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For a great many Americans, their cat, or cats are just as much a part of their family as anyone else. As people find out more about how cats naturally are, there aloof, sometimes care-free attitude becomes simply an interesting part of who they are, and we come to realize that they love spending time with us; just on their own terms. If you have ever wanted to take your cat outside for a walk, but are worried about safety, then a cat harness is something you should seriously consider.
Although cats like to stay in familiar surroundings, which often means in the house, many are aching to get out there and explore the wider world. Many cats, however, might find themselves overwhelmed if let outside alone, and can end up running away, and not being able to find their way back. A good cat harness helps solve this problem.
- 1 Key Facts
- 2 Ranking: The best cat harnesses on the U.S. market
- 3 Shopping Guide: What you should know about cat harnesses
- 3.1 Can you train a cat to walk with a harness?
- 3.2 Why does my cat need a harness?
- 3.3 What do I do if my cat doesn’t want to wear its harness?
- 3.4 Do I need to take my cat out the first time they use the harness?
- 3.5 How do I know that my cat is ready to go out in their harness?
- 3.6 Any more advice to help my cat get accustomed to the harness?
- 3.7 Why do they recommend taking overweight cats out in a harness?
- 3.8 What advantages are there in taking my cat out in a harness?
- 3.9 What vaccinations should my cat have in order to put on a harness and go outside?
- 3.10 Why might my cat need a reflective harness?
- 3.11 What is the difference between a petral and a cat harness?
- 4 Shopping Criteria
- 5 Summary
- Most cats need time to get comfortable with their new harness before they will enjoy going for a walk in one. This is normal, and there are ways for you to help ease them into their new accessory.
- For cats which tend to run away from home but live in the city, it’s highly advisable to buy a harness to let them go out in safety with their owner.
- There are an array of harnesses on the U.S. market to choose from, and you can find compromises between what you want, and what will make your pet most comfortable.
Ranking: The best cat harnesses on the U.S. market
Throughout the following paragraphs, you will find a list of the 5 best cat harnesses currently for sale on the U.S. market. Each one is accompanied by a summary of its most salient features to give you a better idea of what each offers. This way, you know what you are getting yourself into, and can make the best purchase possible (for you and for kitty):
No. 1: Mihachi – Adjustable Cat Harness With Removable Bowtie
Mihachi’s Adjustable Cat Harness comes with a cute bow tie accessory that will make everyone want to stop and take a phone of you and your kitty. The neck and chest straps are easily adjusted to fit almost any sized cat. The petral design provides your cat with maximum range of movement so he or she doesn’t feel restricted, and the quality stainless steel D ring lets you take your cat into the great outdoors feeling confident you are in control of the experience.
Available in three great color patterns, this is a great product for cat owners that want their kitty looking its cutest when they take in on an outdoor adventure. The quick release straps allow you to quickly get this harness off, minimizing the amount of stress your cat is under. This harness is made out of durable nylon webbing that you can be sure will stand up to even the friskiest, more active of cats.
No. 2: Gauterf – Dog and Cat Universal Harness With Leash Set
The Gauterf Dog and Cat Universal Harness With Leash Set is perfect for cat owners thinking about introducing their furry friend to the world outside. Available in six great sizes, there is something for every sized pet out there. It comes in a range of colors so you and your dog or cat always look stylish while out walking together. This harness has it all. The high quality and extra soft mesh is breathable, and still able to keep your pet warmer when the temperature drops. What’s more, walk with confidence at night with this harness’ built-in reflective strip.
Two adjustable buckles let you ensure the optimum fit for your dog or cat, making sure they don’t feel restricted, but you are confident they are not going to escape. The least is durable, non-flexible nylon that no house cat will be able to break, and the dual D ring attachment system keeps your leash securely fastened to the harness at all times. Additionally, and an important feature of any cat harness, this accessory is dead easy to clean, so your cat always goes out looking its best.
No. 3: Eagloo – Escape Proof Cat Harness
Eagloo’s Escape Proof Cat Harness comes in five great colors, a five different sizes, so you can find one that fits your cat well. This harness blends comfort with security, as it is incredibly lightweight and double stitched. The breathable air mesh fabric ensures that your cat never overheats while you are out on those hotter days, and the soft edges and extra padding make sure your cat is protected from any bumps of falls it may sustain while out exploring.
