These days, our cats are part of our families. As we learn more about their apparent independence, we come to understand that it is only their attitude and in fact these beautiful animals that are very happy spending time with their human companions. A cat harness allows you to safely spend time with your pet outdoors.
Although cats are homebodies, many love to explore the big wide world and enjoy the adventure of new smells, sounds and fresh things to see. However hitting the streets alone, they might get spooked and run away, causing them to lose their way if they are not secured with a good harness.
- 1 Key Facts
- 2 Ranking: The best cat harnesses on the Australian market
- 3 Shopping Guide: What you should know about cat harnesses
- 3.1 Can you train a cat to walk with a harness?
- 3.2 Why does my cat need a harness?
- 3.3 What do I do if my cat doesn’t want to wear its harness?
- 3.4 Do I need to take my cat out the first time they use the harness?
- 3.5 How do I know that my cat is ready to go out in their harness?
- 3.6 Any more advice to help my cat get accustomed to the harness?
- 3.7 Why do they recommend taking overweight cats out in a harness?
- 3.8 What advantages are there in taking my cat out in a harness?
- 3.9 What vaccinations should my cat have in order to put on a harness and go outside?
- 3.10 Why might my cat need a reflective harness?
- 3.11 What is the difference between a petral and a cat harness?
- 4 Shopping Criteria
- 5 Summary
- The majority of cats need to familiarise themselves with their harness before putting it on and going for a walk. Don’t worry, it’s normal and there are ways to do this with as little fuss as possible.
- For cats which tend to run away from home but live in the city, it’s highly advisable to buy a harness to let them go out in safety with their owner.
- There are many types of harnesses you can choose between, taking into account that you want your cat to be comfortable but also secure.
Ranking: The best cat harnesses on the Australian market
In this section, you will find a list of the 5 best cat harnesses in the market. We have also summarized the main characteristics of each to give you a good idea about all of these products. In this way, you can make the best decision about which harness is right for your cat and you:
No. 1: Soft Mesh Nylon Cat Vest[amazon box=”B01324L360″ description_items=”0″]
This cat vest harness is made from a breathable air mesh fabric which is a mix of cotton and polyester. The vest is designed to be comfortable for your pet, with extra padding around the neck. It also has an escape-proof design so your cat won’t be able to get out of it. It comes in three sizes so you can choose the most suitable for your pet.
This style of harness is great for extra warmth and protection in the winter months, but may be overly warm on hot days. It can be washed in the washing machine, making cleaning it very easy, although the manufacturer recommends hand washing and air drying to keep it looking newer for longer.
No. 2: PUPTECK Adjustable Cat Harness[amazon box=”B07F2KNXJT” description_items=”0″]
This cat harness is in the strap or petral style, making it lightweight and ideal for summer as there is less fabric which keeps your cat cooler. The harness comes with a lead, both made of sturdy nylon, and the harness is adjustable to fit different sized cats from kittens to adults.
The harness design has a strap which fits around the cat’s neck, and another which goes around the stomach. The lead clips on to the back strap which runs between these two straps, in order to evenly distribute pressure. The harness also has sturdy snap-lock buckles.
No. 3: Comfort Soft Adjustable Mesh Harness[amazon box=”B006JG1H8I” description_items=”0″]
This cat harness is designed for premium comfort! It has extra padding around the neck and back so your cat will love wearing it. It is also engineered to distribute the force of the leash evenly across the neck and shoulders so your put won’t feel any awkward pulling.
It is made of lightweight and breathable material, and is also adjustable to fit the size of your cat. It can be adjusted to fit cats with a neck size of 25 to 46cm and a girth between 36 and 41cm.
No. 4: PetSafe Come With Me Kitty Harness[amazon box=”B000OBIW9Q” description_items=”0″]
This strap-style cat harness comes with a “bungee” leash which is a stretchy lead to give your cat some flexibility and prevent harsh or sharp tugging when they reach the full extension of the leash.
The harness is specifically designed for cats, meaning that the straps apply gentle pressure on the shoulders rather than pressure on the neck or throat. It can be adjusted at two different points to suit your cat’s size and body type, suiting up to large cats.
No. 5: Didog Reflective Vest Harness and Leash Set[amazon box=”B07CSNKB8J” description_items=”0″]
This vest-style harness for cats and puppies is made from a breathable air mesh fabric as well as canvas material, which is soft and comfortable for your pet. It has a step-in design which is easy to take on and off, and force is distributed across 4 different points for better comfort and greater control.
A great point of difference for this harness is that it has a wide reflective strap around the chest as well as a reflective paw print on the front. This is important if you are planning to walk your pet in the dark in order to avoid collisions and easily find them if they run away.
Shopping Guide: What you should know about cat harnesses
Before getting a harness for your cat, you should consider the character of your pet, as well as the main aspects of these products. Next, we will cover the challenges involved in taking your cat for a walk with a harness and some tips to make this easier.
Can you train a cat to walk with a harness?
