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Cat Harnesses & Collars for Aspiring Adventure Cats

Safe and stylish gear to turn your local trail into a catwalk.

by Kellie Gormly
May 19, 2021
Cat sitting in a field wearing a pink harness and leash.
Photo: pimmimemom / Adobe Stock

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Dogs, pretty much without question, love to go outside for walks. But with cats, unsurprisingly, their outdoor affinities are more of a mystery. Whether you already have an outdoor cat that prowls the wilds of your backyard or you want to attempt to walk your indoor kitty on a leash for a change of scenery, you’ll need the proper gear. We break down both options for you below.

Walking a cat? You’ll need a harness.

The first thing to come to terms with: walking a cat is not the same as walking a dog. Obviously. But we’re talking about the gear here. “Leashes attached to neck collars (or harnesses with attachments at the neck) are dangerous,” says Marilyn Krieger, the certified cat behavior consultant behind The Cat Coach. “The collar portion puts pressure on the front of the neck, which can cause serious injuries such as cutting off air supply. Also, they can strangle cats!”

Krieger isn’t a fan of walking cats, namely because exposure to dogs, commotion from people, and car traffic can cause stress. And the last thing you want is for your cat to writhe their way out of a harness and run off. They can also pick up pathogens and parasites on their paws. That said, “training a cat to wear a harness or walking jacket can come in handy if you have an emergency situation and need to move your kitty quickly and safely,” she says. And taking your cat for a walk provides exercise for both human and animal (and boredom relief for a frisky cat).

Already have an outdoor cat? Get them a breakaway collar.

Your outdoor cat may need to show some ID one day. Maybe they’re a tad capricious and are wont to stay out until all hours of the night (until you get a call from your neighbor). Or maybe there’s an organization doing good work rescuing cats in the neighborhood. A collar with an ID tag signals that your cat already has a good home. But not just any collar will do. Cats are avid explorers that climb through bushes, over fences, and beyond. A traditional buckle collar can get snagged on something and become a choking hazard.

Breakaway collars — as the name suggests — breakaway or snap as soon as a collar is tugged at, so your cat can’t get caught. You may want to stock up… If you find this happens often, just hope that your cat’s microchip (they are microchipped, right?) ensures they find their way home if they are ever lost and found. Below, our top harness and collar picks for style and safety.

Btw, our editors (and their pets) picked out these products. They’re always in stock at the time we publish, but there’s a chance they’ll sell out. If you do buy through our links, we may earn a commission. (We’ve got a lot of toys to buy over here, you know?)

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Kellie Gormly

Kellie B. Gormly is an award-winning journalist based in Pennsylvania who writes for many national publications, including The Washington Post, Woman's World, Catster, and Dogster. Kellie is a volunteer rescuer who fosters kittens and cats at her home, where she has several of her own cats and betta fish.