A nice combination between bulkier vest, and more minimalist petral, this harness gives your cat ample mobility while giving you the peace of mind it is not going to slip out. The harness comes with a reflective strip on it, so kitty is always visible at night. It comes with a 100 per cent satisfaction guarantee. If you are not happy with this product, simply write the company and they will either replace the harness with a brand new one, or return your money to you.
No. 4: Best Pet Supplies – Voyager Step-in Air Dog Harness
Best Pet Supplies makes a range of well-liked dog and cat accessories that make pet ownership fun and simple and their Voyager Harness is another great addition. This product comes in 5 different sizes, so you can get the right one for your pet, and the array of color options lets you select something that will look great on your dog or cat. The step-in design of this harness is a terrific feature because it allows your pet to get into it much more comfortably.
Over-the-head harnesses usually mean a bit more stress for your pet, so this one might actually be easier for a cat to acclimate itself to.The Velcro closure, combined with the metal D rings give you two times the security, letting you walk kitty with ease confident he or she is not going to get spooked and make a mad dash. This product is built to stand the test of time, so, depending on when you buy it (i.e. your cat’s age), you will likely only ever need one throughout your pet’s life.
No. 5: DogJog – Mesh Harness With Padded Vest
DogJog’s Mesh Harness With Padded Vest is a great, inexpensive harness that comes in four different colors and three different sizes. The company advises buyers to take special note that the “neck size” is the actual size of the opening through which your pet’s head must be able to comfortably pass. The quality, breathable mesh is made to ensure your pet is always cool and comfortable, while you are happy knowing they are not going to tear through it and escape.
This harness’ clip is strong and snaps into place with an audible click so you know it is safe to take kitty outside for a walk. In addition to a leash, this product also comes with a seat belt attachment, in recognition that you are often placing your cat on a leash while taking him or her to the vet, or on a car ride. This product is really great value for what you pay, especially considering the two nice add ons you get.
Shopping Guide: What you should know about cat harnesses
Before deciding on a harness for your cat, always keep in mind your pet’s unique personality before making a purchase. You should also be able to assess the main features of each product you are evaluating. In the below sections we will delve into some of the challenges involved when taking a cat for a walk with a harness, and some advice on how to make it easier.
Can you train a cat to walk with a harness?
The most likely thing that will happen when you first put your cat in its new harness is that it will do everything it can to try and get out of it. Cats really don’t enjoy being confined, but if it likes getting outside more than it dislikes the feeling of being in a harness, it will learn to accept the trade-off.
Even if the cat seems to despise the harness with all its being, it can still be trained to use it. Keep in mind that it is much easier to train a kitten to like and use a harness than an older cat. Even older cats, however, can still learn to go out with the harness.
Why does my cat need a harness?
If you live in a city or urban area, if you want your pet to get out and explore the outdoors, or if you have to get them safely to the car, or on public transportation to go to the vet, you are going to need a harness. Many cat behavioralists and vets recommend that you take escape artist cats outside in order to satisfy their need to get out and explore.
For many cats who spend the day at home, outings can offer great enjoyment. If you keep your cat inside all day, without any opportunities to get outside and explore, they may become agitated, or develop weight issues.
There are also mandatory outings that you will have to go on when you own a cat that you should factor into your decision to get a cat harness. Going to the vet, traveling anywhere, and moving are all times that will require you temporarily restrain your cat. If you don’t, you may end up having to go chasing after kitty and worse, he or she may get hurt.
What do I do if my cat doesn’t want to wear its harness?
It is normal for this to happen. Cats are animals that get used to a routine and want to stick with it. If your cat is initially resistant to its new harness, try leaving it somewhere around the house the cat likes (near food, or in a favorite resting spot) so they have a change to get to know it better.
You can also ease your cat into the harness better by incorporating some cuddles, or treats the first few times you put it on. This way your cat learns to associate its harness with something positive. Do this over several days until your cat seems more calm.
Do I need to take my cat out the first time they use the harness?
Unless you have a very adaptable cat, which is not common, introduce the process gradually, even if you have managed to get your pet into the harness without them getting nervous. The first time you put the cat in its new harness, don’t tighten it all the way. Keep it loose so your kitty gets used to it slower and more comfortably.
