How to Put a Harness on a Cat in 5 Easy Steps


If you want to take your cat on a stroll around the block, to the vet, or simply to give it a nice warm bath, you’ll need to put a harness on it. But the cat can be a formidable opponent, and you might end up getting scratched while trying to put the harness on.

In this article, we’ll go through everything you need to know about how to put a harness on a cat. We’ll also discuss the different types of harnesses available and whether or not they are safe for cats.

Let’s get started!

What Is The Purpose of a Cat Harness?

If you live in an apartment with little open space where your cat can run, your cat may benefit from an occasional walk. You also might decide to take your pet along on a road trip or picnic. That’s when a cat harness can come in handy. It’s usually made of nylon or another soft material that won’t hurt your cat’s skin, allowing you to lead your cat around on a leash.

While it’s hard to imagine a cat in a harness, walking your cat outdoors on a leash is slowly but surely becoming a thing. A cat harness is meant to provide a sense of security and safety for the cat. There are many benefits for cat owners if their cat wears a harness – better control over the cat when taking her for a walk or giving her a bath, for example. Harnesses are considered safer than collars for cats, as collars can get caught on things causing the cat to choke.

Types of Cat Harnesses

It’s worth noting that cat harnesses come in different shapes, sizes, and colors. They also vary based on the type of leash attachment they have. These are the most popular cat harnesses:

Figure Eight

Usually, cats and harnesses don’t go well together. But with this type of harness things can be much easier. The figure-8 harness looks like a number ‘eight’ when viewed from above. It has two loops, one goes over the head and the other one behind the elbows and around the chest.


The second most popular harness type is the H-style harness. It’s shaped like the letter H. It has three straps – one around the neck, one around the waist, and a strap that connects the other two under the cat’s belly or in some cases around the cat’s back. This harness sits snugly on a cat, and it’s very popular among cat owners since it is very difficult for the cat to just wiggle out of it because of the double loops.

DID YOU KNOW: If you don’t like the idea of walking your cat on a leash, building a secure outdoor cat enclosure could be as good for them as taking a walk around the block.

How to Put a Harness on a Cat

Putting a harness on your cat can be a daunting process. That’s why we divided it into steps you can take when learning how to put a harness on your cat:

1. Find Out How the Type of Harness Should Sit on the Cat

Firstly, you need to orient yourself on how the type of harness you choose for your cat would sit on it. Take the harness you’ve bought and figure out how it needs to be put on the cat. If you want the harness to wrap around the cat’s chest, then look for an H-harness. But if you opt for a figure-eight harness make sure you find the smaller one of the two loops (the smaller one goes over the cat’s head).

2. Put the Small Loop Over the Cat’s Head

The next thing to do when putting on a cat harness is to place the small loop over your pet’s head. Before that, make sure that the cat is calm. If you find the right time to put the harness on your cat, for example, after it’s eaten or when it’s just waking up from a nap, the cat is more likely to be cooperative. Gently place the harness over its head. If the cat is still nervous after putting the harness on, try stroking it or giving it the treat to soothe it.

3. Secure the Large Loop Around the Cat’s Midsection

To prevent the cat from slipping out of the harness, adjust the large loop around the cat’s midsection. This part of the harness goes behind her front legs and under her belly, just like a belt would. It should be snug enough so that it doesn’t slip but loose enough for your cat to move comfortably.

4. Check the Fit of the Harness

Fitting a cat harness is the next step. You want to make sure that it’s not too tight or loose on your cat. A good way to check the fit is by slipping two fingers under each strap – if you cannot do so easily, it may be too tight. If the straps are loose enough for your cat to slip out of them, they may need to be tightened. Once it fits perfectly, secures the harness, so the cat cannot just wiggle itself out of it. Lastly, make sure that the straps are evenly adjusted.

5. Let Your Cat Get Used to the Harness While Indoors

Once you’ve put it on your cat, getting your cat used to the harness might involve a bit of hard work. The cat may walk funny when you first put the harness on it but it will stop doing that once it gets used to it. Start by leaving it on for short periods of time and gradually increasing the amount of time the cat wears it. Once your cat has adapted to wearing a harness, you can start taking her for short walks.

