Reviews of The Best Cat Collars, Harnesses, and Leashes: Keeping Big and Small Cats Healthy And Safe Outdoors

Wanting to take your cat outdoors for activity? You can enjoy the community together and welcome the benefits of nature with your cat.

But hold your horses…imagine letting your indoor kitty outside for the first time, only to have her dart off and never return!

You absolutely need to make sure your cat has a collar and identification!

According to the National Council on Pet Population Study and Policy, fewer than 2 percent of lost cats are ever returned to their owners.

And even if you aren’t planning on going out with your cat, I can remember a time my grandmother’s cat, Sassy, darted out the door when I was just a little kid. My grandmother was distraught, and it was a small miracle we found her after an hour. Most people aren’t so lucky, especially when they don’t have a collar or ID.

Whether you want to make sure an accidental escape doesn’t end up in tragedy, or you’d like to take your cat out with you for a walk or just safely to the vet, it’s important that you pick the right collar, harness, and/or leash for her. 

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Getting A Collar For Your Cat

There’s a wide variety of cat collars available including studded, rhinestone, faux leopard print, embroidered and more!

To get your cat to wear a collar, introduce it slowly. Start without the tags or jingling bells. Make sure the collar is properly fitted to avoid it being too loose or too tight. In general, allowing two fingers side-by-side to fit between the cat’s neck and the collar is the best fit.

Worried about your cat getting caught? A breakaway collar features a fastener that automatically releases when its pulled, so there is always an option!

It’s also a good idea to have a spare collar and tag should the regular collar get lost. You can then immediately replace and not have to rush to get a new one. 

Here are our top couple of picks for your cat to keep her safe and secure!

Best Cat Collars: Top 3 Ratings & Reviews

The Best Cat Collars Reviewed

To keep your kitty safe (even if she’s an indoor cat! I’ve known some escape artists…), it’s a great idea to get a collar that can hold an ID tag. We believe it should be simple, functional, and be easy to get on and off. Here are a couple of our favorite options.

#1. Custom Embroidered GoTag

This breakaway, adjustable collar is made from nylon material. The collar will release if your cat’s collar gets caught to ensure safety. This collar is customizable with your cat’s name and phone number.

This collar also comes with an additional ID protection, as it includes a small stainless steel pet ID tag to include additional phone numbers and home address should your cat get lost. Various colors are available.

Ordering is a bit funny, but follow these steps and this customized and affordable collar will be on its way:

  • Click Customize Now (rather than the usual “Add to Cart” button…you might also have to click “See All Buying Options” on Amazon)
  • Enter the following:
    • (1) Collar Color: Black, Blue, Red, Pink or Orange
    • (2) Thread Color: White, Black, Navy Blue, Red, Neon Pink, Baby Pink, Sky Blue, Purple, Neon Yellow, Neon Green, Orange, Gold, Turquoise, Cotton Candy, Jolly Rancher;
    • (3) Collar Text: Pet Name and Phone Number – 25 Characters Max

Great for customization and great for kitty, we love this option, and as you’ll see, our second choice is this exact option, but with a reflective strip! Highly recommended.

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#2. Custom Embroidered Reflective GoTag

These collars are breakaway and are designed to release should the cat’s collar get caught. They are adjustable from 8-12 inches. The reflective strip is highly visible from hundreds of feet away keeping your cat safe in the dark.

Your cat’s identification is laser engraved directly onto the reflective strip of the collar. Your phone number and cat’s name will stand out on the reflective collar should your pet get lost.

Same ordering instructions as above, but only 2 options this time:

  • (1) Color Collar: Black, Blue, Pink, or Red
  • (2) Collar Text: Pet Name and Phone Number – 25 Characters Max

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#3. Coastal Pet Products Nylon Safe Cat Adjustable Breakaway Collar with Bells

This collar is also made of no-snag nylon material. The buckle is designed to release if your cat’s collar gets caught. It is also completely adjustable from 8-inch to 12-inch to create the perfect fit.

The bell will allow you to hear your cat running through the house or should he or she break free outside.

No personalization like the previous two options, but we thought we’d give you a recommendation that was super basic if that’s all you need.

