A good cat harness is essential equipment for your little feline adventurer once both of you are ready to go out and face the elements. The perfect fit harness will keep your cat safe and comfortable when going for a walk, stroll, hike, or any other activity in the great outdoors. According to Insider, taking your cat outside not only helps to keep her fit but also prevents boredom and obesity, thus putting that extra energy they have been taking out on your furniture into good use. While at it, you must invest in a harness for your cat. Read on to find more about cat harnesses. By the end of the article, you should be able to answer the question; whether it is worth considering buying a cat harness.
What Is a Cat Harness?
A cat harness is a set of straps and webbings specifically made for feline pets. According to Wikipedia, it is equipment consisting of straps of webbing that loop nearly around—that fasten together using side release buckles—the torso of an animal. Cat harnesses come in a wide range of sizes, designs, and colors. Most of them are size adjustable and have tri-glide slides to loosen or shorten the straps. They are commonly used to restrain and control the physical movement of your cat together with a leash that is attached by a metal clip to the D ring of the harness. Additionally, they come with a loop that pet owners, hold to control their kitty’s movement. A cat harness is designed to surround the thorax of your feline friend. Thus, it allows even distribution of force. This reduces the pressure subjected to the cat’s trachea and eliminates the risk of strangulation.
Why Do You Need a Cat Harness?
Most pet owners mistake attaching the leash to their cat’s collar when going for a walk. This is dangerous as cats have soft throats, and this may cause damage to their throats or, worse, block air passage which can lead to death. Therefore, if you are planning to take your cat out for a walk, a harness is the best option. This is because a harness is buckled securely on the body of your cat, and she cannot easily slip out. Additionally, if you are traveling for long distances, you can use your harness and let your cat out of its carrier from time to time. For this reason, collars have been greatly replaced by cat harnesses over time.
Types of cat harnesses
If you are the type of person that likes variety, worry not as you are not short of options. There are several cat harnesses, all with different designs and colors. If you plan on going for an outdoor recreation activity with your cat, you can choose from the following kind of harnesses.
The H-style harness has three main straps running through the cat’s neck, waist and one connects these two straps under their belly or on their back, forming the letter H. Because of their double loops, it will be difficult for your cat to wiggle and slip out of the harness. Additionally, you will not have difficulty adjusting the buckles as they are easily adjustable.
The figure-eight harness is quite similar to the H-style harness, given that it has two loops. One that runs around the cat’s neck and the other around the waist. However, the loops meet on the top of the cat’s shoulders for the figure-eight harness. Additionally, this harness allows your cat some space for movement; however, the harness is pretty secure and will give the cat a hard time to wriggle out of.
Unlike the other two harnesses, the vest harness covers most of the kitty’s body. According to Waldo’s Friends, it is a close-fitting garment that resembles a vest. Additionally, the harness is supportive and comfortable as it evenly distributes the pressure and weight. The vest harnesses are very secure, which makes them suitable for strong cats. Depending on the brand and design, the harness can be fastened at the back or belly of your cat with snaps, buckles, and Velcro. Either way, the harness does its job, and your kitty will not slip out of it easily. Additionally, they are sometimes referred to as step-in harnesses.
How Do You Choose the Right Harness for Your Cat?
Many harnesses made for small dogs will work for adult cats. However, it is not advisable to use a dog harness for your cat. This is because the anatomy of your cat is very different from that of a dog. Therefore, it is only safe to get your kitty a custom-made harness for cats. For starters, the harness should be comfortable and of the right fit. Cats have a soft throat, and therefore, if the harness is too tight around the neck, it may block the air passage or damage their throats. Additionally, the harness should secure around the cat’s body and give your cat freedom of movement around the head and leg. The adjustable straps should lock securely and not break away like cat collars. When figuring out the right harness size, you should majorly take the chest measurement of your cat as size charts tend to be confusing. This is like a small brand might be a medium for another brand. Therefore, always rate the harness size according to the actual inches indicated on the label.
How Do You Make Your Cat Get Used to Wearing a Harness?
Before fitting the harness onto your cat and going out for that adventure, it is important to ensure that your cat is well warmed up to the idea of wearing a harness. Depending on your cat’s age, it may take some time to get used to wearing the harness. Luckily, below are ways to get your cat used to the idea.
