Last updated: June 20, 2020

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For many Canadians, cats are a part of the family. While some people are turned off by how independent and aloof cats are towards them, this is just one facet of cat behaviour, and these animals, when they trust their owners, love spending time around and being affectionate with humans. Cat’s really shouldn’t be allowed outdoors because of their predatory nature, as well as the potential of getting seriously injured or killed, so a cat harness is a great way to allow your pet to explore the outdoors under your supervision.

While many cats instinctively stay around your home because that is where food, comfort and safety ultimately is, cats that are let outside often end up wondering too far and losing their way. Taking your cat outside to explore with a harness on ensures that that doesn’t happen.

Key Facts

  • Most cats need to spend some time getting used to a new harness before becoming completely comfortable enough with it to go for a walk. This is normal, and there are ways you can do this so that your cat takes to it quickly.
  • For cats which tend to run away from home but live in the city, it’s highly advisable to buy a harness to let them go out in safety with their owner.
  • There are a wide range of harness available on the Canadian market, and you should always have your cat’s comfort at the forefront of any decision you make.

The best cat harnesses on the Canadian market

In this section, you will find a list of the 5 best cat harnesses on the Canadian market. We have provided a summary of each product to give you a good idea of what and why you should buy. This way you know what to look for, and know which product makes the most sense for your and your cat’s needs.

Eagloo – Escape-Proof Adjustable Cat Harness

Eagloo’s Escape-Proof Adjustable Cat Harness comes in black, green, red, and pink, and small, extra small, and small+ sizes, giving you the perfect size and colour for any kitty. It is made with cat’s sensibilities and comfort in mind, with soft, breathable, lightweight mesh-fabric. Any cat owner knows that cats hate being restrained, and this vest is small and light enough that your cat will not feel as though its movement is being restricted.

Best of all, it is secure and easy to put on and take off. One of the most important features of a cat harness is how fast you can put it on and take it off without stressing out your pet. Four easy-to-connect straps, and two great quick release buttons make getting your cat in and out of this harness a snap. The durable black mental ring allows you to control your cat while you are out walking, without putting unnecessary strain on the animal in the process. A great, lightweight, affordable harness.

Best Pet Supplies – Voyager All-Weather Harness

Best Pet Supplies’ Voyager All-Weather Harness comes in 5 sizes (x-small to x-large) and in a wide range of colours to comfortably fit virtually any cat or dog. This is an all-weather vest that stands up to the elements and is a great pet accessory to keep by the door all year round. Made from breathable mesh fabric, it is designed with your pets comfort in mind. One of the nice features about this product is that it is step-in, as opposed to over-the-head, which tends to be less stressful to put on and take off of your pet – especially cats.

The Velcro closure is secure, while still be easy to open and close, and the strong metal D-rings make sure your leash is well fastened to the harness. Walk your cat with confidence, knowing that they are safe and not at risk of slipping out of the harness and running away scared. This harness takes less time than a traditional harness to put on, and is ideal for cats of all sizes. The only caveat is that this harness is designed to be used with both cats and dogs, and the extra small may be slightly too large for tiny teacup and toy-sized dogs.

Kitty Holster – Cat Harness

If Kitty Holster’s Cat Harness seems familiar, it is because it is one that you have likely heard people talking about, or seen featured on television and in stores. This award winning vest was tailor-made for cats and comes in XS, S/M, M/L, and XL sizes, as well as 6 different colour combinations. The soft, smooth 100 per cent undyed cotton lining ensures that even the most sensitive kitties won’t react to this harness’ fabric. As an added bonus, 10 percent of the profits from your purchase will go towards Crazy K Farm Poultry and Livestock Animal Rescue and Sanctuary .

This well-made harness is designed for cat owners who would like to get out there and provide their cat with some exercise and exploration opportunities in a controlled environment. This vest is secured with two robust Velcro straps and a strong D-ring at the top of the harness that attaches to your leash. Your cat will feel comfortable in this harness, and you will be able to walk your pet with absolute confidence.

Downtown Pet Supply – Best Cat Vest Harness and Leash Combo

Downtown Pet Supply’s Best Cat Vest Harness and Leash Combo comes in small, medium, and large sizes, as well as blue and grey colour options. This harness is guaranteed to fit, or the company will exchange it for you free of charge. This is a great product because it comes with an added four foot leash that is tailored to fit this exact harness. The harness is designed with extra padding to ensure that you are not putting unnecessary strain and pressure on your cat during walks, which he or she will certainly appreciate.

