The 8 Best Cat Harnesses of 2021

A must-have accessory for adventurous cats

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Cat Harnesses

The Spruce / Chloe Jeong

Our Top Picks
An expert-recommended harness that’s available in a range of sizes and is easy to put on.
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This vest-style harness is comfortable for cats and four adjustable straps to get the perfect fit.
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This affordable pick is a solid option if you need a harness for occasional use, like vet visits or trips to the airport.
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Each harness is custom made to fit your big kitty's exact dimensions, with Velcro closures.
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If you want to your kitten to start getting used to a harness at a young age, this choice is easy to put on.
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Jacket-style harnesses are the hardest for cats to wriggle out, and this one features a soft lining.
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For adorable patterns and lace trim, check out this cute jacket-style harness.
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If you're looking for a harness that uses Velcro to close but isn't a full jacket, consider this option.
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Using a leash to let your cat explore the outdoors or training them to go on walk can be two safe ways to let your pet enjoy nature without the fear that they'll run away or get lost. However, leashes should never be clipped to a kitty's collar for safety reasons, so you'll need a harness for any activities that involve a leash.

Cat behavior expert Jackson Galaxy says that the most important thing when it comes to cat harnesses is that your cat can’t wriggle out of it. “That just comes down to finding the right fit,” he says. “A lot of the harness companies will ask you to measure your cat around the chest and neck–take that seriously.” 

You’ll also want to consider what style of harness your cat will tolerate best. The most secure styles are vests or jackets, but some cat will only tolerate H-style harnesses (also called a figure-eight style), which consists of more minimal straps and loops. Even if you don't plan to take your cat on regular walks, keeping a harness and leash on hand can be a good idea for any travel where your cat might need to be out of a crate. 

Ahead, the best cat harnesses on the market.

Best Overall: Travel Cat Reflective Cat Harness and Leash

Travel Cat Reflective Harness and Leash
What We Like
  • Very hard for cats to slip out 

  • Doesn’t need to be put over the cat’s head

  • Several ways to adjust the size

What We Don't Like
  • Not all cats tolerate vest-style harnesses

This vest-style cat harness is recommended by Jackson Galaxy (and is one of the products he sells on his site). It comes in four different sizes, and each size can be adjusted to your cat’s body using the straps and an adjustable Velcro closure. The harness slips over the front legs and fastens at their shoulders, so it’s easy to put on and good for cats that don’t like having things put over their heads. It has a reflective strip, to help you see your cat even in low light. It’s made from breathable mesh that’s available in several color choices, and comes with a matching 3.9-foot leash. 

What Experts Say

"There are people who will stand behind a lot of different types of harnesses. The kind that I go for are the ones that are more like vests, that cover the top part of a cat’s chest."–Jackson Galaxy, Cat Expert

Best for Travel: Rabbitgoo Adjustable Cat Harness and Leash Set

Rabbitgoo Adjustable Cat Harness and Leash Set
What We Like
  • Comfortable fabric

  • Many ways to adjust the fit

  • Reflective strips

  • Leash included

What we Don't Like
  • Not all cats allow a harness that slips over their head

Another vest-style harness, we like this pick because it combines a robust construction with features to keep cats comfortable. That includes chest and back pieces that distribute pressure and are made from breathable mesh. The back panel has a durable D-ring where you can clip the included leash. Reflective strips help kitty stay visible in the dark, while reinforced stitching means it should last a long time. The vest is available in two sizes, and a wide range of eight colors.

What Editors Say

"My skittish cat usually hates new experiences, but she doesn't mind this vest, even from the very first time I tried it on her. I don't think she'll ever become an adventure cat, but I like having this set on hand in case I need to take her somewhere where we might not be able to use her crate."–Margaret Badore, Senior Editor

Best Budget: PUPTECK Adjustable Cat Harness Nylon Strap Collar with Leash

What We Like
  • Low price

  • Clips on both the neck and chest strap

  • Leash included

What We Don't Like
  • Only available in one size

  • H-style harnesses can be easier for cats to escape

If you need a harness purely for occasional vet visits or trips to the airport, a low-cost harness may be a better option for you. The H-style PupTeck Adjustable Cat Harness is incredibly affordable, but this design is easier for cats to escape from. It's made from nylon and has two straps with buckles that can be adjusted individually to adapt to your cat's body measurements. You can pick from a variety of bright colors. 

