When it comes to the cat, many people may think that it is a lazy animal that is fond of lying on its bed all the time. However, they do not know that the cat also likes going out and walking, as much as the dog. And when you’re taking your cat for a walk, the thing that you should have for your cat is the best cat harness.
What is a cat harness?
The cat harness is a piece of equipment with straps and belts and used to control or hold in place the cat while you are taking it to go out.
This is another way to bring your cat along with you outdoors instead of using the durable cat backpack carrier or any type of cat collar.
What are the benefits of using a cat harness?
Help to fasten the leash to the cat’s collar
It is not a good idea to attach the leash to the cat’s collar directly as the cat’s throat is soft and is more fragile than other animals.
Therefore, using a cat harness can help to avoid exposing too much with the cat’s throat as well as redistribute pressure onto the cat’s frame in case you want to pull your cat.
Prevent your pet from getting lost
When you have to go out in rush hours or in a crowd, your cute small cat is likely to run away and get lost at any time.
Giving your pet a harness might put it under your control and you can feel more comfortable when being out without the fear that your pet would run around.
Keep your cat safe in a car
If you usually transport your cat in a car and do not have anything to restrain it from moving around or getting out through the doors, using a harness to attach your pet to set is a novel and good idea.
Furthermore, because car safety features are designed for people-not pets, this might put cats at risk of severe physical trauma in a crash, rollover or other vehicular accident. So having a harness for your cat can help it to stay away from those serious problems.
If your cat gets used to wearing a harness, it will become well-trained and more obedient, which gives you a feeling of enjoyment and satisfaction while walking with it.
Beautify your cat
Choosing a suitable harness for your cat can help to enhance its cuteness and appearance. There are many colors and styles for you to select, so you never need to worry about having to buy an inappropriate one for your pet.
How does a cat harness work?
The harness for cats takes forces and allocates them to the different parts of their bodies through its arrangement of straps and buckles. Therefore, a harness can relieve the pressure that might be put on your pet and protect them from being hurt.
Types of cat harness
They are attached to your cats by fastening on the back. Vest harnesses can give the owners more security and control of their pets because they can connect more to the cats’ bodies.
They are also comfortable for your pets to wear, especially for a long time. However, vest harnesses are not as adjustable as other forms of harnesses and they may lead to turtleneck effect due to taking your pets’ heads through the harnesses.
Velcro strap harnesses
Velcro strap harnesses can fit your pets well despite how big your cats are. Thanks to their flexibility, you can easily adjust the harnesses so that they can be suitable for your cats’ measurements.
However, Velcro strap harnesses are not resistant to pressure so if your cats are quite strong and aggressive, this kind of harness can be pulled apart. And sometimes, many pets do not like the sound of the Velcro.
Step-in harnesses are designed to keep your cats’ necks safe because they distribute leash forces across the cats’ chest and shoulders.
They are also convenient to put on and take off. Nevertheless, your pets may feel uncomfortable with this kind of harness because of its typical form.
They loop the cats’ chests and their waists, which do not expose so much to your pets’ bodies. Therefore, they only focus on the pressure on limited parts of the cats’ bodies and make them feel more comfortable.
They are also easy to put on and take off. They are also relatively escape-proof as it supplies a close fit to the necks and stomachs of the cats.
Materials of cat harnesses
It is a synthetic fiber. Nylon is flexible, versatile and water-resistant. When nylon is used for making harnesses, it can be sturdy and extremely durable for consistent use because it is a high elasticity material.
Also, they can prevent musty smells, which is great for your pet. But nylon can make your pets feel a bit uncomfortable as it is quite hard and it holds in body heat, which is really unpleasant on summer days.
It is a natural fiber made from cotton plants. Cotton is light and soft fabric and can be utilized for almost every time. It is more comfortable for your cats in comparison with nylon.
This material is highly recommended for cats that have sensitive skin. In summer, cotton helps your pet feel cook by reducing the heat in the body and absorbing sweat. However, cotton is prone to wrinkles and shrinkage, so you have to wash it in the right way.
What makes a great cat harness
Durability of materials
Long-lasting durability is one of the most important factors to make a good cat harness. The harness which is durable can last a lifetime with reasonable care. A harness can take a lot of wear and tear if you use them frequently.
