So you recently figured out that you can take your cat for walks but in order to do this you need a harness so they can walk with you. The question is are they safe for a cat to put on your cat? Are there any health risks or things to consider when your cat wears one of these? Lets go through whether they are or not.
Are Cat Harnesses Safe?
The truth is yes, all types of cat harnesses are safe to use for your cat. In fact its very unsafe if you don’t have your cat wear a harness while walking them.
This is because cats have very sensitive necks and you could potentially damage them if you were to just attach a leash to their collar like a dog so you want to have them wear on of these if you decide to walk them. Pet behaviorists like Jackson Galaxy even use these for their cats.
Vest Type Harnesses
These are also called walking jackets or holsters. Out of all the harness types this is probably the safest kind of harness you could use. These usually are a sturdy vest made out of thick material so as a result they are very hard to break out of. These are also very good if your cat like to pull the leash a lot. The only way the cat could get away is if the leash slipped out of your hand.
If you live in a hot climate these types of harnesses might not be a good choice. Your cat probably doesn’t want to wear a heavy piece of clothing while walking in really hot weather. You don’t want to give your cat a heat stroke which can be potentially fatal. You might want to go with lead styles instead.
Lead Type Harnesses
These are also safe to use but the thing with these type of harnesses they are slightly easier to break out of. They can potentially slip out if these because the whole harness is basically just straps. If your cat likes to break out of things these might not be the best type of harness to use for your cat but they are fine if your cat isn’t like this.
Just like the vest types in hot weather these might be suitable for your cat if its really cold out. You might want to go with the vest type of harness in this scenario.
Don’t Drag Your Cat While Walking Them
Harnesses are safe to use but if you are dragging them because they won’t walk it could potentially harm your cat. If you drag them your cat will contract their nails which can cut up their paws. If you have to move them its best that you pick them up instead so it prevents injury to them.
Make Sure The Harness Fits Properly
Another potential health risk is the fit of the harness. You don’t want to have the harness too tight around your cats body. This can be very uncomfortable for them and can make it harder for them to breathe. As long as you can fit two fingers inside of the vest you put it on your cat correctly.
Is It Ok To Leave A Harness On A Cat?
If you don’t leave it on for too long then it isn’t really an issue. You just don’t want to leave it on for days upon days at a time because they could chafe or loose their fur if you do this. This could also make it so they can’t groom themselves as the fabric will be covering a large portion of their body.
Cat Harnesses Can Potentially Cause Them Stress
According to the “RSPCA” cat harnesses can potentially cause your cat to feel stresses and agitated because cats are territorial and they dislike when they are not in control of what they are doing. The reason why cats value this so much is because when they have control they are able to hide when something worries or scares them.
Animal behaviorists on the other hand disagree with these claims and state that it is very beneficial to walk them. They say that if they don’t have any other way to be outside it could cause cats to be obese and feeling very bored a lot of the time.
Here is a link from “The Telegraph” with more information: https://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/2017/08/13/cat-lead-trend-causing-pets-distress-rspca-warns/
Using a cat harness is generally safe. Not all cats hate to walk in one of these you just want to make sure your cat has the right temperament to do this type of thing and you don’t want to be careless about using a harness if you decide to put one on your cat. In fact its something that I would recommend doing with your cat as it can be very fun for them if you train them to do so.