The Best Cat Harnesses [Reviewed] in 2020 – Expert Vet Tips
Cats are now more widely regarded as true family members. Faced with their obvious taste for independence, we better approach the behavior of these majestic animals, which prove to be very playful at the idea of spending time with their human friends. The harness can thus become a real ally for taking them out safely.
Although cats are rather domesticated domestic animals, many of them like to walk in the streets and venture into this great whirlwind of sounds, smells and novelties of all kinds to discover! But wandering alone in the middle of the urban excitement can frighten them, and force our feline friend to flee to protect himself. At the risk of getting lost if it was not fastened with a good safety harness.
Most cats need to familiarize themselves with their harness before they can wear it without embarrassment, and then go out with it. It is perfectly natural and there are several simple techniques to facilitate its adaptation process.
For cats that live in built-up areas and naturally tend to escape from the house, it is particularly recommended to have a safety harness so that their owner can walk them in a 100% secure way.
There are different types of harnesses, it is important to choose the most suitable for your cat’s morphology to preserve both its comfort and excellent support, to avoid any withdrawal.
Our selection: The best cat harnesses available on the US market
We have made your job easier thanks to a compilation of the 5 best cat safety harnesses for sale on the US market. As a bonus, you will find a summary of their main characteristics and peculiarities. All you have to do is find the most suitable harness for transporting and walking your animal, favoring the best user comfort for both of you:
- The best cat harness for cars
- The best vest harness for cats
- The best reflective cat harness
- The best harness for kittens
- The best harness for English style cats
Buying Guide: Everything You Need to Know About Cat Harnesses
Before buying the right cat harness, it is essential to look at the main characteristics of each product, in order to choose the model that best suits your pet’s personality. Below we have listed the most relevant things about the difficulties that can arise before going out, when putting on the harness – as well as multiple tips to simplify your task.
Can you teach your cat to move with a harness?
It is very likely that for its first try on harness, your cat will feel confused by this new dressing, and will try to remove it. However, if your animal likes to go out and live in a small or big city, it will have to accept this new element as an integral part of its daily life, in order to enjoy your walks safely.
If he’s hesitant, just teach him. Kittens are more receptive to this new experience, while adult cats may be more reluctant. That said, with a hint of patience, we manage to train them.
Does my pet really need a harness?
If you do not live in a small village and wish to walk your cat, or if it is necessary to take him out to go to the veterinarian, it is essential to make him wear a harness. Experts recommend harnessing cats with wandering minds that tend to escape. This makes it possible to satisfy their desires elsewhere, and helps them to channel their energy, without taking risks.
For many indoor cats, going out is a real moment of excitement and joy. In addition, if the animal has no freedom to roam and discover new sensations, it can end up developing strange obsessional manias linked to a constant confinement between 4 walls. Finally, do not forget that walking is an important factor helping to fight against animal obesity.
There are mandatory outings for our feline friends, such as going to the vet for vaccinations or check-ups, or traveling from house to car for any trip. For safety reasons, it is much easier to take it out with your harness. If your cat escapes, it could get lost or be in danger.
What if my cat does not want to use his harness?
It’s normal if this happens. Cats are animals evolving in their universe, according to their feline lifestyle, and getting them used to a new use takes time. If your cat seems embarrassed or categorically refuses to wear the harness: instead of forcing it, leave this new accessory close to its favorite places, like its bowl or its sleeping area, so that it becomes familiar with the object.
During your first approaches with the harness, you can also take the opportunity to accompany your gestures with his favorite treats or by gentle caresses. So your cat can associate the wearing of the harness with positive sensations. Do not hesitate to repeat this technique until the day when the harness becomes a less intrusive and more familiar element for your little companion.
Do I have to take it out the first time he wears his harness?
Unless your pet adapts easily – which is quite rare – continue the process in stages, even when you have successfully got him into the harness without any apparent sign of nervousness. When you have managed to put it on, start by letting your cat roam freely with the harness indoors, without adjustment or support, the time necessary for your pet to adapt to it.
Let him get used to his harness gradually. A few minutes are enough, do not wait for your cat to tire, at the risk of losing all interest in the reward system. Repeat the workout daily for a certain amount of time. And if you find that your cat becomes calmer, then gradually increase the wearing times of the harness.
If you find that he is wearing the accessory calmly indoors, then adjust the harness and take the leash in hand. Wait a few more days before taking it out, in order to accustom your cat to posture. Continue to reward him for not risking fatigue and back to square one, e t r Estey always alert about his reactions.
