Finding a suitable cat harness and leash for your cat doesn’t have to be complicated. After buying a well-fitting harness and following a few simple steps for getting them used to it, you can easily take your feline friend on walks outside every day.
What works for one cat may not work for another. You need to be checking what kind of hair type the majority of cats using a specific harness have. This will allow you to decide if that harness will work well for your feline.
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What Is A Cat Harness?
A cat harness allows full control of your cat when walking them just like a dog leash. This reduces the chances of them running away, getting lost, or getting hurt while you’re outside with them.
Getting your cat used to a harness can make travel easy and more comfortable for you and your cat. Harnesses may seem like they’re restrictive, but they’re actually a means to more freedom for your cat.
Types Of Cat Harness
Often pet owners invest in the first harness type they find. However, just because you see many cats using a specific harness doesn’t mean it’s the right fit for your cat.
The H harness is shaped like an H and generally has thinner straps. This harness has the least amount of coverage which has definite pros and cons.
One benefit of this harness type is that it doesn’t need to pass over the head. This can make putting it on far less stressful for your cat.
Another benefit is that it touches the least amount of surface area on your cat. They won’t feel as restricted but, this is also a downfall in the sense that it can put increased pressure on those spots if your cat runs or gets jerked by the leash.
The H harness is a great starting point for kittens or smaller cats. Since it has less surface area it won’t swallow your cat and drape them in a ton of material.
If you’re just starting with a harness and feel your cat may be uncomfortable with the training process, this is a great place to start.
The vest harness is designed like a vest and fastens in the back. The full coverage of this harness type helps spread out the pressure when your cat pulls on the leash.
It’s an excellent option for cats who are more prone to running or jumping while leashed as it won’t cause pressure points on specific spots.
One downfall to this harness type is that it does need to go over the head, similar to a turtle neck. This can be an uncomfortable sensation for cats at the start of training, but they’ll get used to it as time goes on.
The jacket harness is also known as the butterfly harness. This harness type is ideal for cats that will try to contort their bodies to get out of the harness. No matter how much they wiggle around, they won’t be able to get out of this one.
The jacket harness covers the most surface area of the body, which makes it more secure. This is ideal for short-haired cats or cats that will be going on long walks in rougher terrain.
Should You Buy A Cat Harness?
Buying a cat harness can increase the amount of time you can spend with your cat. Not to mention, it can be a great way to up their exercise! Since many cat owners prefer to keep their cats inside, it can be challenging to give them enough enrichment and exercise inside the home.
There are so many positives to being able to train your cat to engage in new activities. By using a harness, your cat is better able to join you in different activities and become more social. This can be a significant benefit for their overall health.
More mental stimulation from going outside can reduce boredom. Just like more exercise from going outside can promote a healthy body! Another benefit to using a harness is safety. If you’re hesitant to let your cat loose outside, using a harness is a great way to give them freedom while keeping them safe.
This reduces the chances of them getting lost or hurt. You can better avoid any wildlife in the area interacting with your cat if they have a harness, and you can keep them from climbing up trees or running away.
The major downfall of harnesses is that they’re not foolproof. Your cat can easily get out of certain harness types, which can be incredibly stressful if you’re outside. They can also get uncomfortable skin conditions or matted fur from misfitting harnesses.
If your cat wears a harness for much of the day, you’ll likely see an increase in their grooming shortly after. This may increase hairballs or cause bald spots from over-grooming. You can avoid this by keeping harness time short and finding a harness that gives the right amount of coverage for your cat’s fur type.
A cat harness comes in a variety of designs and there are many aspects to consider for a comfortable fit. If you’ve never bought a harness before, talk to a fitter in the pet store first about sizing. This will already help to make sure your cat is comfortable however, continue to research the following considerations.
Harnesses are by no means one size fits all! There’s a wide range of sizes in all harness types depending on the build and weight of your cat. Be sure to take measurements of your cat or ask a professional to fit your feline to ensure you buy the proper size.
If you buy a size too large, they’re likely to get rough spots from the rubbing. If you buy a size too small, it’ll be too restrictive and hard to walk. Therefore, always check the size chart and get an adjustable harness.
Comfort is one of the most important factors when buying a harness. If your cat isn’t comfortable, they’ll be much more resistant to wearing the harness. Much of comfort comes down to the size of the cat and hair type.
For larger cats, you’ll need to be more aware of skin pinching. For smaller cats, you’ll need to pay close attention to the harness not being too big and causing uncomfortable rubbing on the back of the neck.
To maximize comfort, double-check the harness’s fit with a professional and check for any tender spots on your cat after their first wear.
Always rub their skin along where the edges of the harness sits. This will tell you if there are any uncomfortable points.
If you’re only using your cat’s harness to take them on quick walks around the neighborhood you’ll require less durability than if you’re going on hikes with your cat. Likewise, if you’re looking to travel with your cat, you’ll need a harness that you can trust to hold up.
A huge factor of durability is the material used and how your cat will be using it. If your cat is likely to chew on the material, you’ll need an even stronger harness.
Consider how durable your options are before making a final decision about your cat’s harness.
If you live in a stormy climate, you’ll want to make sure the harness dries quickly after getting wet. If you buy a material that retains water, you’ll be putting your cat into a wet harness which will tug at their fur more.
If you live in a very hot climate, you’ll need a more breathable material so that your cat isn’t overheating while outside. Consider the preferences of your cat based on their fur as well. Some materials grab onto fur more than others which can cause chaffing of the skin and matting of the hair.
The material you buy will also depend on your desired activities. If you’re going to take your cat on trails or hikes, you may want a reflective and waterproof material. Consider the type of terrain and weather your cat will experience to make the best decision around harness material.