The PupTeck is easy to use, but it only comes in one size, so it may not be suitable for bigger-than-average cats. It could be used as an entry-level harness to test your cat’s interest and help train them to start to explore the outdoors. 

Best for Large Cats: Clothings4Cats Casual Harness for Cats

Custom Harness for Large Cats
What We Like
  • Custom fit

  • Easy to put on

What We Don't Like
  • Doesn't come with leash

Although many harnesses come in large and x-large sizes, some people with larger breed cats still have a hard time finding gear to fit them. Before turning to a harness designed for a dog, Jackson Galaxy recommends looking for a custom-made cat harness.

We like this one from Etsy maker Clothings4Cats. Each harness is custom made to fit your big kitty's exact dimensions, with Velcro closures. They come in several different prints from bold graphic patterns to petite florals, so you may want to browse around the shop to find the pattern you like the most.

Best for Kittens: Rabbitgoo Escape Proof Cat Harness and Leash Set

Rabbitgoo Escape Proof Vest Cat Harness
What We Like
  • Single clasp is easy to use

  • Reflective strips

  • Extra small sizes

What We Don't Like
  • Fewer ways to adjust the size

If you want to your kitten to start getting used to a harness at a young age, this slightly newer version of the Rabbitgoo harness (our pick for Best Travel) is easy to put on, so you can get a wriggly kitten into it quickly. The small size is suitable for cats with a chest girth of 9 to 12 inches. It doesn't have many adjustment points, so you'll likely need to buy another harness when your cat eventually grows out of it, but bigger sizes are available if you want the same design. The step-in style vest is hard for cats to escape from, and breathable mesh fabric is less likely to overheat.

Best Escape-Proof: Kitty Holster Cat Harness

Kitty Holster Cat Harness
What We Like
  • Easy to clean

  • Hard for cats to wriggle out

  • Four sizes available

What We Don't Link
  • Doesn't come with leash

  • Not all cats tolerate this style of harness

The Kitty Holster is popular with both cat experts and owners alike. This is a jacket-style harness, which are the hardest for cats to escape, but not all cats tolerate having so much of their body covered. However, they do a good job of distributing pressure across a cat's body in case they pull on the leash. The harness fastens with Velcro, which you can also use to adjust the size to some degree, and four sizes of this harness are available. It also comes in several different colors and prints, and has a soft lining.

Cutest Style: Yizhi Miaow Cat Harness and Leash

Yizhi Miaow Cat Harness and Leash
What We Like
  • Hard for cats to wriggle out

  • Four sizes available

  • Comes with matching leash

What We Don't Like
  • Not all cats tolerate this style of harness

This cute cat harness combines the safety of a jacket style with cute prints and lace trims. It's available in XXS, XS, S, and M sizes. Several different prints are available, including plaid, polkadot, camo, and a sailor-style vest if you fancy a nautical theme. Each style comes with a matching leash, and the harness has two different D-rings to attache the leash, so you can pick which position works better for you and your cat. It fastens using Velcro.

Best Velcro: Hipet Velcro Cat Harness and Leash

Hipet Cat Harness
What We Like
  • Easy to put on

  • Comes with leash

What We Don't Like
  • Not all cats tolerate this style of harness

If you're looking for a harness that uses Velcro to close for a cat that doesn't tolerate the full jacket-style harness, this option from Hipet will cover a bit less of the cat's body. The two Velcro straps allow you to adjust the fit, but be mindful to check that the fit is not too big each time you use it, otherwise there's a risk your cat will wriggle out. The harness comes in four colorful prints with matching leashes and four sizes. It has two D-rings to attach the leash, and is made from a breathable mesh.