Leave the harness on for a few minutes until your cat either tires itself out, or stops being receptive to the treats and rewards you are plying it with. Do this type of training every day for a while when introducing the harness. As the cat gets more comfortable putting on and wearing the harness, you can leave it on for longer periods of time.
Once you see that your cat is comfortable at home with the harness, you can tighten it and attach the leash, but wait a few days before taking them outside in it. While that is happening, keep on plying him with treats, and doing things to calm him or her down. Do wait until your cat is completely fed up and stressed out to try again. Always be aware of how it’s reacting.
How do I know that my cat is ready to go out in their harness?
You know your cat better than anyone else and you will know whether they feel comfortable.As soon as that happens, you can probably take him or her outside in their new accessory. Now that this is over, you can begin the second stage: acclimating them to brand new, and potentially overwhelming stimuli.
Your best bet is to begin introducing them to the outside world by taking them to quiet places. Take them somewhere where you can sit with them while they explore, holding the strap firmly. You can make them feel comfortable by speaking to them in a soothing tone of voice and giving them cuddles.
Any more advice to help my cat get accustomed to the harness?
Remember that cats love their habits. Eventually your cat will come to expect outdoor exploration time, and will bother you if you don’t keep to the schedule you’ve set. To avoid your cat getting demanding, only take them outside when you want to go.
Even when your cat has gotten used to going out on the street, never take them out without their harness. They might get scared and run, or bolt if they see a small animal they want to chase. Make sure your cat is secured in its hardness before opening that door. Also, it should go without saying, don’t leave a cat outside a store or building as you would a dog.
Why do they recommend taking overweight cats out in a harness?
Many vets contend that one of the best ways to combat the ever increasing rate of feline obesity in the United States is to buy a harness and make sure your cat is getting outdoor activity time. City cats tend to lead unhealthily sedentary lives, which can result in a host of diseases, many of them deadly.
Obese cats are also more susceptible to arthritis because of the constant stress on their joints. Taking a cat out for a walk helps to get them as close to their ideal weight as possible, and, depending on the cat, can also be good for their mental health.
What advantages are there in taking my cat out in a harness?
Physical health problems are no the only ones faced by animals that spend all of their times lying around in doors. Mental health issues, including aggressive and problem behaviors can develop if a cat doesn’t get adequate exercise.
Cats without adequate stimulation and exercise can get aggressive and destructive. Getting a cat harness and taking your pet outside to roam and release pent up energy is a good way to mitigate against this.
What vaccinations should my cat have in order to put on a harness and go outside?
By sticking to a strict vaccination plan you can help your cat avoid potentially life-threatening diseases. Even if your cat never leaves the house, inoculations are still vital. But for anyone thinking about taking their cat outside, they should be considered non-negotiable. If you are getting a kitten, you should begin the vaccine process at two months old.
Veterinarians recommend the trivalent vaccine for all cats and the leukemia vaccine for animals that may have contact with stray cats. Therefore, if you are taking your cat outside with a harness, you should definitely have both. The former is completed across three sets of shots and the leukemia vaccine is done in two sets.
Why might my cat need a reflective harness?
There are also reflective harnesses available on the market these days. These are must-haves if you are taking kitty for a walk at night. Both dogs and cats need these if they are to be visible to other animals, other walkers, and vehicles on the road at night.
With a reflective harness, you can avoid collisions with other walkers, not to mention vehicles. Importantly, if your cat manages to escape the harness, or your grasp somehow, you can more easily locate them. These harnesses come in a wide range of colors, so choose the one you like.
What is the difference between a petral and a cat harness?
Originally, the word petral referred to a belt or strap that surrounds the body of a horse in order to secure a saddle. With the popularity of this style of harness for dogs and cats, this body strap for smaller animals is also commonly referred to as a petral.
The petral is a simpler, more minimalist design, that features less fabric and, therefore, a greater range of movement for a cat or dog. This is especially important for cats, which hate being restricted. Harnesses, on the other hand, tend to provide more protection from the elements. If you live in a part of the U.S. that gets especially cold autumns and winters, you might want to think about both (one for each season).