The earlier you introduce a harness to your cat, the earlier it will view it as part of its life. Additionally, young kittens tend to be more adaptable compared to adult cats.
Get your cat more familiar with its harness by placing it in her food bowl, toys, or in her sleeping pillow. Additionally, allow her to bunt and sniff it. This way, the cat will get familiar and mark possession over it.
Try It On
Once your cat has warmed up to its presence, you should try slipping its body into the harness and observe its reaction. If she doesn’t scratch or try to remove it, close the loops and leave it for a minute. From time to time, increase the duration until they are fully used to it. Additionally, you can distract it from the cat. However, remove the harness when they show signs of annoyance or stress.
Once your cat has adapted to wearing the harness, attach the leash and practice walking her indoors. This way she will get used to the weight of the leash and the lead dragging on the floor. By now, your cat is already used to having a harness buckled over its body. However, it is advisable to go to a nice calm and private place for their first outdoor walk. This is to prevent risks of stress for your kitty. Additionally, you should bring with you your cat’s favorite toys, treats, a carrier, or anything that will ensure she is comfortable.
How Do You Put on A Cat Harness?
Once you have bought the harness for your cat, you are left with the great task of putting it on. The steps to putting on a harness vary depending on the type of harness you purchase. Additionally, when putting a harness onto your kitty for the first time, it will be safe to ask for help from a friend or a family member.
- Study the straps and determine whether your harness has a backstrap or a chest strap. This is easy to identify as the back strap is always shorter than the chest strap.
- Find the shorter strap and slip your cat’s head through the smaller loop.
- Unbuckle the longer strap by placing it on the chest towards the back of her front legs and up the other side. Once you are done, fasten the buckle.
- Check the fit of your cat’s harness. The harness should be secure but loose enough for you to insert two fingers. If the fit is not right, adjust the straps through the sliding adjusters until satisfied.
Figure 8 Harness
- Study the two straps by holding the harness by the straight strap between the two loops. Identify the shorter loop, and like with the H-style harness, slip in your cat’s head.
- Slide the harness to ensure that the connecting part of the straps lies on the cat’s back between the shoulder blades.
- Unbuckle the longer strap and place it around your cat’s midsection towards the back of her front legs. Fasten the buckle.
- Check the fit of your cat’s harness and adjust to the correct fit.
- Study the shape and the straps of the harness. Like the H-style harness, the back strap is always shorter than the chest strap.
- Open the Velcro before placing the harness around your cat’s body.
- Slide the shorter strap onto your cat’s back, and fasten it under her neck.
- Place the longer strap over your cat’s chest, and fasten it at the back of her front legs.
- Check the fit of your cat’s harness. Always ensure the fit is correct for your cat. You can do this by lifting your cat while holding the D ring.
The Benefits of a Cat Harness
You are probably wondering why go to the trouble of walking your cat on a leash right? However, walking your cat on a leash can be very rewarding both to you and to your cat. Below are some of the reasons you consider trying it out.
Gets Your Cat Used to Be Outdoors
If you are worried that your cat is not much of an adventurer and get nervous when you walk out with them, taking them out for an outdoor activity in a quiet and private place may help. Letting your cat outside and letting it explore will boost its confidence.
Taking your cat out for walks will give them good exercise. According to Rover, indoor cats tend to be at a higher risk of obesity. Therefore, going for an outdoor walk is a time well spent as it ensures your cat is in good shape while at the same time enjoying.
Provides Mental Stimulation
Outdoor walks are great for the mental and physical health of your cat. It keeps your cat mentally stimulated by preventing boredom. Additionally, this helps break the monotony of its daily routine. During these walks, a harness will come in handy to ensure the safety of your cat.
Keeping Your Cat Still
During your hike, bath time, or a visit to the vet, a harness will help your cat remain still and control its movements. This is essential considering that there are constant sources of interest outdoors.
It Strengthens the Bond Between You and Your Cat
Spending quality time with your cat is the ultimate way to build the bond between you and your feline friend. What beats an adventurous nature walk? This way, you get to spend time together while at the same time boosting the health of your cat, and typically, if you go for a walk with your cat, you can’t leave your harness behind.
Should You Consider Getting Your Cat A Harness?
Now you are well up to date with all that comes with getting your cat a harness. Given all the pros that come with it, you should purchase a harness for your little feline. Get yourself one and have fun with your cat securely and comfortably.