You wouldn’t dream of taking your dog out for a walk without having it safely and securely on a leash. What if you’re a cat lover though and you really fancy the idea of you and your feline friend going out and about together? It’s not as strange as it seems and these days, you’re likely to encounter plenty of people taking their cat out for some exercise. Not as many as pet dogs, but still, if you are able to teach your cat how to walk using a safety leash, it really can open up a whole new world of exciting adventures for you and your faithful sidekick.
Perhaps you want your cat to accompany you on a holiday or trip and are scared that they might escape. Whatever your reason for investing in a cat harness, knowing how to get your cat into one is vital for their safety. It might look complicated and confusing at first, but both you and your feline friend will soon get the hang of it.
Keeping Your Kitty Safe
Using a cat harness will help keep your kitty safe while they explore the world along with you. Who knows what escapades they could get up to while unattended and what areas of your neighborhood could prowl at dusk. However, the best you can do when they are with you is to ensure their safety when out walking. Putting your cat in a harness for the first time can be challenging to say the least. Cats are known for being independent creatures with a mind of their own. So we’re taking a look today at how to put on a cat harness the easy way.
Selecting the Purrfect Harness
Of course, you’re going to need to select the purrfect harness for your kitty first so that they are well equipped for their new world of adventures. The harness you choose needs to be well fitting to ensure your cat is comfortable and not just protected. With a great harness, there’s no reason why your cat can’t accompany you on walking and hiking trips with the rest of the family or on holidays and adventures away from home.
Two styles of cat harness
Harnesses come in a wide range of colors and sizes, but there are basically two different styles you can go for.
- Standard style lead will fit around your cat’s neck and back evenly to distribute weight
- Vest style which is almost like a little piece of clothing for your cat
These are also referred to as the Figure 8 and the H-Harness. There’s no right or wrong choice although many owners report that with a Figure 8 style their cats have a bit more wiggle room. Remember that unlike dogs, cats have much softer throats so fitting a harness safely is absolutely vital to ensure that your cat doesn’t choke. You can’t, for example, just attach a lead directly to your cat’s collar like you would when walking a dog. That’s where a harness comes in.
Decide what size harness your cat is going to need
Harnesses are typically supplied in either small, medium or large sizes. These are based on the measurement of a cat’s chest which might be anywhere from 12 inches to 18 inches. To find out the size of your cat’s chest, take a tape measure and place it behind your cat’s front legs then measure in a full circle around their chest. Make sure it’s snug but not tight so that it’s not going to be too restrictive. Check this measurement and add on an extra 2 or 3 inches to determine the correct size.
How you put on a cat harness will ultimately be decided by the make and brand, size and style of the harness that you’ve purchased. Let’s take a quick run through our tried and tested tips on how to put on a cat harness successfully for the two main styles we’ve identified.
How to Fit a Figure-7 style Cat Harness
Familiarize yourself with exactly how your harness is supposed to sit on your cat. There will be one smaller and one larger loop. The smaller is designed to go around your cat’s head and the larger around their chest. The small one should just slip over their head while the larger will need to be unbuckled and then secured in place around the cat’s midsection.
Make sure that you haven’t twisted the harness loops and that nothing is digging into your cat before you buckle back up. The harness should fit snugly but not too tightly. If you’re able to slide 2 to 3 fingers between the harness and your cat, then you’ve got the fitting just right. If not, use the sliding adjusters to either extend or shorten the loops to fit.
It’s a good idea to let your cat get familiar with wearing a harness indoors before you contemplate heading outdoors. Another helpful tip – if you leave the harness by their food, they’re likely to be more accepting of wearing it, associating it with something good rather than bad.
How to Fit an H-Style Cat Harness
As before, orient yourself with the layout and fit of the harness so that you’re familiar with which element fits where. Figure H-harnesses differ from Figure-8 models by having a strap that runs along the underside of your cat’s chest in addition to the head and chest loops. As previously, you need to slip the small loop over your cat’s head then find the shorter back strap and lay that in place.
Unbuckle the large loop and feed it through the front leg first so that it’s enclosed, then feed the remaining length of strap under the cat’s chest, up and out over the other side before buckling it securely in place. Again, check the fit of the harness to ensure it is snug, comfortable and not overly tight. Adjust it accordingly with the sliders to achieve the perfect fit. Allow your cat to get used to wearing their new harness then get ready for a whole new world of adventures.
No matter which harness style you go for, you should now be ready to attach a lead, and away you go!