It doesn’t seem that long ago that taking your cat out for a walk was almost unheard of.
It was dogs that went for out walks, while cats lounged around on the chair or gazed out of the window watching the world go by.
But nowadays things have changed.
More and more cat owners are using harnesses to enable them to take their kitty out on adventures. They are also a fantastic way to keep your cat under control at the vet’s or while traveling.
But if you want to join the club, you’re going to need the best cat harness and leash for the job.
It’s no surprise that cats can move super-fast and wriggle their way out of almost anything if they get spooked. Losing your beloved kitty is the stuff of nightmares, so a sub-standard harness simply won’t cut it.
In this article, we bring you our top 5 escape proof cat harnesses, so you and your kitty can enjoy the outdoors together without fear!
Our review process is unbiased and based on extensive research. If you buy through the links on our site, we may earn a commission.
Quick-Find Best Harness and Leash Table
- Best selling, vest-style harness
- Robust, escape-proof design
- Soft, breathable and comfortable
Best for Small Cats
- Soft and durable nylon straps
- Pressure is gently distributed across the shoulders
- Great for smaller cats
Best for Large Cats
- Great for larger cats
- Padded chest and neck straps
- Available in many funky designs
- 100% breathable soft cotton
- Wide straps for comfort
- Secure vest-style harness
- Strong yet lightweight
- Padded chest strap distributes pressure
- Two handles for easier control
- Reduces strain from sudden movements
- Strong and durable
Things To Look For When Choosing A Cat Harness
Here are our top features to consider when searching for the best cat harness for your kitty:
Your harness will not be worth anything if it doesn’t keep your cat safe and secure when it’s on!
The best escape proof cat harness will be designed to fit snugly so that your cat cannot simply back out and escape. The method of fastening should be also strong and of good quality.
Many harnesses for cats are secured with wide velcro straps, while others use plastic clips and buckles. Some harnesses may use a combination of the above.
Either of these are good options, so long as they are well-made and durable.
Of course, if you’re only using the harness for trips to the vet or travel, also make sure you get a good cat crate.
Easy To Use
If you are going to struggle to fit and remove the harness, this will simply make the experience stressful for both you and your cat. Therefore, you should pick a harness which is quick and easy for you to use.
Small plastic buckles can be awkward if you have arthritis, issues with dexterity, or your cat has particularly long fur. On the other hand, the sound of velcro may frighten timid kitties.
Furthermore, if your cat is nervous, you will be better off choosing a harness which opens up and wraps around the body, rather than needing to be pulled over their head.
Comfort & Safety
To keep your kitty comfortable, you should look for a harness which is made from soft cotton or a breathable nylon mesh.
This prevents your cat from overheating if they will be wearing it for longer periods. These materials are also flexible, so your cat can move freely without feeling too restricted.
Furthermore, be sure to check that your harness is designed to avoid placing any pressure on the throat. This is a very sensitive area and can be easily damaged should your cat get scared and jerk on the leash suddenly.
Ensuring your harness fits your cat correctly is crucial.
If it is too small, it will be very uncomfortable and could potentially cause your cat harm. On the other hand, if it is too large, you may be left with an empty harness as your furry friend disappears into the distance!
Therefore, when choosing a harness, be sure to check that each size offers a reasonable amount of adjustability so you can achieve the perfect fit.
Outdoor adventures inevitably lead to dirty paws and a mucky harness.
Being able to simply throw it into the washing machine when you get home will make your life much easier in the long run.
How Should a Harness Fit Your Cat?
It is extremely important that your cat harness fits properly. If it doesn’t, you run the risk of losing your kitty or potentially causing them an injury.
Take a girth measurement (around the body at the armpits), and a measurement around the base of the neck before deciding on which size to buy.
Once the harness is on your cat, you should have it tight enough so that you can just about fit two fingers under the body section and one finger under the neck/shoulder strap.
If you cannot achieve this, the harness is too tight and will be uncomfortable for your cat. It may take a little while tweaking the straps before you get it perfect, but your furbaby will thank you in the end.
