Our Top Pick for 2018: Kitty Holster Cat Harness
Read our full review.
Harness-training your cat is a great idea! The idea of a cat on a leash may sound odd at first, but it makes a lot of sense to fit your kitty with their very own harness. Whether you’d like to keep your cat (and the local wildlife) safe when taking your feline friend outside, or need to secure your cat while traveling, we’ve picked out the very best harnesses for you.
#1. Kitty Holster Cat Harness
It may not look like a traditional harness, but the Kitty Holster Cat Harness is amazingly secure and comfortable for your cat. While it looks more like a vest than a traditional harness, its unique body-hugging design offers maximum security and extra comfort.
Unlike a classic strap harness, the body-hugging design of the Kitty Holster distributes the pressure of the harness throughout a large area on your cat’s body. This full-body design is a fantastic choice for cats who tend to pull on the leash, or older cats who may be sensitive to strap pressure.
The Kitty Holster cat harness is fastened at two places: around the neck in front, and around the chest just behind the forelegs. Getting it on is simple - just drape it over your cat’s back, wrap the straps around their neck and chest, and press the Velcro ends into place. This is a great solution for cats who are difficult to hold, or who may be frightened by straps being pulled over their head.
A D-ring leash attachment is located on the back of the harness, just between the cat’s shoulderblades (leash not included.) The attachment is secure and unlikely to tear even if your cat tends to pull strongly on the leash. Best of all, the vest-like design means that any tension from the leash will be felt across the cat’s body, which is both more comfortable for your cat and more effective for training them.
The broad coverage provided by this harness makes it especially secure. Cats are, of course, known for their agility, and many can squirm their way out of a standard harness in moments. This is almost impossible to do with a properly fitted Kitty Holster harness, as the vest-like style fits snugly all around their back, chest, and legs. This is an especially good style for very active cats, squirmy kittens, or extra-large cats who could otherwise pull their way out of their restraints.
This harness is made from cotton-blend fabric, with a pure cotton lining for extra comfort. The lining is also un-dyed, so even sensitive felines won’t be bothered by chafing or skin allergies. Inside the box, you’ll also receive a training pamphlet, “How to Train Your Cat to Walk on a Leash”, to get you started right away.
Four different harness sizes are available, from XS to XL. The smallest size can accommodate a cat or kitten with a chest as small as 10”, while the largest size will fit a cat or even small dog with a chest as large as 23”. The Velcro closures make it easy to adjust the harness to exactly the right size for your pet's neck and chest, and each size has an adjustment range of about 4” around the middle. If your cat falls in between sizes, it is usually better to order the smaller size, as a loose fit may allow your cat to squirm out of the harness.
Despite its full-coverage style, the Kitty Holster harness won't weigh your cat down - even the large size is a lightweight 8.8 ounces. The Kitty Holster is available in a wide range of colors as well, from a flashy tiger print to classic black, and even a bright safety yellow for extra visibility.
There are just a couple of things to keep in mind with this style of harness. Due to its large-area coverage, it can trap extra body heat, so be sure to provide your cat with plenty of water while traveling and never leave them in a hot place for an extended period.
Second, if your cat has especially long fur, it may get caught in the Velcro - especially if your cat tends to squirm while being held. Some cats are frightened by the ripping sound of Velcro, so be sure to get your cat used to the sound before putting the harness on the first time. If she seems frightened by the sound, try associating it with something positive, like treats or her favorite toy. Once she stops reacting negatively to the sound, you can begin placing the harness on her.
If you’re looking for a harness to use while at the veterinarian’s office, full-body design of the Kitty Holster may get in the way. While it’s perfect for use during travel or while on walks, the harness does cover a large portion of the cat’s chest, and would likely need to be removed during a checkup.
On the plus side, the body-hugging design can be a comfort to stressed cats, who may feel more relaxed with the harness wrapped around their sides – a real plus if you’re looking for a harness to keep your cat secure when traveling or in other situations likely to make them feel anxious.
#2. Best Pet Supplies Voyager All Season Harness
It may say it’s designed for dogs, but cats know better! The Best Pet All Season Pet Harness is easy to adjust and comes in a great range of colors, so your feline friend will always look her best while staying safe.
The Best Pet harness comes in five sizes, from XS to XL. The smallest size will fit a cat with a chest as small as 12”, while the XL size can accommodate up to a 23” chest. The fit can be further adjusted by tightening or loosening the Velcro straps near the leash attachment. Each size is only adjustable by an inch or so, however, so make sure you measure your cat carefully first. Some users report that sizes run a bit large, especially in the smaller end of the size range, so consider ordering a size down if you’re not sure.
