Updated October 30, 2023
Most veterinarians agree — keeping your cats indoors is safer for them. Letting your cat roam outside alone is dangerous due to predators, cars, and people. Vets (and cat parents) will also tell you that the call of the wild is strong with your favorite feline. Time outdoors can be good for their energy and even help combat depression.
That’s where the best cat harness for your kitty comes in! Keep reading to get the scoop on our favorite cat harnesses, tested by the betterpet lab.
The RC Pets Adventure Kitty Harness fit our cat snugly and comfortably during testing. We like the padded chest plate and open areas around the joints, which make maneuverability easy and more enjoyable, especially for a cat new to a harness. There aren’t a lot of size or color options — three sizes and three colors — but the hot pink (“raspberry” in RC Pets parlance) is a fun choice. This harness is practical, too, with reflective stripes along the seams if you’re out with your cat after dark. Throw it in the laundry when you’re back: this harness is machine washable.
|✓ Machine washable||✗ Sizing is slightly on the smaller side|
|✓ Reflective stripes along the seams|
|✓ Padded with wide straps|
Once adjusted, the RC Pets cat harness fit our small cat, Athena, quite well. The sizing runs small, but adjustments are straightforward. A cat that’s never worn a harness before, however, might find this harness to be a bit challenging.
This rabbitgoo cat harness is a good choice for any cat that wants to explore outside. It’s also the lowest-priced harness on this list, making it an especially nice option for cat parents who want to try a harness but aren’t 100% sure it will be a hit.
|✓ Padded for comfort||✗ Not waterproof|
|✓ Durable construction||✗ No reflective stripes|
|✓ No pressure or pulling against joints|
|✓ Easy to adjust|
|✓ Bright colors & highly visible|
We like that this harness fits large or small cats, including our small-to-medium-sized cat, Beast. On the downside, we struggled to pull Beast’s feet and legs through the openings. Once we crossed that hurdle, we failed to get a snug fit — she was able to wriggle out of the harness — but we chalk this up to her lack of experience with a harness versus the rabbitgoo itself.
This padded harness is ideal for large cats — or any cat, period. We love how this PUPTECK harness is easy to use and comfortable for felines exploring the great unknown.
|✓ Durable construction||✗ No reflective materials|
|✓ Padded for comfort|
|✓ Ideal for older pets with sensitive joints|
This cat harness fits our big black cat, Midnight, really well. He wasn’t too enthused with wearing it, but it went on smoothly around his thick neck and was easy to adjust during testing. The fit was snug — Midnight couldn’t work his way out of it.
This PetSafe cat harness is perfect for owners who want to get their cats accustomed to a harness from a young age.
|✓ Lightweight||✗ Adjusting straps is awkward|
|✓ Less chance of injury for skittish cats||✗ Lack of padding on straps|
|✓ Features a durable design and material||✗ Weak buckles|
The small Come with Me Kitty Harness is supposed to fit up to an 11-inch girth, but it only fit the most petite cats or kittens in our testing. In other words, sizes seem to run a little small. According to the package, the small should fit cats up to 12 pounds, but unless the cat has a slender, long body, cat owners should go with a medium.
We liked the True Adventurer harness and leash set, but probably not for older cats. Younger, healthier cats should love the comfort and padding, and you’ll love the tie-dye design! (There are other patterns, too.)
|✓ Reflective||✗ Difficult to put on|
|✓ Durable||✗ May not be good for older cats due to construction|
|✓ Good padding for cats|
While the straps were a little difficult to manage during testing, the True Adventurer fit our cat, Watson, well. For cats not accustomed to wearing a harness, first-time fits might be tricky. We eventually got the hang of it, and the harness fit him snugly!
While some cat harnesses require (gentle) pushing and prodding of legs into narrow holes, the Kitty Holster Cat Harness is easy to secure with two Velcro straps. This, plus the 10 patterns to choose from and a ring for a leash make it a great match for relaxed cats that like to get out for a leisurely stroll. Plus, a percentage of the manufacturer’s profits go to an animal rescue, which is always something we love!
|✓ Adjustable Velcro straps||✗ Not reflective|
|✓ Brighter colors, so easier to spot||✗ May not be durable|
|✓ Fits like a thunder jacket|
The vest fit our cats, Batman and Watson, quite well, hugging them like a thunder jacket worn by some anxious dogs. Batman is a thinner, more petite cat while Watson is bigger, but the small/medium size worked for them both. Both cats had full maneuverability without any rubbing against their joints. More excitable cats known to escape a halter or leash might be able to bust out of the Velcro straps, so we’d recommend one of the more escape-proof harnesses on this list for them.
The best cat collars alert you (and birds or other small prey, for outdoor cats) to a cat’s presence and help identify kitties that wander too far from home. They’re not well-designed for walks or other supervised adventures. That’s where a cat harness comes in! Swapping out the daily collar for a harness is easier said than done, so we have tips for getting your cat accustomed to wearing one.
Like anything new, it takes time for your cat to get used to wearing a harness and walking on a leash. Ease them into it with these three steps.
Once your cat is used to wearing the harness, try it outside! Once again, start slow with short periods and in an area you know, like your backyard.
👉Don’t leave your cat unattended while wearing a harness! If it snags on something, there isn’t a breakaway feature, and your cat may become injured.
The betterpet lab developed a set of criteria and then put them to the test in real-world situations. Those factors included:
The writers, editors, and staff of betterpet are pet parents, and we know the value of accurate, trustworthy information. The content we create is reviewed and approved by our vets. We tested these cat harnesses so that when we say a cat harness is best, it comes from firsthand experience.
Vest-style harnesses are a popular choice for many cat parents because of how it distributes weight and pressure. For stronger or bigger cats, this makes vests one of the best cat harnesses.
Unfortunately, no harness is 100% escape-proof. Measure your cat before ordering one, but also consider its personality and strength. Certain harnesses do better with anxious cats or stronger cats, while others are designed for smaller cats.
This dramatic move can happen for a few different reasons. When cat harnesses are too tight, their movements might be too restricted. In some cases, cats simply do not know how to react, and they freeze. This is a normal part of cat body language.