Different Styles of Cat Harnesses
Not all cat harnesses are the same. They come in many styles, some of which are better than others.
Let’s take a look at the main types of cat harness you are likely to come across:
As the name suggests, this type of harness wraps securely around your cat’s body, usually in two places; the shoulders and the belly.
Vest style harnesses are a very comfortable option which is great if your cat will be wearing it for long periods such as traveling. If fitted properly, they are almost impossible for your cat to escape from.
This type of harness will usually fasten in two places using clips, velcro or a combination of them both. However, occasionally they will only fasten around the belly. This means you may have to slip the shoulder section over your cats head, so you should pay attention to this if your cat is nervous.
Because these harnesses wrap around the body snugly, they can have a calming effect on your cat once fitted. That said, to prevent your kitty from overheating, you should ensure they are made from breathable material if you are taking them somewhere warm.
H-style harnesses consist of two thin loops connected by a strap which runs down the middle of your cats back.
These harnesses usually open up completely, so you can place the harness over your cat and then reach around to connect the straps together at the neck and body.
The straps are almost always made from strong nylon and highly adjustable. They also tend to come in small sizes, which makes them a good choice for smaller cats or older kittens.
Figure 8 harnesses are made up of two loops which are connected together at the back to resemble an ‘8’.
One loop is placed over your cats head, while the other is fastened with a clip around the body. Some figure 8 harnesses are threaded, so they will tighten as your feline pulls, placing more pressure on the chest.
This style of harness is best for more docile cats which are used to wearing them. If your kitty gets frightened, the tightening action may make matters worse and increases the risk that they’ll hurt themselves.
Step in harnesses are a much less common style for cat harnesses.
These must be placed on the floor before your cat can put her feet in the holes, or you’ll need to take their legs and thread them in yourself. Once in, the harness pulls up and fastens around the top of the shoulders.
Unfortunately, unless it is fastened very tightly, there is a good chance your cat will be able to pull against you and reverse out of this kind of harness.
For this reason, step in harnesses are more often used for dogs, which are known for being much less wriggly and generally more tolerant than cats!
Reviews of the Best Cat Harnesses
Making sure you get the best cat harness is crucial to you and your cat’s enjoyment.
In this section we list our 5 favorite cat harnesses, so you can start to enjoy adventures with your kitty as soon as possible!
#1. PupTeck Escape Proof Cat Harness with Leash
- Highly secure, escape proof, vest-style design
- Comfort of soft, breathable mesh
- Easy to fit. No need to pull over your cat’s head
- Combination of strong velcro & plastic buckle attachments
- Wide straps distribute pressure evenly
- Leash included
- Sizing can be somewhat unreliable, but if you follow the guidance, you will be fine.
The PupTek Escape Proof Cat Harness is one of the bestselling cat harnesses on the market, and for good reason.
Featuring a soft mesh design, this robust, vest-style harness wraps around your kitty’s body and neck, providing a secure fit while still being soft and comfortable.
The straps are very wide, so they distribute pressure evenly across the body, eliminating the risk of nasty pinches and sore pressure points. The harness also opens up completely, so you won’t need to wrestle to pull it over your cat’s head when fitting!
The belly section fastens with strong velcro which is very difficult for your cat to kick open. However, even if your kitty is a little Houdini and manages to do so, the neck area combines both velcro and a plastic buckle for optimal security.
The included leash attaches easily to two solid D-rings on the back of the harness, so you’ll always have your furbaby under control.
If you like to take your cat out for walks in warmer weather, this adjustable cat harness is a top choice. The mesh is fully breathable and flexible, so your kitty won’t feel too hot or restricted while out on their adventures.
The PupTek Escape Proof Cat Harness is suitable for all cats and comes in three sizes; small, medium or large. It is worth noting that the sizing can be a little unreliable, though, so you should take care when measuring your cat before ordering.
The manufacturer recommends taking a very snug measurement around your cat’s girth and then adding 2 inches. All sizes are highly adjustable, however, so you should be able to find the perfect fit no matter how big or small your kitty is.