It’s especially important to get an adjustable harness if you’re buying for a kitten. If your cat isn’t fully grown, it’s easier to have an adjustable harness that they can grow with rather than having to replace it frequently. This will end up saving you money and ensuring your cat is comfortable.
Having adjustability also accounts for any weight gain or loss. If your purpose for going on walks with your cat is so that they’ll lose weight, you’ll want a harness that you can tighten once they do lose the weight.
The harness should always be snug but move with their body. If it’s too tight, it’ll restrict their movement. If it’s too loose, they’ll slip right out of it. Therefore, adjust the harness often to make sure the fit is perfect. Over time it will naturally loosen from being worn and from putting it on and off.
Your Cat’s Fur
If you’re using an H harness with thin straps on your long haired cat, they may experience pain while walking. Since a harness will naturally rub and move as your cat moves, it’s vital to consider the hair type that your cat has.
If they have long hair, you’ll want more coverage to avoid knots forming. If you live in a very hot climate where your cat could quickly overheat due to its long fur, make sure you get a thinner material.
Your cat must be comfortable while wearing its harness. A great way to ensure their fur isn’t getting trapped or knotted in a particular harness is to bring them to the pet store to try some on or ask an employee what they recommend. Read reviews online about your specific breed to make sure you’re keeping them as comfortable as possible.
3 Tips To Get Your Cat To Use A Cat Harness
It’s not in a cat’s nature to be on a harness. Because of this, they may be slow to warm up to the idea of getting in a harness and onto a leash.
If you’re experiencing difficulty with training your cat, you may be taking it too fast for them. This can be a stressful activity and should be taken at their own pace to avoid negative feelings.
Many cats can be hesitant to allow a harness on them. It can be more challenging to train a cat to walk on a leash than a dog, and because of this, it needs to be done slowly. Once you buy the right harness for them, leave it out in the house and let them smell it for a few days before trying to introduce it to them.
When you start to put the harness on your cat, make sure to do so slowly and in small training sessions. By keeping sessions short, they won’t get overly stressed and start to have a fear response to the harness. On day one, just try to get the harness over their head, then take it off. The next day, get the harness over their head, leave it for a few seconds, and then take it off.
Continue with this kind of pattern for the following days until you’re able to keep the harness around their neck without any resistance.
Once they’re ready, you can slowly start to put their legs through and eventually fasten the harness on them. The slower you go, the more they’ll realize that the harness isn’t scary.
Get Them Used to Wearing it
Once you can get the harness on your cat without a problem let them wear it around the house for short periods. By getting them used to it for a few minutes at a time, they’ll be more prepared for when they wear it outside.
You’ll then be able to slowly work them up to wearing the harness for about an hour around the house. At this point, they’re ready to start attaching the harness to a leash and go outside!
This process can feel long and tedious. But you’ll find that by taking it slow you save time later on when your cat is used to the harness and comes to you when you take it out for a walk!
It may be a good idea to walk around your house first with the leash to get your cat used to being leashed. This way if they panic a little bit, they’re in a familiar and safe space. Regardless of whether you’re inside or outside, avoid pulling too much on the leash during the first few sessions.
Since pulling can feel stressful to your cat it can create a negative linkage in their mind. If your cat lays down and won’t walk, give them positive words of encouragement to get them to walk to you. You could even bring a bag of treats with you to get them to continue walking to you!
This will keep the experience positive rather than forceful. The more training you can accomplish with positive reinforcement, the better your cat will feel about future walks.
Cat Harness Vs Cat Stroller – What’s Better?
Choosing between a harness and a cat stroller depends wholly on your cat’s personality and needs. If your cat is disabled or elderly, you may not be able to take them on long walks. However, if you have a very active cat, they can exercise more by walking alongside you!
If your cat breed is prone to obesity it’s ideal for them to get more exercise. If you’re not initiating playtime with them in the home, get them outside on a harness to get their body moving.
There are definite pros and cons to both a stroller and a harness. Choosing which is right for you depends on the level of exercise your cat needs and how comfortable you feel they’ll be outside. Whatever reduces the long-term stress in the animal is what’s ideal for them.
If you’re not sure how your cat will react to a harness versus a stroller, test out a harness for a little while. There are many inexpensive harnesses you can try to train your cat to tolerate. If they aren’t walking or putting up with the harness well after a week, it may indicate that a stroller is a better option.
Best Cat Harness (Recommended)
Conclusion On The Best Cat Harness
Cat harnesses are a great way to expose your cat to the outside world in a controlled manner.
For cats that require more exercise or who get bored quickly, you’ll find that a harness satiates their need for enrichment.
Before buying your first harness, do your research to find the right fit for your cat’s body and fur type. This will ensure they’re comfortable and safe at all times.
Frequently Asked Questions
Are cat harnesses a good idea? Are They Worth It?
Unless you have a very adventurous cat, a cat harness is likely to be used when visiting the vets or taking your cat somewhere. For this, cat harnesses are great as they will stop your cat from escaping and save you from carrying them.
Are cat harnesses cruel?
No, a cat harness is not cruel but, if fitted or used incorrectly it can cause some harm to your cat. Used correctly, cat harnesses allow cats to explore the outdoors.
Should a cat wear a harness all the time?
Letting your cat wear a harness all the time can cause some irritation with your cat’s fur or skin. It depends on how your cat reacts to the harness and if it’s fitted correctly. It’s recommended to let your cat wear the harness for long periods while they’re getting used to it. Once they’re comfortable getting in and out of the harness you can begin to reduce the time they wear it by limiting it to outdoor play time.
Last update on 2022-07-02 at 19:54 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API