Final Verdict

Our top pick for a cat harness is the Travel Cat Reflective Cat Harness and Leash (view on Amazon). We also like the Kitty Holster Cat Harness (view on Chewy), because cats will have a hard time slipping out of it.

What to Look for in a Cat Harness

Fit

Proper fit is the most important aspect of the harness. A properly fitting harness should not restrict a cat’s movement in any way, including their ability to turn their head. Just like a collar, you should be able to slip two fingers (but not more) between the harness and your cat’s body. 

Many harnesses have straps that can be adjusted to get an even more exact fit. 

Style

There are three main styles of harnesses for sale for cats: figure eight, vests, and jackets. 

Figure eight harnesses are the lightest and the easiest for cats to escape, but cats who really dislike wearing anything on their backs may tolerate them better. Galaxy recommends vests and jackets over the figure eight styles. 

Vests cover more of the cat’s back and shoulders, and tend to be made out of breathable materials. They’re much harder for cats to escape. 

The best jackets-style harnesses cover more of the cat’s back, and are the hardest to escape. However, some cats really don’t tolerate this style well. “I try to stay away from the belly,” says Galaxy, adding that he would avoid putting a cat in a harness that reaches from the neck to the groin. 

“You’ve got to think about what your cat may or may not go for, and you may have to do a little bit of trial and error,” says Galaxy. 

Closures

Different cats will be more comfortable with different closure locations. You’ll want to think about their personality and what they might tolerate best. 

Also, some cats have an aversion to the sound Velcro makes, so if that’s your pet, you’ll want to avoid harnesses that use this for closures. 

FAQs

How do you measure a cat for a harness?

To determine your cat’s harness size, you’ll need use two key measurements: neck circumference and chest girth. Using a flexible measuring tape (the kind a tailor uses), take these two measurements sung to the cat’s body. Measure the cat’s chest girth right behind the front legs. If you have a particularly fluffy cat, you’ll want to gently press their fur. Then check these numbers against the manufacturers’ size guide, and see if they have any sizing additional tips specific to their product. 

How do you get a cat used to a harness?

It takes lots of patience to get a cat used to a harness, so introduce it slowly in a comfortable and calm environment. Galaxy says you want to establish a strong a positive association between the harness and the treat. He recommends picking a particularly special treat to use only when training. 

Start by putting the harness on and adjusting the fit. “It’s OK for them to do the falling over on their side thing, or backing up out of it,” he says. “Try to keep it on them for at least five minutes before you take it off and give them their treat.” Don’t attach the leash at first. “It’s another source of weight, it’s another weird feeling on their back.”

In your next sessions, slowly increase the amount of time your cat has the harness on. “The second step is taking a step,” says Galaxy. “You want them to start feeling it and feeling what it’s like to walk in this thing. That’s when you use your treat again.” Once your cat is comfortable wearing the harness by itself, then introduce the leash inside.

Once your cat is comfortable walking around the house while wearing both the harness and the leash, you’re ready to venture out into the world. 

Galaxy says it’s very important to keep in mind that going outside is not suited for every cat. If you get to the point where your cat is comfortable with the harness and leash, but once outside is frozen or showing signs of distress, don’t force it. For more of Galaxy’s advice on determining if outdoor walks are right for your cat, check out his video on the subject

Can you put a dog harness on a cat?

Yes, some cat owners have success using harnesses marketed for small dogs on their cats. “I have a cat that’s bigger than a dog, and one of the dog vests fits her better,” says Jackson Galaxy. “But you’ve got to be very careful.” 

He explains that dog harnesses may have larger leg openings than those designed for cats: “If they can get a leg out, it’s not even a matter of them escaping, it’s a matter of them hurting themselves if they freak out.” 

Why Trust The Spruce Pets?

To make this list, we interviewed Jackson Galaxy, cat expert and host of Animal Planet's show “My Cat From Hell,” about what features to look for in a cat harness. We then rigorously researched the market to find the best products. 

Senior Editor Margaret Badore is a lifelong cat lover, and keeps a harness on hand for her cat Marbles. 

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