BEST FOR SMALL CATS
#2. PetSafe Come With Me Kitty Harness & Bungee Cat Leash
- Made from soft and durable nylon
- Unique design prevents strain on the throat area
- Two adjustable plastic buckles for a better fit
- Color-coded straps aid fitting
- Great for small cats
- Includes a high-quality bungee leash which prevents sudden jolts
- Fastening clips can be a little awkward to use if your cat likes to wriggle!
- Does need to be placed over cats head.
This PetSafe Come With Me Kitty Harness & Bungee Cat Leash is another great choice for taking your cat on their outdoor adventures. This popular harness is a mixture of both H style and vest style; featuring soft yet durable thin nylon straps around the shoulders, belly and chest area.
This unique design allows you to apply pressure on the leash without pulling on your kitty’s sensitive throat. Each tug of the leash on the D-rings gently tightens the shoulder straps, letting your cat know they are restrained without any discomfort.
Two adjustable, quick-snap plastic buckles, located on the body section of the straps, click together to secure the harness. However, the chest strap and shoulder straps must be placed over your cats head, so if you have a nervous cat, this may take some getting used to.
The plastic buckles can also be a little awkward, which might mean you’ll need a few attempts if your cat likes to wriggle! Aside from this, fitting the harness is fairly easy – thanks to the color coded straps which make it clear which ones fit over the shoulders and which go around the belly.
This harness comes in three sizes, for a highly adjustable cat harness. The straps are very adjustable, so you can be sure to get a good fit for your kitty. Moreover, the smallest size is particularly small – making this the best cat harness for kittens or small cats.
Lastly, a high-quality, bungee-style leash is included with this harness, which allows some extra “give” should your cat get scared or pull suddenly. This stops either you or your cat being jolted, making the whole experience much more comfortable for everyone.
BEST FOR LARGE CATS
#3. Paws & Pals Control Dog & Cat Harness
- Padded neck and breastplate for comfort
- Prevents strain on the neck
- Breathable and lightweight material
- Fully adjustable, weatherproof straps
- Machine washable
- Perfect for larger cats
- Some users complained the size adjustment is difficult to get right
- Leash not included
This Paws & Pals Control Dog & Cat Harness is the best cat harness for large cats.
Designed in a vest style but with a padded neck and breastplate, this harness is made from breathable and lightweight material for ultimate comfort and control. The straps are fully adjustable and weatherproof, so you can be sure your kitty will stay with you – even if you get caught in the rain!
The neck section has to be passed over your cat’s head, then the breastplate passes between the legs and fastens around the belly.
This clever design means that there is never any strain placed upon your cats neck during use. Instead, all the pressure is put upon the chest area should you need to pull your kitty back in an emergency.
This cat walking harness comes in a choice of four sizes, but since it is designed for both cats and dogs, anything larger than a medium will likely be too big.
The material is also machine washable, so can be effortlessly thrown in the laundry should it get dirty as your cat goes exploring.
#4. Kitty Holster Cat Harness
- Large range of colors and designs
- Made from soft and 100% breathable cotton
- Wide straps evenly distribute pressure across body
- Secure velcro fastening
- Harness opens up so no need to place over the head
- Fully machine washable
- Velcro sound may frighten your kitty
- No leash included
Available in a range of cool designs, the Kitty Holster is a super-cute harness that will make your cat the most stylish in town when out and about!
Made from soft, 100% breathable cotton; this full body cat harness offers high-security and a close fit while still being easy to put onto your cat. The wide cotton straps are comfortable for your kitty to wear and distribute leash pressure evenly across their body.
If your cat hates having anything placed over their head, the Kitty Holster is an easy solution. The harness opens up completely, so all you need to do is place it on your cat’s back, wrap the straps around the neck and belly and fasten.
It is also quick and stress-free to fit, thanks to the strong velcro-closures. The only potential issue here is the ripping noise created when removing the harness. If your cat is naturally nervous, they may be frightened by this sound to start with.
