Buying a cat harness: What should you look out for?
When buying a cat harness, the following points should be considered and checked:
- Type of cat harness: Many cat harnesses are safety harnesses (also called panic harnesses) which have three straps. However, in many cases, strap harnesses with two adjustable straps (at the neck and below the rib cage) or soft harnesses are sufficient.
- Cat harness with leash: Cat harnesses with leash are so-called cat sets, i.e. complete sets in which the individual parts are ideally matched to each other and therefore a high level of functionality is guaranteed. When buying, the length of the leash should be taken into account: We recommend at least one metre in length.
- Choose the right size: It is essential for the wearing comfort and functionality of the cat harness to choose the right size.
- Escape-proof: Since the cat harness should protect the cat from escaping, it is essential that the set is actually escape-proof. It should therefore be carefully checked to ensure that the animal cannot slip out.
- Individually adjustable: Ideally, the harness is infinitely adjustable so that it adapts individually to the cat's body and sits non-slip, securely and comfortably.
- Wearing comfort: In order for the cat to get used to the cat harness, it should have sufficient elasticity and soft padding. This way the straps do not chafe and the cat associates it with a positive experience. Narrow, light straps are another advantage when it comes to wearing comfort.
- Easy to put on: Cats are nimble animals, so an easy to put on model with a quick-release buckle is a key advantage when putting on the cat harness. Having to put it on overhead is not recommended, most cats don't like that. Therefore, there should also be a buckle at the front of the collar.
- Visibility: Some cat harnesses are equipped with reflectors or reflective elements so that they are easy to see even in the dark.
- Weight of the cat harness: The harness should be particularly light, especially for kittens and young animals. The metal eyelets and carabiners often add to the weight.
- Material: The material should be both robust and soft, such as nylon. Ideally, it is also easy to clean and dries quickly without stiffening, so that it is just as comfortable to wear the next time you go out. With metal elements, it is important that they do not rust.
- Quality: If you want to enjoy your cat harness for a long time, you should pay attention to good quality. A good harness or cat set can be recognised, for example, by the purchase criteria mentioned here and by the workmanship of the seams, the stability of the fastener or the ease of use.
How do you find the right size of cat harness?
The most important thing when choosing a cat harness is the right size. But how does it fit properly? For this it is necessary to measure exactly:
At the neck (optimal to check at the front of the larynx), two fingers placed side by side should fit in. The stomach strap should be separated from the collar by the back strap so that it lies below the ribcage of the cat and corresponds to the body type of the animal. The stomach strap should be tight enough that it cannot slip over the rib cage below the ribs, but loose enough that two fingers still fit under the stomach.
As a rule, measurements are given for the harnesses. The following cat harness sizes can be roughly divided:
- Cat harness small:
○ neck circumference: 17–23 cm
○ stomach circumfernece: 22–33 cm
○ suitable for kittens and small cats
- Cat harness in medium size:
○ neck circumference: 18–28 cm
○ stomach circumfernece: 23–38
○ suitable for adult petite cats
- Cat harness large:
○ neck circumference: 20–30 cm
○ stomach circumfernece: 23–50 cm
○ suitable for adult strong cats
By the way: A custom-made cat harness is rarely necessary. Most cats will fit the conventional models.
Which materials are used for the cat harness?
Durable and robust cat harnesses are often made of supple textile fabric woven from soft nylon or polyester. The practical properties of these fabrics are convincing: they are water-repellent, hard-wearing and easy to clean, it dries quickly and retains its supple elasticity. Another advantage of such textile straps is the design: cat harnesses in pink, blue, green, orange or red, with reflective elements or patterns - hardly any other material can be so versatile.
For the eyelets and carabiners, HUNTER uses stainless steel, which does not rust and is pleasantly light thanks to its small dimensions.
Which cat harness is the right one?
Which cat harness is the most suitable depends on the cat and its characteristics on the one hand and on the intended use on the other:
- Cat harness for kittens: Small kittens are agile and above all very slim. The harness must therefore be suitable above all for a small neck and stomach circumference, should be particularly light and have narrow straps.
- Cat harness for large cats: A cat harness for large cat breeds should, on the one hand, correspond to the larger neck and stomach circumference and, on the other hand, may also have somewhat wider straps.
Large, adult animals can also pull harder than their young counterparts, so special attention should be paid to escape prevention. Due to the life experience of older cats, a longer leash can also be useful: As a rule, the animals can safely go exploring at a greater distance from their owners.
- Cat harness for outdoor cats: A cat harness with a leash makes sense, especially for outdoor cats that may have fallen ill, are recovering or need to get used to a new environment. Depending on the animal's familiarisation and individual preferences, both a short and a long leash can be the better choice here.
- Cat harness for longhaired cats: For longhaired cats we recommend harnesses in which the long fur of the animals does not get caught, so that it does not pull unpleasantly.
How do you put on a cat harness?
If you want to put a cat harness on your cat for the first time, you need to be patient: very few cats will accept wearing a cat harness for the first time. However, if the cat has enough time to familiarise itself with the new harness, it will gently let itself be shown what it is all about.
At first, "dry runs" at home are recommended, where the cat comes into contact with the harness slowly and carefully, but regularly. When curiosity has finally gained the upper hand over scepticism, the harness should be carefully put on the animal for the first time. In a quiet minute and with a little skill, the fasteners can be easily placed and closed around the neck and stomach.
How do you get the cat used to the cat harness?
After the cat has put on the harness for the first time, the first exploratory tours around the house or in the garden can soon be undertaken. The cat's feelings and mood should always be in the foreground during these activities: At the slightest sign of fear, it is advisable to break off the exercise and tolerate it, in order to always associate a positive experience with wearing the cat set. It is important to remember that every cat is different. Lively cats may not react enthusiastically to a cat harness at first. But with a little sensitivity and patience, small successes can be achieved step by step.
A cat harness offers these advantages
A cat harness is particularly suitable for the following situations:
- Safety on holiday: If you are planning a long car journey to take your cat on holiday, a cat harness with a leash can be a valuable aid in giving your pet some exercise and a run during the breaks at the rest areas.
- Safety during familiarisation: Regardless of whether a kitten is to be slowly familiarised with being a free roamer or whether it is allowed to get to know its new territory after a change of location - a cat harness offers safety and limited freedom for a certain time during this gradual familiarisation.
- Safety during transport: If you use a cat harness in the car, you ensure that your pet can sit safely on the back seat and that an open door or window does not become a danger.
- Relief of the neck: A cat harness relieves the cat's neck vertebrae in direct comparison with a cat collar, as the tensile force is redistributed to the entire upper body.