How to get a cat used to a harness

To get their cats out safely, owners sometimes resort to leashes and harnesses. If kittens tolerate them well most of the time, it is not always easy with adult cats. A progressive habituation to the leash and harness is then necessary.


Cat harness

Many cats are city dwellers and live in apartments. Even if it is possible to make them happy by enriching their environment (cat trees, scratching posts, observation posts, multiple games, etc...), cats always appreciate going outside. The outdoor environment is much more stimulating for them.

Leashed outings should only be considered if you have the opportunity to take your cat outside in a quiet, secure area. If the place is too noisy, if there are a lot of cars, people, dogs, then it may stress him a lot. Don't forget that cats are fearful by nature, they are seen as prey for many dogs and outings can quickly become stressful for them. Even more so if you take them out on a leash, as they will not be able to run away and hide freely.

Sometimes owners prefer to walk their cats on a leash even if they live in a house, if they live next to a busy road for example. It can also be useful to tie your cat up when transporting it by car, to allow it to get out of its carrier safely during breaks.

It is important to choose the right harness: you need to measure your cat's neck and chest size to choose the right size and avoid your cat managing to remove the harness if he/she gets panicky.



Cats rarely accept the leash and harness right away. It usually takes some getting used to the leash and harness. This will be easier for a kitten than for an adult cat.

The first step is to get your cat used to the harness. You can do this for a few minutes a day. If he remains calm, we recommend that you praise and reward him (toys, treats, petting) so that he associates the harness with something positive. You can gradually increase the time you leave him in the harness.

You can then try to tie him up: first for a few seconds, then for a few minutes, etc. Don't forget to congratulate him and reward him if he remains calm.

You can then take your cat out in your garden or in a quiet and secure place. You will gradually increase the time spent walking.

Some cats will unfortunately never get used to the leash and harness and will be very stressed by being tied up and not being free to move around.