This harness features a “step-in” design. Simply slide your cat’s forelegs through the leg holes, adjust the Velcro if needed, and snap the closure shut on top of your cat’s back. Two D-rings on either side of the snap closure provide an extra-strong leash attachment (leash not included), and help to distribute any pressure from the leash evenly around your cat’s body.
This harness is lightweight and breathe-able, with a mesh exterior to keep your cat comfortable. The extra-rugged design is built to last, and is especially perfect for outdoor walking or any other activity that will result in extra wear and tear on the harness.
With its extra-wide straps, the Best Pet harness holds your cat securely without restricting their movement. The high-cut leg holes allows them to run freely, great for adventurous kitties who want to get out and explore. The one downside to this design, however, is that some clever cats have figured out that the larger leg holes allow them to slip backwards out of the harness if the leash is pulled tight. Make sure that the harness fits snugly, and provide some slack on the leash when possible to prevent this.
The single-clip closure is extremely secure, but be aware that it clicks very tightly into place, and many owners have reported that it takes a good deal of force to click it back open. Because of this, the Best Pet harness may be the best choice for those who want to take their feline friend on longer trips or extended walks, while those who need to pop the harness on and off more frequently may be better off with our gold pick.
#3. PetSafe Come With Me Kitty Harness and Bungee Leash
With a unique leash included, the PetSafe Kitty Harness is a fantastic deal. While it’s not available in extra-large sizes, multiple points of adjustment allow you to customize the fit for your feline’s unique shape, making it extra secure and comfortable.
This extra-lightweight harness is made of nylon, and comes in three sizes: Small or kitten size, (9-11” chest), medium (10.5-14”), and large (13-18”). The nylon straps are just 3/8” wide, so the harness covers a very small area of the cat’s body. Cats that are especially upset by restraints may find this low-profile design a bit easier to get used to. It also allows for exceptional freedom of movement, perfect for playful kittens or curious cats who like to jump and climb.
The design of the PetSafe harness features a Y-shaped front that slips over your cat’s head, and two girth straps that run underneath the chest, and up to attach to the back strap with quick-snap buckles behind the forelegs. The leash is attached to a ring along the back, behind the shoulder blades. The chest straps are positioned low, so there is no pressure on your cat’s throat when the leash is pulled taut - only a gentle pull along the shoulders.
The harness is available in six colors. In each color, the chest straps are a slightly different tone than the shoulder straps and leash, allowing you to quickly see which part is which when putting the harness on your cat.
Included with the harness is a special 4-foot bungee leash. The leash stretches up to 6 feet when the leash is pulled taut, allowing your cat to be gently tugged to a stop when she reaches the end of her tether. This prevents uncomfortable pressure from the harness, and helps your cat get used to being restrained.
The PetSafe harness is exceptionally adjustable. Sliders can be used to tighten or loosen each side strap separately, as well as the strap running over the sternum. By pushing a small black rubber stopper, the shoulder straps can also be adjusted as needed. If you'll be harness training a kitten, this is an excellent choice, since all of these adjustment points make it possible for the harness to grow with your kitten and adjust as they mature. It’s also a great choice for cats with more unusual proportions or muscular shoulders, since it can be customized to their exact shape. If you've had trouble fitting a harness to your cat in the past, give the PetSafe harness a try. A guide on adjusting the harness fitting and tips on how to train your cat are also included in the box.
As with all cat harnesses, achieving a secure fit is key to keeping your kitty safe. Some owners have reported that their cats have figured out how to exit this harness by going backwards when the leash is tight, so as always, make sure walks are supervised and double-check the fit.
While its varied sizes and extra adjustability makes it especially great for small cats or kittens learning to use the harness, it won’t stretch quite as large as our gold and silver picks, and may not be big enough for big or extra-muscular cats.
#4. Coastal Pet Mesh Cat Harness
Looking for an affordable option to begin harness training your cat? Our budget pick, the Coastal Pet Mesh Cat Harness, can get your cat out in the fresh air safely for very little money.
This harness features a fixed, slightly cone-shaped neck strap that slips on over your cat’s head. A mesh piece runs under the chest, and is attached to a nylon strap that runs behind the cat’s shoulders and over their back. The strap clips in just one place, making it fast to put on, but be aware that many users report that the clip can require a lot of pressure to release.