How do I know when my cat is ready to go out with its harness?
You are closest to your pet, keep in mind that only you know your cat and know how to anticipate and understand its reactions. It is when you feel comfortable with the harness that you can take it out into town. From then on, the second part of the training will begin: the one where your cat will benefit from all the joys that the outside world offers him … And that does not enchant them all!
First, start walking around in a quiet place. At first, just sit with your cat in a quiet place and let him explore the surroundings while you hold the leash. In the same way as you did it previously indoors, help him to feel at ease, by offering him caresses and rewards at will. Give it time to get used to this new product.
An additional tip for the day when my cat gets used to his harness?
Remember that cats are animals governed by fixed habits. If your cat likes to get outdoors, it is best to establish a walking schedule from the start, otherwise you will see him camping outside the door all day. Similarly, do not put the harness on him as soon as he insists on going for a walk at a chosen time. Better to teach him to wait and thus regulate his outings.
Although he’s used to wandering outside, never take your cat out without his harness; for many reasons, he could run away, run away in the face of danger, or simply run against another animal .. what cats do in general! So fasten his harness beforehand before going out. Likewise, if you must enter an animal-free public place, do not leave it alone unattended outside.
My pet is obese: why is it recommended to take it out with a harness?
Many veterinary experts explain that one of the best solutions to remedy obesity in our cats is to offer them a harness. And nothing better to get him used to this object quickly than to walk it with each day. In the city, domestic animals live in a very sedentary way. Obesity in cats can cause serious health problems such as diabetes or liver problems.
Over the long term, overweight cats can also trigger arthritis due to wear and tear on their joints due to overweight. Keeping cats at their healthy weight reduces the risk of developing all types of chronic diseases; the harness thus becomes their faithful ally for going out “playing sports” in complete safety.
What are the advantages of taking my cat out with a harness?
Obesity is not the only problem of cats daily locked in our homes. In reality, the fact that our pets stay at home and do not go out to stretch their legs can even lead to aggressive behavior; even problems with depression, boredom, loss of appetite, as well as an overall lack of cognitive stimulation.
Being cloistered at home, without escape from its sedentary routine, can also create annoying habits in your pet, day after day. Among other things, he could consider your interior as his playground, and your decoration as the outlet for his energy overflow. Wearing a harness is therefore highly recommended so that your cat uses all its energy and curiosity outdoors.
What vaccines does my cat need to get out safely?
Following a comprehensive vaccination program protects cats against the general development of animal diseases. Vaccines are just as important if your cat is an indoor pet. Vaccines that become essential as soon as you start walking them with their harnesses. If your cat is still in the kitten stage, start vaccinating him from the age of 2 months.
In general, veterinarians recommend the basic (trivalent) vaccines for all cats, and the leukemia vaccine for anyone who might be in contact with stray cats. That said, if your little feline starts out with a harness, it is strongly advised to have him apply the 2 vaccines. The first is done in 3 injections, and the second, against leukemia, in just 2 injections.
Why and when to wear a reflective harness?
Several types of harness are available to you, including the possibility for your cat to wear a reflective harness. It is an accessory that is essential for going out at night. Thanks to him, whatever the size or color of your animal, he remains visible in the dark, as much by yourself as by others.
Thanks to a reflective harness, you can prevent your companion from all forms of collisions with passers-by or vehicles, which might not be seen without the light strips. If you lose your pet’s leash and control, you can always easily find it thanks to the brightness of its harness. This type of reflective harness is available in a wide range of different colors.
What is the difference between a classic harness and a waist harness?
Originally, the first models of harnesses for cats were closer to the collar, or similar to harnesses for horses. These riding harnesses, called harnesses, are pieces of leather close to a belt, which hook and surround the chest of the animal in order to position a saddle to mount the equines.
Today’s harnesses have become much more sophisticated than harnesses of yesteryear. Particularly with the development of the use of waistcoats for dogs and cats: perfectly wrapping the body of your small animals, they allow better control of their movements and directions. They also retain heat very well, ideal for our feline friends in the middle of winter.
