pink cat harness

Can You Use a Dog Harness for a Cat? Why Experts Say No

You may find opinions regarding using a dog harness for a cat as long as your cat is comfortable, but as an expert in this industry, we don’t suggest it. And this isn't because we have different lineups of cat and dog harnesses, but solely for your pet's safety. Here’s why we don’t recommend using a dog harness for cats!


 Can you use a dog harness for a cat?  - Brief Answer

No! Cats and dogs have different body structures – cats are more slender with a distinct neck-to-body ratio. A dog harness may be too loose around a cat's narrow shoulders, allowing escape. Escape means there's a chance of injury, which we don't think any pet parent wants.


This is why it’s important to only go for harnesses that are specifically made for cats. Let’s understand it more deeply!


A husky wearing a green dog harness


3 Main Differences Between Cat Harnesses and Dog Harnesses

To understand why it’s not safe for cats to wear a dog harness, you must know the differences between both harnesses. By understanding the differences, you’ll be able to weigh the pros and cons yourself and choose the right harness for your cat.

1. Design and Fit

Dog harnesses are designed for dogs, who are generally quite larger compared to cats. While a small dog's harness may look like it could fit your cat, it will never be the perfect match. Dog harnesses are made to accommodate a stockier, more muscular build with a broader chest and neck.

Cats have a more slender and flexible body type, with longer necks and narrower shoulders. A dog harness simply won't fit a cat's unique shape, leaving room for potential escape or discomfort.

2. Comfortableness in Harness

Cats and dogs are exactly opposite to each other when it comes to behavior. Dogs, as pack animals, can coexist with others without considering them a threat. In contrast, cats are solitary animals – they don't like when someone tries to meddle in their business or take away their freedom.

For cats, freedom is the ability to go wherever they want. When we put a harness on them, they feel restricted, and sometimes go into a "freeze mode." This is because they don't like having their freedom confined.

Due to this reason, cat harnesses are made with comfortable and lightweight fabrics so they don't feel like something is around them, restricting their actions – which can happen with a dog harness.

3. Material & Fabric

Dog harnesses are often made from more robust and durable materials to withstand the rough and tumble play of dogs.

Cat harnesses usually have lightweight fabrics, and breathable materials that create a gentle feel. If you use a dog harness on your cat, the rough material can cause skin irritation.


So, Should You Use a Dog Harness for a Cat?

The short answer is NO! We don't recommend using a dog harness for a cat.

Keep in mind that we're not saying something bad will definitely happen, but we want to share that some potential drawbacks can affect your cat's health.

It's better to take precautions than deal with the worst-case scenario. Also, cat harnesses aren't expensive - they're similar in price to dog harnesses and can provide a safe and comfortable journey for your feline friend.

We understand the temptation to use what you already have on hand, but when it comes to our beloved pets, it's best to prioritize their safety. You can check out our Rabbitgoo adjustable cat harness and leash set. It's a worthwhile investment that allows you to enjoy outdoor adventures with your cat safely.  


 Made with breathable material

 Feature 4 adjustment points

 No-choke design for safety

 Bright reflective strips for a night walk

 Lightweight material


Final Words

We hope you've got the answer to whether you can use a dog harness for a cat. We don't suggest doing this because it compromises your cat's safety.

Cats have different needs and behaviors compared to dogs. They're more independent and can feel restricted easily, leading them to try and escape. If a cat feels confined by the rougher material or improper fit of a dog harness, they may wriggle free and end up injured.

So, take our advice – skip the dog harness and opt for one made especially for your feline companion.



Can I use a dog leash for a cat?

Technically, yes, you can use a dog leash for a cat, but is it a safe choice? Nope.

Dog leashes are often thicker and heavier than necessary for cats. The extra weight and bulk can cause discomfort or restrict your cat's movements. If this happens, your cat will think that you’re trying to take away their freedom, leading them to escape.

Is it OK to put a harness on a cat?

Absolutely! Harnesses are a safe and recommended way to allow your cat to explore the outdoors while keeping them secure. Unlike collars, harnesses distribute pressure evenly and prevent escape if your cat gets spooked. Just make sure to get a properly fitted, cat-specific harness.

Why do cats go limp when you put a harness on them?

That infamous "cat going limp" moment is actually a defense mechanism called the "freezing" response. When cats feel restricted or trapped, they may instinctively go limp to discourage a predator from dragging them away.

It's their way of saying, "Hey, I don't like this!". The good thing is this behavior can change, but it needs your patience and focus on cat training. With patience and positive reinforcement, most cats will learn that the harness is not a threat.

How long can you leave a harness on a cat?

As a general rule, it's best to remove your cat's harness when you're not actively using it or supervising them. For example, when you and your cat are at home enjoying some family time by watching TV or playing, etc.

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