The Coastal Pet harness is available in four colors, but just one size. The girth strap can be adjusted from about 14-16”, which will fit most average-sized cats. The neck band cannot be adjusted at all, and if it fits loosely on your cat, they may be able to find a way to pop out of it. Owners report that the neck design is particularly easy to get out of for those cats who have figured out how to escape a harness by going backwards. This is a great introductory harness, but if you have already have an escape artist on your hands, it may be better to choose a different design.
A leash (not included) can be clipped to a D-ring just behind the neck strap. While the harness does run around your cat’s neck, it has a wide band and padded edges to help distribute pressure from the leash, and the broad chest band will take most of the pressure.
At a mere 0.8 ounces, this is an exceptionally lightweight harness. Cats that are bothered by heavier restraints, including those who “freeze” when harnessed, may find this super light design easier to cope with. The neckband and chest feature a breathe-able mesh fabric, so this is an especially great choice for warmer climates and travel.
For your cat’s safety, the best harnesses must fit snugly but comfortably. For an average-sized cat, any one of these harnesses would be a great choice. If you have a larger cat, check out our gold pick, the Kitty Holster, or the silver Best Pet harness, both of which are available in an extra-large size and are adjustable.
If your cat is petite, consider either the Kitty Holster or the PetSafe harness. These fantastic harnesses can fit a cat with a chest as small as 10” or 9”, respectively. These are also the best choices if you’re harness-training a kitten and want a product that can be adjusted to grow along with your friend, since both offer a wide range of size adjustments. The multiple adjustment points of the PetSafe harness may allow a single harness to work for your pet’s entire life, but if you expect your clever kitty to be skilled at escaping from their harness, the extra-secure design of the Kitty Holster might be a better pick.
Some people claim that cats are, in fact, a liquid. It’s easy to believe that when you watch one squeezing into a tight space to satisfy their curiosity, and that amazing flexibility allows many cats to slip out of their harness at the worst possible time. If you’ll be using a harness to keep your cat safe while traveling or on long walks, consider our gold pick, the Kitty Holster. Its vest-style design is exceptionally secure. While it’s not impossible for a clever cat to find a way out, a properly-sized Kitty Holster harness is extremely difficult to slip out of.
Ease of Harnessing
Every cat is an individual, and what works for one may not work for another. Consider your feline friend’s personality when selecting the right style of harness. Does your cat run and hide at the ripping sound of Velcro? If so, consider our Bronze pick from PetSafe or budget pick from Coastal Pet, both of which use quick snap closures.
On the other hand, cats who dislike having their whiskers or ears touched may object to styles like those which slip on over the head. For those felines, consider the slip-over vest design of the Kitty Holster or the step-in style of the Best Pet All Season harness.
Finally, if your cat dislikes behind held, they may have some difficulty with a step-in style harness like our silver pick, or may not be willing to sit still long enough for you to adjust our bronze pick.
Of course, everything about wearing a harness will be foreign to your cat at first. Make sure you introduce them to the harness gradually while in a safe environment, and always use lots of praise and treats. Most cats will learn to accept the new harness quickly– and may even come running when it’s time for a walk!
Do you expect that your cat will pull on the harness often? Is she the type to dash off and pull at the end of the leash? If so, consider our gold pick, the Kitty Holster. Its broad surface area distributes the pressure evenly across your cat’s body, reducing pressure points and keeping them comfortable even as they test their limits.
If your cat is most interested in jumping and climbing, however, they may find the vest style a bit too restrictive. For those adventurous cats who need a strong, sturdy harness that will hold up to exploring rugged areas, take a look at our silver pick from Best Pet.
For cats that want to run and jump, consider a lightweight option, like our bronze pick from PetSafe or the budget-friendly Coastal Pet harness. The slim nylon straps of our bronze pick allow great freedom of movement, and its clever design keeps the harness from pressing on sensitive areas. The Coastal Pet harness is also amazingly lightweight, and its breathable mesh will keep even the most active kitty cool while they run around.
Conclusion (Wrapping it up)
With a properly-fitted harness, you can open up the world for your kitty. She will be safer when traveling, especially if you'll need to take her out during airline security inspections, or for rest stops when traveling by car. You can feel confident that your cat will be safe on walks, and you may even be able to train her to join you on trips to the pet store or when visiting family and friends. With the right harness, you and your cat can enjoy many happy adventures together.