When ordering a new harness for your cat, it is important to consider your purchase with the necessary information on the different options available to you. Also evaluate your choice according to the character of your animal, in adequacy with the specificities of each model. Here is a summary of the main features of a good harness. The criteria to be examined are:
- The shape of the harness
- The locking system
- Leash fasteners
The shape of harness
The shape of the harness implies a more or less significant covering of the body of the animal, a certain degree of ease of removal, and finally a feeling of support and comfort, variable from one cat to another. Below, here are the main types of harnesses present on the US market and the advantages and disadvantages of each:
|Belt harness, with classic straps|| The lower part of the harness consists of two circular straps, one positioned at chest height and the other at the side.|
Has a strap connecting the 2 parts of the harness to each other.
| For the most part, these are the first price harnesses.|
Do not keep warm, comfortable to wear in summer.
|More flexibility, but easier to remove for the cat.|
Less controllable animal movements.
|Harness vest||Similar to a jacket covering the body of the animal (sleeveless of course).|| Excellent support, very difficult for a cat to break free.|
Keep your pet warm in winter.
Wide variety of styles and patterns to choose from.
| If the material is not light or openwork, this type of model can be too hot in summer.|
The very covering aspect can annoy some cats.
|Intermediate light mesh harness|| Intermediate between the 2 previous models.|
Covering superior to a belt harness but without almost complete coverage of the back and chest areas.
Wide choice of design.
| Protects from the cold in winter and preserves the heat in summer.|
Less intrusive than a waist harness, more comfortable than a waist harness.
Sufficient support to control movements and directions.
| Less safety than a vest harness, possible removal of the harness by the animal.|
Risk of suffering from heat in summer.
When it comes to choosing a locking system to harness your cat, take into account two major elements: s the one hand, the time required for closing the harness (the more, the longer your cat gets impatient) and on the other hand, the degree of difficulty of opening for the animal. Here are the different options:
The buckle: Difficult to open with legs (unless the harness is not tight enough). Allows to adapt to different sizes and body types, and to add holes to the belt, if necessary. However, the loop can take a long time to close, especially if you are fumbling to find the right notch.
Velcro (scratch): Very fast when you just have to close the scratch already introduced in its grip. Conversely, you will lose some time if you need to insert the first strip beforehand before you can scratch the 2 parts together. The 2 self-gripping bands constantly scratch between them, the wear of the material can, in the long term, allow an easy reopening by a small feline.
The plastic clip: Definitely the quickest way, but be careful to always remain vigilant to the movements of the animal when clipping the harness – risk of trapping the fur and the skin. Almost impossible to reopen for a cat; however, the system may fail if it is improperly adjusted or too tight.
The material is essential, the harness is like a cat clothing. In the same way that we pay attention to the fabric of our jackets or coats depending on the time of year, the harness of your companion must be adapted. The material must be strong enough not to break under tension, but soft enough and comfortable to wear so as not to scratch or annoy your cat on contact.
Depending on the occasion, you can alternate between waterproof harnesses that allow the vest not to get wet by the rain, light mesh models for the summer comfort of the animal (without risk of annoying sweating), or the conversely, harnesses with thick vests, recommended to face the cold in winter. T he classic harnesses are made of nylon, a material known to be very resistant.
Before buying a harness, it is essential to take into account the dimensions in comparison with the size of your cat. Admittedly, they are adjustable, but the harness should be neither too large nor too small originally. Too wide, they could facilitate the escape of the animal, while too fair, they would affect the comfort of your cat and damage its fur.
All the harnesses present on the US market are almost all available in different sizes and the marks normally indicate on the articles all the measurements of the neck, chest and flank of the animal. If this is not the case, check this information beforehand before making any purchase.
Obviously, in order for the harness to fulfill all of its functions, it must come and hang on a leash, in order to be able to control the directions and walking distances of the animal. The nylon leash models are currently the most widespread on the US market. They can neither widen nor shorten, and generally measure approximately 120 centimeters.
Unlike dogs that are commonly used to walk with extendable leashes, there is only one type of leash for cats that is slightly stretchy, the “Bungee leashes”: these are possible to stretch , to a lesser extent. Your cat can thus walk slightly in front of you or within a wider perimeter, giving him plenty of time to feel and discover anything that catches his attention.
It quickly becomes counterproductive for a cat to stay only indoors. Domestic cats living in cities end up affected by animal behavior disorders: irritability, boredom, lack of motivation, bad habits can emerge … not to mention the risk of obesity, leading to many other diseases. And walking with your cat without protection is hardly possible, even dangerous.
The harness embodies here a real ally: symbol of exit, visit to the veterinarian, walks and discovery of new sensations that they can apprehend while avoiding any danger or disorientation. Several choices of harnesses stand out on the US market, there are some for all tastes, for all cats, and simple techniques integrate this new object in the daily life of our life companions.
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