Probably, the first time you put you can in a harness, it will scramble to get out of it. But if your pet likes to get out, but lives in a big city or town, it will simply have to get used to it. This means that it can get out and explore in a safe way.
Even if they hate it at first, a cat can be trained to use a harness. Kittens are much more receptive to this new experience, while older cats will be more reticent, although, with a bit of patience, they can also be trained.
Why does my cat need a harness?
If you live in an urban area and want your cat to be able to get out of the house, or if you need to go to the vet, for example, it is essential to put your pet in a harness. Experts recommend taking cats that have a tendency to escape out for a walk, so you can help them to satisfy their sense of adventure, but without the risks.
For many cats who spend the day at home, outings can offer great enjoyment. If your pet is kept inside without the freedom to get out and see new things, spending too much time inside the same four walls can make it agitated. Walking is also important to control obesity.
There are mandatory outings for felines, such as going to the vet for vaccinations or checkups, moving house or going for a car trip. In all these cases, it is important to use a harness for safety reasons. If you don’t use one, you may lose track of your cat and they could end up on the road or in another dangerous situation.
What do I do if my cat doesn’t want to wear its harness?
It is normal for this to happen. Cats are creatures of habit and it takes time to get used to something new. If your pet resists you putting it on or if it seems uncomfortable, instead of forcing it, leave this new object in places that your cat likes, such as next to their food bowl or where they sleep, so that they become familiar with it.
The first few times you put the harness on your cat you can accompany it by giving your pet a treat, or with cuddles. This will mean your cat associates the harness with positive feelings. You can repeat this process for several days until your cat is more comfortable with the harness.
Do I need to take my cat out the first time they use the harness?
Unless you have a very adaptable cat, which is not common, introduce the process gradually, even if you have managed to get your pet into the harness without them getting nervous. When putting it on for the first time, leave the harness loose, without adjusting and without attaching the leash, so that your cat can get used to it.
Leave the harness on for a couple of minutes, until your cat gets tired and loses interest in the rewards. Repeat the training every day for a short period of time. If you see that your cat starts to calm down when wearing the harness, you can gradually increase the time they spend wearing it.
Once you see that your cat is comfortable at home with the harness, you can tighten it and attach the leash, but wait a few days before taking them outside in it. In the meantime, keep treating him with sweets and caresses. And do not wait until it gets overwhelmed and you can get back to where you started. Do not lose sight of their reactions while wearing it.
How do I know that my cat is ready to go out in their harness?
You know your cat better than anyone else and you will know whether they feel comfortable. When that happens, you can take your pet outside in their harness. Now the second training phase begins: your cat will be exposed to a range of new stimuli. Not all animals like this.
Start by walking in a quiet place. First, just sit with your cat in a place without much noise and let them explore the environment, while you hold the strap. Just like you did at home, make them feel comfortable by giving treats and cuddles. Take your time to feel to help your pet feel positive about their first contact with the outside world.
Any more advice to help my cat get accustomed to the harness?
Remember that cats love their habits. So if your pet loves to walk and explore the wider world, set a schedule so they know when you will be going out together and doesn’t continually bother you. Therefore, do not put on the harness when they are bugging you – wait and make sure you are the one who decides when you will go out.
Even when your cat has gotten used to going out on the street, never do it without the harness, because they could get spooked or chase after another animal. After all, this is their natural instinct. So always your cat’s harness on and firmly secure it before leaving home. If you have to enter a shop or other building, do not leave your cat outside on its own.
Why do they recommend taking overweight cats out in a harness?
Vets advise that one of the solutions to feline obesity is to buy a harness, get the cat accustomed to it and go out for daily walks. City animals lead very sedentary lives and obesity can lead to chronic diseases such as diabetes or liver diseases.
Also, overweight cats may be at risk of arthritis due to the wear and tear on their joints due to the extra weight. Keeping cats at their ideal weight decreases the likelihood of developing these chronic diseases. And a harness is a useful tool to be able to control their weight safely.
What advantages are there in taking my cat out in a harness?
Obesity is not the only problem for cats which are always locked up at home. Pets which never go outside can develop aggressive behaviours as well as depression and lack of appetite because of boredom and a lack of stimuli.
If your cat is always inside, it can also develop unfortunate habits, such as trying to hunt items around the house or to climb on all your furniture in order to get rid of its energy and satisfy its desire to explore. This is why experts recommend getting a harness and taking your pet out to enjoy the outside world.
What vaccinations should my cat have in order to put on a harness and go outside?
Following a vaccination plan will protect our cat from catching potentially dangerous diseases. Vaccines are important even if your pet stays at home. They are absolutely essential if you want to put it in a harness and take it outside. For kittens, the vaccination process must begin at two months of age.
Veterinarians recommend the trivalent vaccine for all cats and the leukaemia vaccine for animals that may have contact with stray cats. Therefore, if your cat has the opportunity to go outside with his harness, it is recommended that he has both. The former is completed across three sets of shots and the leukaemia vaccine is done in two sets.
Why might my cat need a reflective harness?