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Best Harnesses For Small Cats

Does your cat enjoy walking outside and exploring the outside world? Are you planning on taking your kitty for a walk for the very first time?

Before you take your cat for an actual walk, you should find the right harness.

Your kitty, even if it’s a little breed, will enjoy each chance it gets to sniff, explore and see new things. Keeping your feline friend indoors protects it from many diseases and dangers, but it also limits its space.

These furballs are natural carnivorous predators and before they were domesticated and became one of the most popular pet species, they had the freedom to enjoy the outdoor world as much as they wanted.

Taking into consideration your kitty’s overall size, the length of its fur and its levels of obedience and curiosity will help you figure out the best harness for your kitten.

Why is the cat’s size and fur length of any importance? Cats with longer fur or with thicker, fuller coats, such as the Munchkin, the American Curl, and the Napoleon cat, can get uncomfortable and annoyed with harnesses, especially if their hair gets tangled in them.

Harnesses need to fit properly, so it’s important that you find an option that will work for your cat’s size.

For smaller cats, you’ll be looking at a small size, obviously. Just make sure you look at the brand’s specific sizing options, because one brand’s small might be another brand’s medium, and you’ll want to go off of the actual measurements, rather than just sizing.

I know it can be tough for some cats to allow you to do this, but it’s highly recommended that you measure your cat around the middle with a soft measuring tape to figure out what size to order, since your cat will rely on it for her safety when you take her out.

Here’s are top choices if you’re looking for a small cat harness!

Best Small Cat Harnesses: Top 3 Ratings & Reviews

PetSafe Premier Pet Come with me Kitty Harness

This type of harness, which is not a full vest like many others (it’s just straps, really) is great for warmer weather conditions, or cats who may feel too restricted using a larger vest style.

The thin straps provide balanced pressure on kitty’s neck and upper back and even a greater freedom for movement. The girth measures are suited for a small breed (though they do offer 3 sizes, so make sure you select the right one!) and the adjustable straps will fit your own cat perfectly.

The small size fits cats with a 9 to 11 inch girth (distance around their middle section).

We really loved the bungee leash that comes with this unit.

It’s 4 feet long, but will expand up to 6 feet whenever your kitten reaches its limit. This means that if it’s feeling particularly curious about something the bungee leash will provide enough extension for your cat to sniff and explore without pulling the leash too much.

Pet Safe’s harness is designed so that the straps won’t apply pressure on the cat’s throat and will offer a safe fit, which won’t allow the kitten to wriggle out of the harness.

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Kitty Holster Cat Harness

The Kitty Holster is soft, secure and made from comfortable, 100% cotton. It has a metal D-ring for attaching a leash.

The strong, lightweight harness secures with wide Velcro closures and is non-abrasive.

This soft, breathable cotton harness is also easily washable. The lining is not dyed and is suitable for all skin types and climates – even though it’s a vest, it’s really light and your cat is very unlikely to overheat wearing this.

Make sure you measure accurately! Their XS size is good for cats with a 5″ – 8″ neck and 10″ – 14″ chest girth, while the S/M size fits 9″ – 12″ neck and 13″ – 17″ chest girth.

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Pupteck Escape Proof Cat Harness With Leash

With 3 fun colors, this vest style unit fits well and is well made to give you that peace of mind you need when taking your little guy out for a walk.

The small size fits a chest girth of 10.5″-12.4″, a neck girth of 7.4″-9.3″, and includes a 59″ leash (nearly 5 feet).

It’s got both a velco underside and an actual buckle that secures the closure.

It is more of a mesh design than our other recommended pick above, which makes it a bit more breathable if you’re in a hotter climate. 

Either way, we really liked this one, and it seems to fit nicely and makes us feel safe enough to use it, since it’s so secure.

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Best Harnesses For Big Cats

Big cat breeds are just as curious and explorative as smaller cat breeds or young kittens.

Keeping your big furball indoors will spare it from fleas, common diseases of stray cats, and other types of dangers, but it will also limit the possibilities of sniffing, exploring and enjoying the outdoor world.

But when it comes to bringing your big feline friend on a walk with you in the outdoors, there are a few things you should consider, such as the kitty’s size, its fur length, and its tolerance towards the harness.

There are advantages and disadvantages to taking a big cat on a walk.

