty feeling cooped up? Even indoor cats can enjoy outdoor adventures with the help of a comfortable, secure cat harness and leash (despite what this Oatmeal cartoon says). After a period of leash training, your cat will be able to exercise in the outdoors and enjoy new sights, smells, and terrains. You can also use a cat harness when traveling with your cat instead of, or in addition to, a carrier.

There are several types of cat harnesses, ranging from durable all-weather outfits (also called “walking jackets” or “walking vests”) to simple nylon lead-style ones that prevent the neck strain that can occur when a leash is attached to a regular collar. Do your initial walking adventures inside or in the back yard, just to be safe: Most harness reviews include one or two reports of determined cats who were able to escape. If your cat is a known ninja, you might want to go directly to the “escape proof” Kitty Holster (see below).

Measuring Your Cat for a Harness

One of the keys to success with a cat harness is getting the right fit. This video from Drs. Foster and Smith Pet Supplies shows how to measure your kitty for a harness—and reminds you to read the sizing information for the specific harness you select. Cats can gain (or lose) weight, so be sure to adjust the harness accordingly if your cat changes sizes.

Preparing for Harness Adventures

Here are a few tips for preparing your cat to wear a harness and walk on a leash:

  • Make sure your cat is up to date on vaccinations so they are ready for the outdoors.
  • Introduce your cat to the harness slowly and use treats to create positive associations. Placing the harness beside the cat’s bed is a good way to start. Later, put on the harness for just a minute or two. It may take days or even weeks before your cat warms up to the idea of wearing one.
  • Try out the harness and leash indoors until your cat is comfortable with leash walking. You don’t want to experiment outdoors and risk having your cat become upset and escape.
  • Once outdoors, practicing walking in a secure place (such as your back yard).
  • Pay close attention to feedback from your cat. Wearing a harness and walking on a leash should be an enjoyable experience, so you don’t want to push your cat too far out of their comfort zone too soon.

Finding the Best Cat Harness

With that said, take a look below at our picks for the best cat harnesses. Read online reviews and make sure the harness you buy is a good match for your cat.

cat harness picture

The open design and comfy straps of this PetSafe harness provide cats with more mobility since less of their body is constrained than it might be in a vest-style harness. The length from under the neck to under the chest is adjustable by using a sliding buckle. This product also comes with a short bungee leash that allows you to gently control your pet while on walks. Comes in sizes small, medium, and large. Be cautious if you have a particularly wriggly cat: there are reports of cats who figured out how to back out of the harness.

Why we like it:

  • Three points of adjustment for a soft, comfortable fit
  • Lightweight 3/8 inch nylon straps minimize pressure on the cat’s neck
  • A bungee cord-style leash allows some “give” when pulled
  • Six vibrant color options

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This durable mesh vest from RC Pets comes with a repair/replacement guarantee. It’s available in small, medium, and large, and in a choice of three colors. Stockier cats seem to do well with this harness, while owners of smaller and slimmer kitties reported that the cat could get at least partway out of the harness.

Why we like it:

  • Air-mesh fabric offers great breathability and comfort
  • Reflective binding keeps your cat visible at night
  • Comes with a matching 6-foot leash
  • Durable and machine washable

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CrazyKFarm kitty holster

Crazy K Farm

When choosing a harness for your cat to wear while traveling, comfort and security are essential. The vest-style Kitty Holster harness is soft, breathable, and comfortable to wear for long stretches of time. Some reviewers claim that this harness is virtually escape-proof. Matthew Inman, creator of the Oatmeal, and his cat Bullitt, are even fans!

The made-in-the-U.S. harness is available in a wide range of colors, patterns, and styles including a reflective safety vest, a camouflage vest, a bandana-print vest, and (at the manufacturer’s website) custom vests for tripod cats.

Why we like it:

  • With four sizes, you can fit a cat of just about any size
  • Machine-washable, 100% cotton
  • Velcro straps help ensure a perfect fit

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OK, this is a dog harness. But it gets great reviews from people whose cats are too large for kitty equipment. Super-soft and snuggly, this harness comes in sizes to fit extra-large cats as well as small dogs. Its Velcro straps ensure a perfect fit, no matter how your cat is shaped. According to one review, even a 30-pound cat was able to comfortably wear this harness. Check the size chart for the right size based on your cat’s weight and neck size.

Why we like it:

  • Plush corduroy, suede, or faux leather fabric options
  • Step-in design allows you to put it on without going over the cat’s head
  • More than a dozen colors and fabrics.

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SleepyPod Martingale

Peace of mind! SleepyPod offers this original and well-designed cat harness that aims to solve the problem of Houdini cats. Conventional harnesses, even when fitted correctly, can’t prevent a determined cat from slipping out the back.

This harness is a martingale collar, which means it tightens if the cat pulls back against it. How does it work? Watch this video, (which also has instructions for measuring and fitting your cat). SleepyPod is always innovative and safety-minded. This harness, like all Sleepypod products, is made from high-quality materials.

Why we like it:

  • Innovative design that prevents your cat from escaping
  • Lightweight, breathable mesh
  • Durable materials
  • Five colors to choose from

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Rabbitgoo, known for its excellent dog harnesses, has come up with a very substantial harness for cats, engineered to make it very difficult for a cat to back out and escape. Made of breathable, padded air mesh, the vest is comfortable and won’t cut into your cat’s neck or shoulders.

A friend recently tried it with her kitten and she reported: “It was a little too big at 8 weeks and he wiggled out of it, but it’s been really good. I feel like i’m not going to lose him or hurt him.”

Why we like it:

  • The small size is designed to fit even kittens
  • A combination of tapes and buckles keeps the cat securely in the vest
  • Reflective stripe ensures that your cat is visible at night

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Necoichi harness

This one-size-fits all harness is for adult cats who enjoy stepping out on the town. Attach a leash to the D-rings on the back of the harness. The vest-style harness is secured with velcro. Buyers report that it’s a hit with cats that don’t like the feeling of strap-style harnesses.

Why we like it:

  • Attractive kimono-inspired fabrics
  • Lightweight cotton material
  • Step-in style, so nothing has to be pulled over the cat’s head

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Yes! We’re back with the Come With Me Kitty harness and leash again—it’s lightweight, and the small size will adjust to fit most kittens. In addition to adjusting neck and check straps, you can also shorten the length from under the neck to under the chest by using a sliding buckle. And we’ve found a marvelous step-by-step visual guide that shows you how to train a kitten to wear a harness.

Why we like it:

  • Three points of adjustment for an accurate, comfortable fit
  • Lightweight 3/8 inch nylon straps minimize pressure on your kitten’s neck
  • Six color options

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Final Thoughts

With these cat harness options, you should be able to find a comfortable and secure harness for your cat so they can enjoy the outdoors. Once your cat is leash trained, you even can ask your cat sitter to put on that perfect harness and take your feline outside to explore the world.

Further Reading

Featured image via Pixabay / g3gg0

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