So if you usually go out with your cat, a durable harness is more economical in the long term. Instead of purchasing many harnesses and using it in a short period, buying a durable one can help you to save a great amount of money.
Besides, consistent use of some particular harnesses is likely to make your cat feel pleasant as it has adapted to them.
Comfort and Fit
Another criterion to decide whether a cat harness is high-quality or not is its comfort. The comfortable harness is crucial in helping your cat recover from strenuous activity, such as walking or running too much.
The perception of comfort is quite complicated, but the aspect of fit is the most important. Choosing a harness that fits your cat nicely can give your cat a sense of comfort and avoid pain.
If you get it to lose, your pet is likely to escape, which renders an increased risk of cats getting into an accident on the road. If you get it too tight, it can put pressure on your pet and make your cat hard to move.
Selecting the style of the harness is also necessary. You can read carefully four types above to make your best choice.
Also, as mentioned above, a suitable and stylish harness is able to make your pet look cuter and more beautiful. It can act as fashion stuff for your cats and make them special and outstanding in the crowd.
You have to make sure the harness you purchase is not made from unsafe materials that might do harm to your cat’s fur and skin. Check whether the buckles or straps are well made so that they will not hurt your pet.
In addition, some cat harnesses are made with reflective tape or a bell which is used to identify your cats and help you to find them easily when they get lost.
Does spending more means more quality
This notion is not always right. If the product is costly, it does not necessarily mean that the quality of it is the best. The price of a product is driven by other different factors except for quality such as demand and supply situation at a particular time, the brand equity of the product and also the manufacturing cost.
So sometimes, a higher price tag does not always mean a better product. When it comes to necessary items for cat adoption, the situation is the same.
How to measure your cat for a harness
Fitting is a vital factor when buying a harness for your pet. Finding the right size for your pet is quite simple. The only thing you need to have is a flexible measuring tape.
First, measure your cat’s neck. The measuring tape should be snug but should not squeeze your cat. Then, measure your cat’s girth which is right behind the front legs.
When you have the measurements of your cat, head over the size chart and select the size that is suitable for your cat. If your cat is bordering between two sizes, choose the smaller one.
The size chart below will help you to make a better choice:
|S||6.5″-8″ neck 12.5″-15″ girth|
|M||8″-10″ neck 15″-18″ girth|
|L||10″-12″ neck 17.5″-19″ girth|
|XL||12″-14″ neck 22″-24″ girth|
How to clean and maintain a cat harnesses
It is important to reduce the wear and tear on your harness on a regular basis. Keeping the cat harness clean is quite a simple task. You can wash it like the way you wash your clothes because there is nothing important to pay attention to.
It is highly recommended that you use shampoo for cats to wash the harness since it could create a smell that is similar to them. You just need to try to remove all the dirt particles on the harness.
Remember not to use gasoline to clean the harnesses. Then let the harness dry in room temperature air. You should not let the harness expose to long periods of sun-drying or use a mechanical heat dryer.
If you use a Velcro strap harness, you need to remove cat hair and dust from the Velcro. Buying sticky-rollers that are designed to remove pet hair from clothing. A swipe of the roller can make the hair that is stuck in the closed loops of the Velcro simply disappear.
How to train your cat to walk with a harness and leash
The most important and prerequisite thing you need to have is patience if you want to train your cat to walk with a harness and leash. Most animals are not accustomed to wearing them in the first place and you will have to spend much time and effort to do this.
Get the cats used to the harness by putting it on them without buckling it. Remember to put the harness on the cat during playtime when the cat is more likely to be comfortable.
You should create a positive association by using treats, toys, pats, and their meals while the harness is being put on. Practice 2 to 4 sessions per day and 3 to 5 days is usually enough for your cat to adapt to their harness. Your cat needs to reach each level before advancing to the next step.
Buckle the harness and attach the leash. Lure the cat with food inch by inch to make it move. You can use their name or a unique sound that is only associated with your cat to make it follow you.
When your cat improves, you will slowly increase the distance that the food is away from your cat. It is important that your cat does not display a negative reaction when tension is applied to the harness.
Your cat should respond to your voice or visual cues rather than taking cues from the leash. You can let your cat step on its own stuff in the house such as cat shelves to make it familiar with the process.
Once your cat is used to walking with a leash and harness indoors, repeat the same process right outside your front door. If you want to walk your cat out in public, it is best to first bring them to the places where you usually come.
