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The 6 best cat harnesses for 2023, approved by vets

Updated October 30, 2023

It’s not just dogs that need exercise and adventure. We found the most comfortable and versatile harnesses when venturing outdoors with your cat.  

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.

Best cat harnesses, reviewed

#1 Best overall: RC Pets Adventure Kitty Harness

Why we recommend this harness

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.

pros cons
✓ Machine washable ✗ Sizing is slightly on the smaller side
✓ Reflective stripes along the seams
✓ Padded with wide straps
✓ Durable
RC Pets Adventure Kitty Harness

Features of the RC Pets harness

  • Sizes: Small, 8” – 11” neck and 10” – 14” chest; medium, 10” – 15” neck and 12” – 17” chest; large, 12” – 17” and 13” – 20” chest
  • Colors/patterns: Black, teal, and raspberry pink
  • Material: Mesh
  • Number in a package: 1

How the RC Pets cat harness fits

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.

#2 Best budget-friendly cat harness: rabbitgoo Cat Harness and leash

Why we recommend this harness

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.

pros cons
✓ Padded for comfort ✗ Not waterproof
✓ Durable construction ✗ No reflective stripes
✓ No pressure or pulling against joints
✓ Easy to adjust
✓ Bright colors & highly visible
✓ Affordable

Features of the rabbitgoo cat harness

  • Sizes: Extra small, 8.5” – 11” neck and 13.5” – 16” chest; small, 11” – 13.7” neck and 18” – 20” chest
  • Colors/patterns: 13 colors and patterns
  • Material: Nylon
  • Number in a package: 1

How the rabbitgoo cat harness fits

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.

#3 Best for big cats: PUPTECK Soft Mesh Cat Harness

Why we recommend this harness

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.

pros cons
✓ Durable construction ✗ No reflective materials
✓ Padded for comfort
✓ Ideal for older pets with sensitive joints
✓ Affordable

Features of the PUPTECK cat harness

  • Sizes: Small, 6.7” – 9.5” neck and 10.2” – 14.2” chest; large, 9.5” – 13” neck and 14.2” – 16.5” chest; extra-large, 12” – 14” neck and 16.5” – 18.5” chest.
  • Colors/patterns: Several, including solid colors and patterns
  • Material: Polyester
  • Number in a package: 1

How the PUPTECK cat harness fits

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.

PUPTECK Soft Mesh Cat Harness

#4 Best for kittens and small cats: PetSafe Come with Me Kitty Harness and Leash

Why we recommend this harness

This PetSafe cat harness is perfect for owners who want to get their cats accustomed to a harness from a young age.

pros cons
✓ 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

Features of the PetSafe cat harness

  • Sizes: small, 9” – 11”; medium, 10.5” – 14”; large, 13” – 18”
  • Colors/patterns: Black/silver (other colors available)
  • Materials: Nylon
  • Number in a package: 1

How the PetSafe cat harness fits

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.

PetSafe Come with Me Kitty Harness and Leash

#5 Best reflective harness: Travel Cat: True Adventurer - Reflective Harness and Leash Set

Why we recommend this harness

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.)

pros cons
✓ Reflective ✗ Difficult to put on
✓ Durable ✗ May not be good for older cats due to construction
✓ Good padding for cats

Features of the Travel Cat: True Adventurer

  • Sizes: Extra-small, 10” – 14”; small, 14” – 16”; medium, 16” – 18”; large, 18” – 20.” The extra-small harness is only meant for small kittens.
  • Colors/patterns: Two patterns and four solid colors
  • Material: Nylon
  • Number in a package: 1

How the Travel Cat: True Adventurer fits

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!

Travel Cat: True Adventurer - Reflective Harness and Leash Set

#6 Best harness for fashionable cats: Kitty Holster Cat Harness

Why we recommend this harness

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!

pros cons
✓ Adjustable Velcro straps ✗ Not reflective
✓ Brighter colors, so easier to spot ✗ May not be durable
✓ Fits like a thunder jacket

Features of the Kitty holster cat harness

  • Sizes: Extra-small fits 5” – 9″ neck and 10” – 14″ chest; small/medium fits 9” – 12″ neck and 13” – 17″ chest; medium/large fits 10″ – 13″ neck and 16″ – 20″ chest; extra-large fits 11” – 15″ neck and 19” – 23″ chest
  • Colors/patterns: 10 different patterns and colors
  • Material: 100% cotton
  • Number in a package: 1

How the Kitty Holster Cat Harness fits

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.

Kitty Holster Cat Harness

Why harnesses are better than collars

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.

Prep your cat for a harness in 3 steps

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.

  1. Familiarize your cat with the harness — To do this, leave it lying on the couch while you and your cat relax, or place it in areas where they can smell it, touch it, and essentially accept it as part of their environment.
  2. Make it safe — No, don’t modify the harness. Lay it over your cat without buckling it.
  3. Use it around the house — Once your cat realizes the harness is safe, it’s time to try it on. Keep it on for a few minutes at first, building up to more time. Always use positive reinforcement to make it a good experience.

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.

How we chose the best cat harnesses

The betterpet lab developed a set of criteria and then put them to the test in real-world situations. Those factors included:

  • Fit. We matched manufacturer sizing charts to cats and then judged whether the sizing ran too small, too large, or fit as advertised.
  • Features. We also looked at each harness’ particular features. Was it reflective?  Did it have padding for sensitive cat joints? Our testers evaluated how well the cat harnesses performed with those features in mind.
  • Durability. We know pet parents expect gear that lasts. We determine how durable a cat harness is so you can make an informed decision.
  • Maintenance. Our testers also considered how easy it was to clean each cat harness. A simple matter of throwing it in the wash, or permanently discolored after playtime? While our testers may not be able to say if a harness will fade years later, we can let you know if this is a harness that your cat can only wear for indoor strolls.

Why trust betterpet?

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.

Frequently asked questions

What type of harness is best for cats?

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.

Are any cat harnesses actually escape-proof?

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.

Why do cats fall over when wearing a harness?

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.