Once you have decided you want to embark on cat adventures with your soon to be 'travel cat', your first port of call is to buy a cat harness. There are numerous harness types available and one of the most important questions you will ask is - can a cat get out of a harness?
Can a Cat Get Out of a Harness?
A determined cat can get out of a harness no matter what harness you use. However, there are secure cat harnesses which are virtually escape proof and are far superior to a collar and leash which a cat can easily slip out of.
Lets explore the topic a little further to understand more about how they can get out of a harness and what might be the best harness to prevent this.
Cats can get out of a harness and one of the most common ways for a cat to escape is by the owner not making it a tight enough fit or by using the wrong type of harness. You should be able to just about slide two fingers just under it to make sure it is comfortable and not causing them pain or discomfort. If it is a little too slack, then you will quickly realise how great an escape artist a cat can be!
How Do Cats Get Out Of a Harness?
Cats can squeeze their bodies into some amazing positions thanks to their flexibility. A cat can rotate their body far more than the majority of other animals. Their shoulder blades are not attached with bone but they are with muscle fibres meaning they can really pinch them together and it is these abilities which makes it possible for them to undo your hard work of fitting a harness.
There is one cat harness that is very capable and virtually escape proof, hand crafted, made of vegan cork, capable of a superb fit and looks stylish for your cat adventures too.
Is a Collar Or a Harness Better For a Cat?
We have seen countless cat owners using a collar and leash, but this needs to change. Cats do not have the muscle and strength in their throat like a dog does. They have much softer throats meaning they can be accidentally choked quite easily and this is why cat harnesses are particularly important because it is generally considered unsafe to attach a leash directly to a cat’s collar.
Cats also tense up and can suddenly freeze when owners try to 'scruff' them and grab them by the back of the neck. This is a stress reaction and if your collar and lead suddenly tug on the neck if could cause a similar response.
With so many harness types available, we need to understand the styles of harness which are available.
What Are the Different Types of Cat Harnesses?
After reviewing many different cat harnesses, we established from our research that no harness is 100% escape proof. Therefore, a cat can escape regardless of using a collar and leash or a harness. But this does not mean a harness should be crossed off your shopping list just yet.
If we understand how the different harnesses fit, then we can understand how a cat can get out of a harness.
The H Style Cat Harness
The harness looks like the letter "H" when laid out on the floor. They typically have a small clip on the front and a larger clip on the back. The smaller clip on the front is put on first just like a normal collar leaving enough room for one finger and then wrap the body side around them just like when you are putting a belt on to your waist.
Vest Cat Harness
The vest harness slips over their head and is worn like a vest. It has plenty of contact with your cats’ body with most of the covering sitting on their chest and the D ring on the top. The pressure from the harness is nicely spread across the body.
Cat Jacket (butterfly) Harness
This will cover more of the body and is more like a jacket to keep your cat warm in cold weather. I have seen these in use with Velcro but using Velcro would concern me with a higher risk of them breaking out of it. It does come down to personal opinion and preference though.
What Is the Best Escape Proof Cat Harness?
There is no such thing as a true escape proof cat harness, however the Wild Piccolo is one hell of a contender and stood out enough to convince us to use them for our family cats.
Buy Here - The Wild Piccolo Cat Harness
Are Harnesses a Good Idea for Cats?
For a cat harness to be a good idea, we must ensure it is fit well and is lightweight and breathable for absolute comfort. We now know that the harness must be reasonably tight therefore you must make sure the harness is made of breathable and lightweight materials such as cork, cotton, or nylon.
Did you know?
A cork cat harness is one of the best ‘vegan’ and ‘eco-friendly’ harness fabrics you can use.
Cork fabric comes from a harvested layer of bark, taken every 9 years. The process is natural and does not harm the tree, as well as the bark growing back therefore making it completely sustainable. The cork fabric is then boiled to become more malleable, without the need for harsh chemicals. Finally, it is shaved down to thin sheets and attached to a thin backing then printed using all-natural dyes. These sheets are then used to make the eco-friendly cat accessories we see today.
Why Do Cats Fall Over When They Wear a Harness?
They freeze or fall based on a survival response due to you placing something new on them. As amusing as it is, you should then them to work through this instinct by using any kind of motivation they respond well to. Pull out the toys, and the treats and give them a hand to get up and on the move. Even dogs have a reaction to the first time they wear a collar, and you might find they drag themselves along sofas and nudge your legs trying to get it off. It is quite normal.
Can You Use a Dog Harness on a Cat?
You can use a dog harness on a cat, but I do not think this is good practice. Dog harnesses tend to be much easier for cats to slip out of and it is not a risk you should take especially when there are now plenty of cat harnesses available. An adjustable rabbit harness or a small mammal harness can be an ok alternative for very small cats, kittens and when first cat harness training in a safe place before trying a cat harness.
How Do I Measure a Cat for a Harness?
Measure around the neck and then measure around the chest just behind the front legs. These are some typical sizes used from our cat chart on the Wild Piccolo cork cat harness which you can use for some example figures.
Small cat harness (Kitten)
20cm / 8"
21cm-31cm / 8-12"
Medium cat harness (Adult)
25cm / 10"
27cm-37cm / 10.5-14.5"
Large cat harness (Adult)
30cm / 12"
34cm-44cm / 13-17"
Here is a size guide infographic to help you understand where to measure.
Where Can I Buy a Cat Harness?
You can buy the Wild Piccolo Vegan Cork Harness here for just £24.99. They are handmade in Ireland with only the finest materials you would expect for your cat.
What Is the Best Cat Harness for Travelling?
Any cat harness which is safe, secure, and comfortable for your cat will be fine for travelling. We would suggest not going for something sub-par as travel can hard work and the better fit a harness is, the more enjoyable the trip will be for you and your cat.
To conclude, can a cat get out of a harness? Yes, they can as they are the equivalent of a furry Houdini. However, with this advice I hope you can achieve a great fit with a great harness for a great adventure!