When buying a harness for your cat, it is very important that you make an informed decision, taking into account some important factors, both relating to your pet and to the product. Below we will summarize the primary features to consider when deciding on a harness that will suit your needs and be comfortable for your cat. They are:
- Form of harness
- Hooks and straps
Different forms of cat harnesses
There are different shapes of cat harnesses which cover a greater or lesser part of the body of the cat, some of which are easier to remove than others and which can be made more or less comfortable for each animal. The below charge lays out the primary kinds of harness, categorized by their style, and accompanying pros and cons:
|Belt or petral style|| In the lower part, the belt forms two circles. One goes around height the chest and the other around the stomach of the animal.
It has a coupling joint
| They are usually the cheapest.
Fresh in summer .
| Your cat may find it easier to get out of this harness compared to other models.
You have less power over their movements.
|Vest style||Like a jacket that covers the body of the animal, although, obviously, without sleeves .|| It is very difficult to get rid of this harness and get away.
In winter it shelters the animal from the cold.
There is a great variety of designs and styles to choose from .
| In summer, if it does not have a breathable material, it can be very hot.
The cat may feel stranger when covering the whole body. [/ Tr]
|A combination of the two above styles. It covers more body than the belt and presents more elaborate designs, but without covering the entire back and chest of the animal as the vest does|| It is not easy to get out of this wide petral.
Partially shelters your pet from the cold in winter and less hot in summer.
It can be less intrusive to your cat than a vest, and more comfortable than the thin petral.
Enough to have control over your cat’s movements, like the direction it’s going to take .
| It does not get to have the same level of security as the vest to prevent escape.
In summer your cat may find it too hot.
When selecting a closure for your kitty’s harness, always have two important things in mind: how secure is the closure, and how difficult is it to open. Keep in mind the longer it takes to open, the more stress you place on your cat. The 3 main closure types are:
- Buckle: Not as easy to open when the harness is tight. It comes in a number of different sizes, and additional ones can be added by increasing the number of holes. Buckle closures take a while to fasten because there is only one exact spot in which to do so.
- Velcro: Velcro closures are quick and easy to close. Velcro is usually a complement to another closure since it can be pulled open easily under tension or when the material begins to wear.
- Plastic: This is the fastest type to close. Keep in mind that these can sometimes catch on your cat’s skin if they move suddenly, which can cause pain. They are more difficult to open, although if you press in the right spot it should open easily.
The material is one of the most important considerations because it is going to be right up against your pet’s skin while the two of you are walking. This is an especially important consideration in different weather conditions. The fabric should be tear-resistant, but soft on the skin.
Many harnesses are made of mesh fabric so that they breath well in hotter climates, while others focus more on water proof materials for wetter environments. Vest style harnesses tend to be made for colder climates, while petral harnesses are better for hotter parts of the country.
Before buying a harness, it’s important to consider the size of your cat. There are adjustable ones, but they should never be too big or too small in their basic size. If it is too large for your cat, it will be able to slip out of it and run away. If it’s too small/tight, it can be uncomfortable for your pet.
Most cat harnesses are available in various sizes and the seller will normally indicate the appropriate measurements of the neck, chest and waist. It is wise to know this information before making your purchase.
Hooks and straps
Obviously, in order for the harness to perform its function, you need to attach a leash of some kind to walk your pet. The most common leash is the resistant nylon material that is non-adjustable. These leashes tend to be not much more than 4 feet.
Unlike dogs, who usually have extendable leads, for cats there are so-called ‘Bungee’ leads, which can also stretch, but only enough to give your cat a bit of roaming leeway. Your cat gets some freedom, but you still maintain total control over the outing.
City slicker cats often spend their entire lives in small apartments, which is less than idea. Cats, like humans, and other intelligent animals, get more, get ill, and generally lack quality of life if they don’t get out and explore once in a while. Letting them outside in urban environments is dangerous and simply out of the question.
This is why a cat harness is a must have. You get to take your cat outside for some exploration and exercise, satisfying its needs in a controlled setting. As has been made clear throughout this article, the range of different harness options is quite large, and there are a number of things you can do to make your cat’s experience with this cat accessory less stressful.
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(Source of featured image: Pac Jan: 29892769/ 123rf.com)