There are also reflective harnesses available on the market these days. It is a very useful accessory for walking your cat at night. In this way, your pet, whatever size or colour it may be, will continue to be very visible to you and to others on the street.
With a reflective harness, you can avoid collisions with other walkers, not to mention vehicles. And if your cat somehow gets away from you, you’ll be able to easily find them in the dark. This type of product can be found in a wide range of colours.
What is the difference between a petral and a cat harness?
Originally, the word petral referred to a belt or strap that surrounds the body of a horse in order to secure a saddle. Now, with the increased use of harnessed for cats and dogs, the strap that surrounds the body of these smaller animals has been called petral, and allows owners to control their movement.
The petral is simpler than the harness in its design, giving more freedom to the cat. A harness covers a greater part of the animal’s body, which translates into greater control over when and where they walk. In colder months, the harness offers more shelter to your cat compared to a petral.
When buying a harness for your cat, it is very important that you make an informed decision, taking into account some important factors, both relating to your pet and to the product. Here we summarise the most important issues to keep in mind so that you make the best decision for your cat’s comfort. The key factors are:
- Form of harness
- Hooks and straps
Different forms of cat harnesses
There are different shapes of cat harnesses which cover a greater or lesser part of the body of the cat, some of which are easier to remove than others and which can be made more or less comfortable for each animal. The following chart shows the main types of cat harness that you can find on the market, classified by form, and their advantages and disadvantages:
|Belt or petral style|| In the lower part, the belt forms two circles. One goes around height the chest and the other around the stomach of the animal.
It has a coupling joint
| They are usually the cheapest.
Fresh in summer .
| Your cat may find it easier to get out of this harness compared to other models.
You have less power over their movements.
|Vest style||Like a jacket that covers the body of the animal, although, obviously, without sleeves .|| It is very difficult to get rid of this harness and get away.
In winter it shelters the animal from the cold.
There is a great variety of designs and styles to choose from .
| In summer, if it does not have a breathable material, it can be very hot.
The cat may feel stranger when covering the whole body.
|Wide petral style||A combination of the two above styles. It covers more body than the belt and presents more elaborate designs, but without covering the entire back and chest of the animal as the vest does|| It is not easy to get out of this wide petral.
Partially shelters your pet from the cold in winter and less hot in summer.
It can be less intrusive to your cat than a vest, and more comfortable than the thin petral.
Enough to have control over your cat’s movements, like the direction it’s going to take .
| It does not get to have the same level of security as the vest to prevent escape.
In summer your cat may find it too hot.
When choosing a closure for your cat’s harness, we must keep two key things in mind: will close securely and how easy is it to open (remembering that the longer this process takes the more agitated your pet will become). There are three main types of closures:
- Buckle: Not so easy to open, unless the harness is loose. It offers several sizes and more can be added by making extra holes. These types of closures take a while to do up since you need to close them in exactly the right spot.
- Velcro: Velcro closures are quick and easy to close. Velcro is usually a complement to another closure since it can be pulled open easily under tension or when the material begins to wear.
- Plastic: This is the fastest type to close, you should always be careful because it can catch on the skin if your pet moves and cause pain. They are more difficult to open, although if you press in the right spot it should open easily.
The material of your cat’s harness is very important because your pet will be wearing it close to their skin. Just as we value the fabric our clothes are made of, we should do the same with our cat’s harness, especially in certain weather. It should also be made of a strong material so it won’t easily rip or tear, but soft to the touch so that it does not irritate the cat.
Some harnesses are made of a mesh material to be breathable in Summer, and others which offer waterproof protection from the rain. There are vest-style harnesses which are particularly designed for the colder months. Petral style harnesses are usually made of sturdy nylon.
Before buying a harness, it’s important to consider the size of your cat. There are adjustable ones, but they should never be too big or too small in their basic size. If it’s too big your pet will be able to out of it too easily. Too small and it can be very uncomfortable for your cat.
Most cat harnesses are available in various sizes and the seller will normally indicate the appropriate measurements of the neck, chest and waist. It’s important to check this before making the purchase.
Hooks and straps
Obviously, in order for the harness to perform its function, you need to attach a leash of some kind to walk your pet. The most commontype is a resistant nylon lead that cannot be lengthened or shortened. The lead is usually not much more than 1.2 metres.
Unlike dogs, who usually have extendible leads, for cats there are so-called ‘Bungee’ leads, which can also stretch, but only a little. These give your cat a bit more freedom to explore or investigate anything that catches their eye on the walk.
City cats often spend their whole lives at home and this can be less than ideal. Cats can get bored, develop bad habits, become agitated, or become overweight, causing other diseases. Taking them for a walk without a leash is impossible, as they could easily spook and run away.
For this reason, a harness is a great tool which lets you take your cat out of the house so that it can get some exercise, experience new things or go to the vet without running the risk of getting lost. There are many types, as well as specific techniques for getting your pet accustomed to this new object.
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(Source of featured image: Pac Jan: 29892769/ 123rf.com)