The shape of this harness is perfect to keep your cat safe, while taking into consideration the well-known fact that cats hate feeling restrained. This harness provides great front and rear leg mobility to your cat, so he or she never feels that their movement is restricted. Make sure you know your cat’s size before purchasing this product so that you correctly choose between the three available size options. For the price, this product is hard to beat.

Pet Safe – Come With Me Kitty Harness

Pet Safe’s Come With Me Kitty Harness and Bungee Leash is made for cat owners who want to make sure their pet is getting all the stimulation they need to be healthy and happy. With this package you give your pet the opportunity to explore the outdoors safely, while you make sure they are not in harm’s way. The bungee leash gives your cat ample room to explore on his or her own terms, and the robust nylon harness eliminates the possibly of escape.

Available in small, medium, and large sizes, and in 8 different colour combinations, this is a fantastic product for responsible cat owners who want to keep their pet indoors, but also understand a cat’s need to get out and explore. What makes this product a stand-out option is the adjustable sternum slide and minimal fabric, which takes into consideration a cat’s need to not feel as though they are being detained. There is on pressure placed around the throat or legs, so your cat feels at liberty to explore and enjoy itself.

Shopping Guide: What you should know about cat harnesses

Before purchasing a harness for your kitty, always keep in mind the unique personality of your cat, on top of the main features of each product. Next, we will delve into the main challenges when trying to walk your cat with a cat harness, and provide some tips for making the task easier on both you and your cat.

Caucasian girl walking in the Park the cats on the harness in a Sunny day

Just like we place importance on the fabric our clothes are made of, these days we should do the same for pets’ harness. (Source: Elena Shishkina: 119974557/ 123rf.com)

Can you train a cat to walk with a harness?

It is likely that the first time you attempt to place your cat in its new harness, it will try desperately to get out of it. However, if your cat likes being outdoors, it will ultimately decide that the initial discomfort is worth the reward and simply get used to it. This gives you a chance to get your cat out and about safely.

Even if a cat absolutely despises its harness at first, you can, over time, train him or her to get used to it. Kittens tend to take faster to a new harness, while older cats will be more reluctant. With some perseverance, however, they should learn to like it.

Remember to go slowly with the process and reward your pet with every step they take.

Why does my cat need a harness?

If you live in a big Canadian city, or even in the suburbs, and you want to responsibly get your kitty some outdoor time, or if you need to take your cat to the vet, you are going to need a harness. Many experts suggest taking especially adventurous cats out for a walk to satisfy their sense of curiosity and prevent them from running away.

For cats who spend the majority of their time inside, taking them outdoors can provide a lot of simulation. If your cat is coupled up all day long, especially in a small apartment, they can become restless and agitated. Taking them for walks is also a great way to help combat obesity in cats.

Bengal cat on a harness and leash lying in the grass

A harness covers the main part of the animal’s body, so that it gives the most control while walking them, and letting you dictate where they walk. 
(Source: Ilona Koeleman: 65290566/ 123rf.com)

Another great reason to get a cat harness is that there are going to be certain times when taking your cat outside is unavoidable. These include trips to the vet, while moving homes, or when going on a trip. It is wise to have a harness for safety reasons in each of these cases. If you don’t use a harness, you might end up losing track of your cat, putting it in harm’s way.

Even if you live outside the city, far from traffic and busy streets, there are other good reasons to keep your cat indoors and only take him or her outside in a harness. Outdoor cats in Canada can fall prey to predators like Coyotes, and do damage to local ecosytems by preying on native animals.

What do I do if my cat doesn’t want to wear its harness?

It is entirely likely that your cat will, at least initially, reject its new harness. Cats don’t like being restricted, and they don’t like changes to their routine. If your cat refuses to cooperate with its new harness, don’t force it, simply leave the harness in an area the cat likes (such as their bed, or food dish) and let them become used to it over time.

You can make the process even more comfortable for the cat by providing it with a treat, or with petting and cuddling the first few times you use the harness. This helps to build a positive association with the harness. Do this several times until your cat gets the idea that the harness is not a threat or unpleasant.

Do I need to take my cat out the first time they use the harness?

Unless you have a very adaptable cat, which is not common, introduce the process gradually, even if you have managed to get your pet into the harness without them getting nervous. When putting it on for the first time, leave the harness loose, without adjusting and without attaching the leash, so that your cat can get used to it.

Leave the harness on for a couple of minutes, until your cat gets tired and loses interest in the rewards. Repeat the training every day for a short period of time. If you see that your cat starts to calm down when wearing the harness, you can gradually increase the time they spend wearing it.