How to Measure Your Cat for a Harness

Cats differ in size and build, so it’s important to take the time to measure your kitty before purchasing a harness. You’ll need an inch tape measure and some patience. Here are the steps:

  • Measure the Cat’s Neck

The first thing you need to measure is your cat’s neck. This can be a bit tricky, especially if the cat is not in a relaxed mood because she can easily become agitated and hide. Patting and cuddling it to make the cat feel comfortable, place the tape measure around your cat’s neck and pull it until it’s snug but not tight. If you don’t have a measuring tape, use a piece of string or ribbon, then lay it against a ruler to determine how many inches long the string is.

  • Measure Around the Cat’s Tummy

Now that we’ve given you the cat harness instructions and how to measure your cat’s neck, continue with measuring their tummy. Because your cat may not like being measured, it’s best to lure them with the tastiest senior cat food or their favorite treat so you can measure them properly. Once they start eating and sitting up, preferably, take the flexible measuring tape and put it right behind the cat’s shoulder blades. Once you’ve measured the tummy, add 2 inches to the length measured with the tape.

  • Check Against the Size Ranges

If you are set on your cat wearing a harness and are willing to train your cat, you’ll need to buy a harness that will fit perfectly. Now that you’ve measured your cat’s tummy and head, it’s time to compare the measurements to the harnesses’ recommended size range. If at all possible, pick a harness near the middle of the range because if your cat’s body shape changes, the harness won’t fit. Look for one with an easy adjustment mechanism. Since most of them may need to be custom-made to fit your feline friend properly, you’ll be able to find a perfect fit for your cat.

Are Cat Harnesses Safe?

While we know that dogs enjoy walking outside and most do not protest against being on a leash, cats often do. When you first put on the harness, they can fall over or wobble from side to side which can be very scary, especially for first-time cat owners. But how safe are cat harnesses actually? This question has been up for debate for a long period of time. Despite the fact that the ASPCA policy permits leashes and harnesses to be used to walk cats outdoors, and some owners have successfully trained their cats to walk on a leash, the ASPCA does not encourage it.

So, are cat harnesses safe and what do people think about them? People’s opinions of whether harnesses are considered safe remain divided even today. Harnesses are considered hazardous by some, while others feel they are perfectly safe. Those who claim that harnesses are safe, explain that as long as you make sure to get the right size and fit for your cat, your cat will be fine. Others say that it’s best to avoid using a harness altogether, as cats can easily slip out of them and get injured. Some cat owners decide not to use them at all because they feel like they’re too much trouble or can be potentially dangerous for their pets.

Ultimately, it’s up to you whether or not you want to use a harness on a cat. If you do decide to go ahead and try one out, still make sure you have pet insurance if something unexpected happens. And if you have any doubts about its safety, preferably avoid using it altogether.

Key Takeaways

A cat harness is usually made of nylon or another soft material, so it won’t hurt your cat or damage its fur.
When putting a harness on your cat, place the small loop over the cat’s head and connect the midsection.
Measuring your cat’s tummy and neck can help you find the perfect harness for your cat.
Cat harnesses are typically considered safe, although some cat owners don’t recommend them.

Wrap Up

Now you know how to put a harness on your cat and how to measure the cat to find a harness that fits. As training your cat to wear a harness might be quite difficult, try following the simple cat harness instructions provided above and you should get your cat wearing the harness in no time. The key is to make sure that it doesn’t feel threatened or uncomfortable in any way. This will make it easier for the cat to adapt faster and overcome the initial discomfort.


Can a cat wear a harness all the time?

It’s usually not recommended for a cat to wear a cat harness all the time because it can become uncomfortable. Don’t leave the harness on your pet if it’s not used to wearing one. However, some cats don’t become agitated and can wear the harness all day long without discomfort.

How tight should a cat harness be?

You want the harness to fit snugly against your cat’s body so that it doesn’t slip off but it shouldn’t be too tight either. If the harness fits comfortably and isn’t too tight, then it is safe to walk the cat in public.

Which way does a cat harness go?

If you’re wondering how to put a harness on a cat, you need to know that it depends on the type of harness. Most cat harnesses go around their belly and neck, providing a secure way to control your cat.


When she couldn’t decide between being a nurse, a psychotherapist, and a financial genius, Ofelia decided to do all three. Her interests run far and wide, and she loves researching about everything you get to read on our website. Credit cards or top-notch software, she’s here to tell it all like it is.

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