For starters, their heavy weight means putting more strain on the harness and the leash. A cat’s throat, unlike the dog’s one, is too fragile, so you can’t just attach a leash to its collar and take it out like that.

Another disadvantage is the fact that many of them have thick coats of fur and long hair, which might get tangled up in the harness – like the Maine Coon or the Ragdoll cat.

However, if you wish to show your big cat the wonders of the outside world, these issues can easily be remedied by picking the right equipment, which is what we’ve done for you below by giving you our picks of only the best of the best. 

Before you choose the right lead or vest for your kitty, you should measure its neck and girth (measurement around the middle) to make sure you won’t get the wrong size. Incorrect sizing can be dangerous!

If the harness is too tight, your cat won’t be able to move freely and he/ she will hate you for the restrain and the squeezing sensation the harness will inflict during the walk.

If it’s too loose, your furry loved one will just wriggle its way out of it – and you definitely don’t want your pet escaping from you and ending up unprotected on the street or on some high tree the park. You should aim to be able to fit a finger or two between the straps and your cat freely, while making sure your cat can’t pull free.

So, what type of harness should you get for your kitty’s special outdoor walks? Should it be a strappy lead or do you need a big vest-like harness? Check out our top picks below!

Best Big Cat Harnesses: Top 3 Ratings & Reviews

PetSafe Premier Pet Come with me Kitty Harness

PetSafe is a massively popular and trustworthy company, and we think their harness is the best for big cats (and small ones, too, if you read our reviews above!). Super functional and very well made.

It’s not a full vest, so many cats will find this easier to handle and be more comfortable, as they’re not going to be wearing a clothing-type product like the full vest options. It’s very adjustable, and will fit cats of all shapes and sizes.

While it might seem uncomfortable for cats with just thin straps, they provide a nicely balanced fit and provide an even pressure on kitty’s neck and back, while providing more range of movement.

The large size fits cats with a girth (around the middle of body measurement) of 13 to 18 inches (measured right behind the front legs).

This is an easy pick for the best of the best, and we found it just overall high quality, easy to use, easy to adjust, and non offensive to the cats, which is perhaps the most important thing so they’ll actually wear it.

It also comes with a leash, which is a cool bungee style, so it gives a bit of room for exploration.

Highly recommended!

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Kitty Holster Cat Harness

Although it doesn’t come with a leash, this holster is a pretty good option if you’re looking for the vest style.

It’s well made, has an interesting double velcro closure system (one piece opens one way, one opens the other), and it actually secures separately around the neck and mid-section, but leave the space in between on the front, open. Gives security but also extra flexibility for your cat to move around.

It’s nicely made out of cotton, and the hook on the back to secure your leash is sewn into some more structured, tougher material.

Most cats will have no problem wearing it, and after a few uses won’t even notice it. 

Surprisingly, it’ll actually fit some pretty big cats, even fluffy ones. They might look a bit silly but that’s not the point :).

Remember to measure properly, theirMake sure you measure accurately! Their XL size is good for cats with a 11″-15″ neck and 19″-23″ girth, while the M/L size fits 10″ – 13″ neck and 16″ – 20″ chest girth.

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Pupteck Escape Proof Cat Harness With Leash

I really like the buckle + velcro strap system here. Even though the buckle is plastic, it still feels a bit more secure than using only velcro.

It’s very soft and flexible, but sturdy enough to keep them from escaping.

They take the sturdiness and security a step further, too, actually, with a double D-ring on the back, where you connect your leash. The two rings hypothetically make it stronger and sturdier when the leash is attached, and makes it so that if one breaks (highly unlikely), you have an extra/backup and your cat won’t be able to run away.

Large should fit a chest girth of 14.1″-16.1″ and a neck girth of 10.1″-13.1″.

It does include a nearly 5 foot long leash, which is pretty basic, but does the trick.

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Best Cat Leashes

After deciding on a harness, you will need a leash if your harness does not come with a leash (our top pick, the PetSafe model above, does come with a leash). Here are a few leashes we reviewed to help you decide.

Best Cat Leashes: Top 3 Ratings & Reviews

#1. PetSafe Nylon Leash (EDITOR’S CHOICE)

PetSafe makes a lot of great products and if it’s simplicity you’re after, you can’t go wrong with their 6 foot long, 3/8 inch wide nylon leash.