This will greatly help your pet become familiar with those locations’ noises, people and other animals. Do not forget to bring treats along for encouragement.
Be patient. Teaching a cat to walk on a leash takes time. The more patient you are, the further and faster you cat is able to walk.
What if it doesn’t work?
You and your cat should find leash walking enjoyable together, so if your pet does not feel happy with this, slow down the training process and make use of more rewards to encourage it. Everyone is different, and different animals may take different time to get used to a new activity.
Frequently Asked Questions
How tight should a cat harness be?
The cat harness should fit well with three important points in the cat’s body including the neck, the belly, and the girth. The harness should fit snugly around the neck of your cat.
Use your fingers to check whether it is adjusted properly or not. If the size of the harness is suitable, you can move one finger smoothly between the neck and the harness. If more than one finger fit, it is too loose. If no fingers fit, it is too tight.
Apply the finger test again to find out the proper fit for the belly and the girth.
Cat Harness vs Collar: which is better?
There is really no absolute right or wrong answer as it pertains to many factors. The harness or collar that is considered appropriate has to be suitable for the size and the breed of the cat.
To start with the question of collar versus harness, there are definitely benefits and drawbacks to both. In terms of the collar’s advantages, it is an easy thing to take on and off and the cats generally do not mind wearing a collar.
However, the problem is that if you have a cat that has a tendency to want to pull when they are on a walk, a collar puts a lot of strain on their neck and overtime can potentially cause injury to their neck.
So you need to read carefully about different types of collars before making a decision to purchase one. When it comes to the harness, the benefit here is that if your cat is pulling, it is attached to a harness, so the weight and the pressure is distributed across the chest it would not cause that potential injury to the neck.
The minus point here is that the harness is not likely to discourage the cat from continuing to pull because it does not render the feeling of discomfort for your cat if it keeps on pulling. However, now some harnesses are specifically designed to help with that.
There are certain harnesses that clip in the front rather than over the back, so when the cat pulls, this type of harness tends to squeeze its shoulder a little it and pull the cat off the side and make it deviated off in a direction they do not want to go.
And gradually, the cat will learn that it should not pull and gives up this bad habit. In short, the collar or the harness has its own pros and cons and you should consider those before deciding between them.
Do leash laws apply to cats?
Yes, there are leash laws relating to cats. Cats have to live indoors in the owner’s house, and that if they go outdoors, they have to be on a leash all the time.
But these laws are not obeyed in all nations. There are many arguments around leash laws on cats as the opponents think that this can increase the number of cats being killed in shelters.
How do you put a harness on a cat?
Different types of harness have different ways to put on. In this writing, I will introduce to you the way to put two types of harness which are quite complex on the cat: step-in harness and H-harness.
– For H-harness: It has two clips including a smaller one on the front and a larger one on the back. The former is for around the neck and the latter is for around the girth. I have mentioned the tightness of the harness above, so just follow it. Wrap two clips in turn and adjust them to a proper size.
– For step-in harness: First you need to undo the buckles and lay the harness out flat on the ground. Make sure the D-ring and the buckles are stretched out. You should see two triangles formed by the straps and the H-strap that runs down the center.
When you are ready to put the harness on your dog, place the dog’s front legs into each of the two triangles, then simply pick up the buckles and wrap it around to the top of the dog. Snag the buckles in place and adjust the tightness of straps so that the harness fits snugly.
Can I use a small dog harness on a cat?
Yes, many harnesses designed for small dogs might be appropriate for adult cats because they have a similar size. Therefore, you are able to find harnesses designed for small dogs so that you will have more options to choose from.
The harness is important for you and your cat if you want to have a relaxing and enjoyable time walking with your pal. Read carefully the tips that we have shown so that you can choose the most proper harness for your pet.
Photos from: KevinWellsPhotography / depositphotos.com, cynoclub / depositphotos.com, albejor2002 / depositphotos.com, lifeonwhite / depositphotos.com, vi0222 / depositphotos.com, agnadevi / depositphotos.com, Wifesun / depositphotos.com.
Big pet lover and a dog training and behavior expert who loves to share his knowledge and experience. Happy owner of two amazing dogs Labrador Bela and Jack Russell Terrier Piksi and one cuddly cat Tom.
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