The Best Cat Harnesses For Adventurous Cats, According To The Experts
Vets, behaviorists and cat parents weigh in.
Your cat is curious and adventurous, and it’s in her nature to want to explore the great outdoors. But for many reasons, letting your cat have free rein of the front yard may not be wise, especially in certain locations. So, that’s where cat harnesses come into play.
Just like dog harnesses, a cat harness can allow your BFF to go on nature walks and outdoor adventures (or even travel) with you without any fear of her getting lost, getting hurt, or running away. But how can you find the best cat harness for your pet?
We consulted with the experts to find out which harnesses are the best, in their opinion, and how you can make sure you’re getting the best cat harness for your situation.
According to those who know a thing or two about cat harnesses, the best cat harness features several adjustable buckles and has detailed sizing instructions to ensure the best fit for your cat.
- Best overall cat harness: Kitty Holster Cat Harness
- Runner-up best cat harness: Travel Cat True Adventurer
- Best cat harness and leash duo: PetSafe Come With Me Kitty Harness and Leash Set
- Best cat harness for expert escape artists: Red Dingo Classic Nylon Cat Harness
- Best cat harness for super-small kittens: Marshall Pet Products Harness
“Once they get the idea, many cats love to go for walks but also more ambitious outings like hiking,” Kate Karam, resident pet expert at Chewy, told The Dodo. “If your feline has an adventurous side or looks at you with those eyes when you are taking the dog for a walk, fitting them with a harness is a great idea.”
Karam continued, “Make sure to measure first! The best cat harnesses have sizing instructions so you can achieve the right fit.” Most harnesses will require you to measure around your cat’s middle and neck, so make sure you have a soft measuring tape on hand before clicking “add to cart.”
What to look for in a quality cat harness
While shopping for the best cat harness for your cat, you’ll want to keep a few shopping considerations in mind.
There are two main styles of cat harnesses on the market — a vest or jacket style and a nylon strap style.
“I'm a fan of the jacket-style harness,” veterinarian Dr. Sandra Mitchell told The Dodo, “primarily because they are really hard for the cat to get out of, but quick and easy for the owner to put on. They can be adjusted to a varying degree of snugness, which can help maximize comfort.”
However, Dr. Mitchell says that these vest-style harnesses may also be harder for cats to get used to wearing. “Because they do cover a lot of the body, some cats need time to get used to them,” she said, “but once they do, they are pretty safe.”
Nylon strap harnesses may be more comfortable for cats who don’t like the feeling of excess material on them, and they’re also extremely adjustable. Most nylon harnesses are just a configuration of three straps — two of which go around the body and neck and have adjustable buckles that help you get a custom fit.
The best cat harnesses according to the experts
After consulting experts and pet parents, these are the best cat harnesses you can buy for your adventurous BFF.
Karam, Dr. Mitchell and Dr. Mikel Delgado, a cat behavior expert and member of the Rover Dog People Panel, all love the Kitty Holster harness.
“My personal favorite harness for cats is the Kitty Holster: It's cute, comfortable and very secure for most cats because it has very strong Velcro that goes across the chest and belly,” Dr. Delgado told The Dodo.
“Many cat harnesses are just small dog harnesses — and cats have a totally different body shape and completely different goals when they are outdoors from dogs!” Dr. Mitchell said. “This was a product designed with them in mind.”
“The biggest decision here is not whether to get this award-winning walking vest for your cat, but which of the awesome colors and patterns to pick!” Karam added. “Pet parents love that it is easy to put on but difficult for your cat to get out of on his own.”
The Kitty Holster is also super soft and made from machine-washable 100 percent cotton, with an undyed cotton lining “that’s especially great for cats with allergies,” Karam said. “Putting it on your kitty is a snap because it secures quickly with two fuzzy fastener closures.”
“I love the one I got!” Vox pet parent Jennifer Alvarez told The Dodo about the Travel Cat True Adventurer harness.
This harness is also a vest style, making it super comfortable for cats to wear and easy for cat parents to put on. It comes in sizes ranging from extra-small up through large and features adjustable toggles so you can get the perfect fit.
If you’re looking for a simple cat harness that comes with a leash, Karam recommends the PetSafe Come With Me Kitty set.
“This is a less-is-more harness that comes in lots of bright colors,” Karam said. “The bungee leash provides gentle ‘give’ when your kitty pulls and applies gentle pressure to their shoulders, not throat, for safe but also comfortable restraint. The belly strap is made of complementary-colored nylon, so you can quickly see which strap goes over the shoulders and which goes under the belly. The harness also includes a detailed fitting [and] training guide.”
“Pet parents with even the most talented escape artist for a cat report great success with this innovative harness option,” Karam told us, noting that the fish-shaped buckles are stronger than some other side-release cat harness buckles.
She continued, “And the harness is fully adjustable, allowing for a snug fit. Four colors including the sweetest, softest pink and a really handsome hunter green. Do pet parents match their cat’s harness to their own outfits? Asking for a friend.”
The Red Dingo harness also comes with a simple matching nylon leash.
Vox cat parent Sheena Oglesby told The Dodo that the Marshall Pet Products harness — which is actually designed to best fit ferrets — works great for her extra-small kitten, whom she’s trying to harness train.
“Kitten is still a kitten and too small for even the smallest of traditional harnesses, so I bought a FERRET harness to train him,” Oglesby told us. “So far he's responding well to it and he's definitely more snug and secure than the fancy XXS [harness] I originally snagged.”
Both straps on the Marshall Pet Products harness are adjustable, so you can get a custom fit for your kitten, no matter how small his neck and belly may be.
Once you have a great-fitting harness at the ready, you can train your cat to walk on a leash, and soon enough, you’ll be on your first big adventure together!