What types of harnesses are best to train a cat to walk on a leash?

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Your cat will be happiest with a harness that buckles or snaps around her neck and middle, rather than slipping over her head, but it’s really most important that it fits well. Make sure the strap of the harness that goes around the cat’s neck is snug enough. If it’s too loose, she’ll be able to slip out.

Don’t use a collar because they put a lot of pressure on a cat’s delicate neck. It’s also easy for the cat to slip out, because they are designed to open under pressure.

Here are a couple of tips on measuring your cat for a harness:

• Measure your cat’s neck with the tape measure snug against her fur. Add about five percent to the actual inches around her neck because, while you don’t want it to be too tight, you want to be sure it fits snugly. Give her a couple of treats to reward her for her cooperation.
• With your cat standing up, measure around her middle, just behind her front legs. Again, add about five percent to the actual inches. After being measured, your cat will need a few more treats as a thank-you for her continued cooperation.
• Save your measurements so you can use them again when you purchase a harness. The harness will be easier to adjust to the right size if it’s not on your cat.

So now that you have the harness, how do you put it on?

• Make sure your cat is calm. Perhaps engage in a little play or give her some extra affection—and, of course, treats!
• Pull the harness over your cat’s head. Make sure that the silver ring is facing the cat’s back.
• Pull your cat’s left leg through the leg hole in the harness. Your cat will have to “step through” this section of the harness. Then pull the other end under your cat’s right elbow and up over the back.
• Check to ensure that the harness is not twisted.
• Attach the leash to the silver ring.

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