It’s got a metal clasp that I actually trust, it’s super slim and lightweight, and is a perfect, non-cumbersome product to attach to your kitty’s harness when you’re out for a little bit of outdoor time.

It comes in some fun colors, too, so why not take the opportunity to inject a bit of color into your day?

Our top pick for the basic, high-quality option.

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#2. Petender Dual Double Handle Bungee Leash

 

We love the PetSafe bungee leash that comes with our top harness pick, and this is a really cool alternative to that. 

Just like the PetSafe, it extends from 4 to 6 feet, giving plenty of room for your kitty to explore.

The cool thing about this is that not only does it have a normal handle area, it’s got a handle area right down by the collar connector, which means if you really need to make sure your pet is staying close to you (if she’s trying to run away, a larger predatory animal sees her, or she’s struggling with something), you can just grab the lower handle and have a much more firm grasp on them and their movement.

It’s a cool product, and does the trick if you’re looking for a bit more flexibility!

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#3. Flexi New Classic Cord Leash

 

We couldn’t go through leashes without giving you a retractable option!

You’ll probably be familiar with these since they’re popular dog walking tools, but they work great for giving your kitty some extra space while being able to better control her movement by locking her out of being able to run so far ahead.

This one is pretty little, although compared to the other ones we’ve got here, it’s a bit longer at 10 feet.

It’s all high quality here, so if it’s retractable you’re after, this is our pick!

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Walking Your Cat – Is It Possible?

Now that you have a collar and ID tag, you may want to consider walking your cat. Yes, that’s right – we said walking your cat!

Most cats can be trained to walk on a harness and leash. If your cat is skittish and doesn’t respond well to change, we do not recommend walking your pet.

Every cat should be given a chance if you feel you can train consistently. The exercise and smells and sight of nature are relaxing and intriguing!

Kittens are more accepting, but you can train your older cats with some patience. Take small steps and reward along the way with each progress. Start training indoors where your cat is more comfortable.

Getting Used To Wearing The Gear

Leave the harness and leash near your cat’s food and/or favorite sleeping spot for your cat to check it out. He will then get used to the sight of it and associate it with two of his favorite things. When your cat sniffs the leash and harness, give him a treat. Place around his neck, and then give him another treat before taking it off.

When your cat seems more comfortable with the leash and harness, put it on and take him for a walk around the house. Be sure to reward him for doing a good job. Keep the leash loose so your cat doesn’t feel too confined at first. Keep going with this step until you feel comfortable venturing outside.

Be sure you always use a sweet, soft voice to encourage your cat to follow you. Start in a quiet, sheltered spot when heading outdoors. Let your cat lead at first outside.

Keep walking consistently. Practice makes perfect.

What To Include On An ID Tag

Your cat’s tag should include your name, address and telephone number. You can also include a second number of a friend or relative which is ideal if people have a hard time getting ahold of you.

Check your cat’s ID tag regularly to ensure it is readable and your contact information is correct. Make sure you update immediately if you move because moving is a stressful time for a cat and he/she may make a dash through an open door. Traveling is another important time to have an ID tag should they get lost in the airport or roadside stop.

Microchipped?

Even if your cat is microchipped, it is still good to have a collar with tags. When someone finds your cat, he or she can return immediately because not everyone can read the microchip.

Additional Things To Consider

Try setting a regular walking schedule so you don’t get pestered by your cat. Always put the harness on away from the door and carry your cat outside. Never let him walk out on his own without his harness on, so he doesn’t dash.

Do not tie your cat’s leash to anything outside and leave him alone. He could get tangled or escape.

With these tips and a lot of hard work, you can walk your cat and enjoy nature together. You will need patience, and be sure to take precautions to ensure your cat’s safety, such as proper ID, safe collars, harnesses meant for cats and keeping your cat close and on a leash when outside.

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Emily Parker
 

Emily Parker is the Content Manager at Catological. She's passionate about helping cat parents love their cats better by providing the best information and recommendations about everything you'll need to know about your cat, from kitten to senior years. She believes natural, biologically-appropriate products are best...why wouldn't you provide the best for a member of your family?!

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