The Kitty Holster is fully machine washable – which is useful as the harness covers a large area of your cat’s body and will likely get dirty easily. Four highly-adjustable sizes are available to choose from.
If you find the straps to be a little too long, it is simple to trim the ends off to get a perfect fit.
#5. Comfort Soft Adjustable Mesh Cat Harness
- Secure design
- Lightweight and breathable mesh prevents overheating
- Strong nylon webbing increases durability
- Padded chest strap for ultimate comfort
- Leash pressure is directed to the chest and shoulders
- Neck section must be pulled over your cats head.
- Sold without leash
- Neck strap may be bigger than expected
This Comfort Soft Adjustable Mesh Cat Harness is a great, lightweight option for taking your cat exploring or on a visit to the vet.
Constructed from strong nylon webbing, this harness features a vest-style shape which incorporates a wide padded chest strap for increased kitty comfort. The soft mesh is completely breathable and flexible, so your cat will feel free to move around and won’t get too hot.
Like other harnesses we have seen, the design is very secure, which ensures your cat cannot back out of the harness and escape if they get panicked.
Even though no leash is included, this harness is designed to channel the leash pressure to the chest and shoulders. This means your furbaby won’t feel like they’re being strangled if you need to restrain them suddenly.
With regard to fitting, the Comfort Soft Adjustable Mesh Cat Harness features a single plastic buckle clip around the belly.
This means you will have to pull the neck section over their head, pass the chest strap in between the legs and then fasten around the body. If your cat likes to squirm, you may find this a bit of a battle at first! However, once they’re in, this harness is super-secure.
Reviews of the Best Cat Leash
Unfortunately, not every cat harness will come complete with a leash – so you’ll have to purchase one separately.
While we couldn’t find any leashes specifically designed for cats, we think this OneTigris Training Bungee Dog Leash is a great option:
#1. One Tigris Training Bungee Leash
- Reduces strain from sudden movements
- Second handle enables you to get control easily in an emergency
- Strong and durable design
- Allows your cat more freedom than a standard leash
- Not a wide range of colors, so may not match your harness.
We all know that cats can be skittish and a little unpredictable. If you are out and about with your cat on a harness, there is always the chance something will give them a fright and they’ll try and run away.
This leash features a bungee action which will help to soften any jolts to your cat if they make a sudden dash in fear. If you need to quickly get hold of your kitty and keep them close, you can grab the secondary handle closer to the attachment clip to control them until they have calmed down.
Aside from being a comfortable solution to any sudden movements; this leash is strong and durable so it should last you a very long time. The bungee action also allows your cat a little more freedom than a traditional leash, so they can make the most of their adventures without feeling completely tethered to you.
Note: No matter what, NEVER try to walk a cat with just a collar and a leash.
You risk causing your cat to suffer severe neck and throat injuries if you attempt this, not to mention the very high chance that you will lose them altogether.
How To Leash Train A Cat
Anyone who has ever spent time with cats will know that they are not big fans of change. Cats like to be completely independent, so having a harness strapped around them usually takes some getting used to.
That said, cats are very smart animals and can be trained to walk on a leash as well as any dog – you just need to take it slow and build their confidence!
If you want to start training your cat to walk on a leash, check out our guide to How To Train Your Cat To Walk On A Leash And Harness.
Why Walk A Cat?
There are many reasons to get your kitty up off of her favorite chair and into the big wide world.
First of all, cats are intelligent natural born hunters which are programmed to be out searching for prey and investigating their surroundings.
Even if you play with them every day, keeping your kitty indoors all the time can lead to a lack of stimulation and a less fulfilling existence.
Secondly, just like you and I, cats need exercise in order to stay healthy and avoid diseases. It is much more common for indoor cats to become obese, which can lead to many nasty health problems such as feline diabetes and urinary tract disease, as well as put strain on the joints.
By walking your cat outside in a harness, you enable them to get active and enjoy all the new smells, sounds and sensations of the outside world safely – greatly enhancing their health and overall quality of life.