Cat woman cute spring portrait petting her animal outsisde in garden grass green park. Asian girl pet owner caressing kitten. Summer lifestyle outdoor.

It’s very important, before buying a harness, that you take in account the size of your cat.
(Source: Maridav: 116701933/ 123rf.com)

Once you see that your cat is comfortable at home with the harness, you can tighten it and attach the leash, but wait a few days before taking them outside in it. In the meantime, keep treating him with sweets and caresses. And do not wait until it gets overwhelmed and you can get back to where you started. Do not lose sight of their reactions while wearing it.

How do I know that my cat is ready to go out in their harness?

You know your pet best, and you will know when it is ready to go out in its new cat harness. Once your animal is able to go out in its harness, you will then have to begin training it to be ok with the new range of stimuli it will encounter outside. This can be a major challenge.

Start by walking in a quiet place. First, just sit with your cat in a place without much noise and let them explore the environment, while you hold the strap. Just like you did at home, make them feel comfortable by giving treats and cuddles. Take your time to feel to help your pet feel positive about their first contact with the outside world.

B.L. DiamondArtist
“If you had to choose a universal sound for peace, you would vote for the purr”

Any more advice to help my cat get accustomed to the harness?

Always keep in mind that cats are creatures of habit. If your cats likes going out and exploring the outdoors, set up a routine time so that both you and he or she knows when to expect that activity. You should always be the one who decides when to go out.

Even if your cat is now used to going outside, always make sure the harness is on before going out, because you can never be 100 per cent certain it is not going to dart if it gets scared, or if it sees an animal it wants to chase. Always make sure you are in control.

Why do they recommend taking overweight cats out in a harness?

Vets advise that one of the solutions to feline obesity is to buy a harness, get the cat accustomed to it and go out for daily walks. City cats live slow, sedentary lives, which can lead to a range of associated diseases.

Also, obese cats can suffer from arthritis because of the increase pressure and strain on their joints. A harness is a great way to ensure cats remain well exercised and at their ideal, healthy weight.

JimCanadian Veterinarian
getting your pet adequate exercise is important, and pet obesity is a growing problem in Canada.

What advantages are there in taking my cat out in a harness?

Obesity is not the only issue facing indoor cats. Animals that are always locked up inside can end up developing aggressive behaviours, and even depression.

Cats that are always in confined, indoor environments can also end up developing habits that you don’t like – such as hunting things around your home, and constantly running and jumping on furniture. To help your cat drain some of that energy, a harness so you can take him or her outdoors is vital.

What vaccinations should my cat have in order to put on a harness and go outside?

All cat owners should follow a strict inoculation and vaccination plan, but this is especially important for pet owners who want to take their pet outside. If you are getting a kitten, you should begin the vaccination process at two months-old.

Vets recommend the trivalent vaccine for every single cat, and for those that have had a lot of contact with strays the leukaemia vaccine. If you want to take your cat outside in a cat harness, it should have both of the above.

Cat playing with package Ribbon

The market also offers reflective cat harnesses.
(Source: Jens Tandler: 35222637/ 123rf.com)

Why might my cat need a reflective harness?

There are also reflective harnesses available on the market these days. It is a very useful accessory for walking your cat at night. In this way, your pet, whatever size or colour it may be, will continue to be very visible to you and to others on the street.

A reflective harness is important to avoid collisions with other walkers, as well as vehicles. Additionally, if your cat somehow manages to escape from you and you are walking him or her at night, they will be much easier to locate. Reflective harnesses come in an array of different colours.

White kitten laying on the cement

Some experts recommend that you take your cat for a walk if they have a tendency to escape. (Source: Wannara Jantapoon: 107588410/ 123rf.com)

What is the difference between a petral and a cat harness?

Originally, a petral was a strap or belt that went around a horse’s body when securing a saddle. Similar, though obviously scaled down devices have been made for cats and dogs that work similarly, and which are now also commonly referred to as petrals.

The petral design is often preferable to the harness design because it gives your cat more freedom. Harnesses tend to cover more of your pet’s body, thus restricting more of their movement. When it is colder out, however, a harness will provide more warmth and cover from the elements.

Shopping Criteria

When buying a harness for your cat, it is very important that you make an informed decision, taking into account some important factors, both relating to your pet and to the product. Below we have summarised the most important features to keep in mind so that you buy a harness you like and that your cat will be comfortable with:

Different forms of cat harnesses

There are different styles of cat harness with either cover more or less of your pet’s body, and which tend to be easier or more difficult to put on and remove. The below chart outlines the main kinds of harness on the market, classified by form, and their advantages and disadvantages:

Form Description Advantages Disadvantages
Belt or petral style In the lower part, the belt forms two circles. One goes around height the chest and the other around the stomach of the animal.

It has a coupling joint

They are usually the cheapest.

Light.

Fresh in summer .

Your cat may find it easier to get out of this harness compared to other models.

You have less power over their movements.

Vest style Like a jacket that covers the body of the animal, although, obviously, without sleeves . It is very difficult to get rid of this harness and get away.

In winter it shelters the animal from the cold.

There is a great variety of designs and styles to choose from .

In summer, if it does not have a breathable material, it can be very hot.

The cat may feel stranger when covering the whole body.

Wide petral style A combination of the two above styles. It covers more body than the belt and presents more elaborate designs, but without covering the entire back and chest of the animal as the vest does It is not easy to get out of this wide petral.

Partially shelters your pet from the cold in winter and less hot in summer.

It can be less intrusive to your cat than a vest, and more comfortable than the thin petral.

Enough to have control over your cat’s movements, like the direction it’s going to take .

It does not get to have the same level of security as the vest to prevent escape.

In summer your cat may find it too hot.

Closures

When you are picking out a closure for your cat harness, always have the following two things in mind: how securely does it close, and how easy is it to open. Keep in mind the longer it takes to get your pet in and out of the harness, the more agitated it will become. There are three main types of closures:

  • Buckle: Not as easy to open, unless you loosen the harness. It offers several sizes and more can be added by making extra holes. These types of closures take a while to do up since you need to close them in exactly the right spot.
  • Velcro: Velcro are some of the easiest to close. Velcro is usually in addition to another closure method, since a strong cat might be able to tear open Velcro with rapid movements. Velcro can also wear out.
  • Plastic: This is the fastest type to close, you should always be careful because it can catch on the skin if your pet moves and cause pain. They are more difficult to open, although if you press in the right spot it should open easily.

Gray Cat homeless and Woman hugging hands Lifestyle and Friendship help concept

The first times that you use the harness, you could give your cat their favourite treat, or extra attention. (Source: Everst: 69523156/ 123rf.com)

Materials

The material of your cat’s harness is very important because your pet will be wearing it close to their skin. Just as we value the fabric our clothes are made of, we should do the same with our cat’s harness, especially in certain weather. The material should also be tough enough that it won’t break down or tear easily, but also soft so that your pet enjoys wearing it.

In Canada, it is important to get a harness that is made from materials that are suitable for the climate you live in. Some harnesses, for instance, are made of mesh material that is designed to breathe well in the summer, while others are made of material designed to protect your pet from the rain. Vest-style harnesses are best suited for colder weather. A petral harness is generally made from sturdy nylon material.

White and black adult, female, short hair cat looking to the side, standing on a sidewalk while wearing a purple harness on her upper body attached to a leash held by out of sight pet owner.

If you want to take your cat out of the house, or if you need to take them to the vet, it is essential to put them in a harness. (Source: Lee Serenethos: 25319947/ 123rf.com)

Size

Before you get a harness, you should always have the size of your cat in mind. Some harnesses are adjustable, but they should never be too small or large for your pet. Too big and you risk your cat escaping. Too small and it is going to be unpleasant for him or her.

Most cat harnesses are available in various sizes and the seller will normally indicate the appropriate measurements of the neck, chest and waist. It’s important to check this before making the purchase.

Remember that there are harnesses that are made specifically for kittens and others that are for adult cats.

Hooks and straps

Obviously, in order for the harness to perform its function, you are going to need a leash. Most leashes are high tensity nylon that is non-adjustable. The lead is generally not more than 1.2 metres.

Unlike dogs, which are generally walked using adjustable leads, the ones for cats tend to be ‘bungee’ style leads that stretch, but not considerably. These allows cats some freedom to explore on their own terms, while still controlling their movements safely.

Summary

Cats are predators with a natural instinct to get out and explore their surroundings. Most urban cats, however, spend the majority of their lives in a few small rooms indoors. This can lead to both behavioural and health problems. Placing a simple leash on a cat as you would a dog is not advisable, and one scare is enough to send them running.

This is why a cat harness is a great accessory for cat owners. It lets you get kitty out of the house for some exercise, while you control the pace and the exploration. Keep in mind the above information regarding the types of cat harnesses out there, as well as specific ways you can help a cat acclimate to its new harness and the outdoors.

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(Source of featured image: Pac Jan: 29892769/ 123rf.com)auhsta

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