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Can Cats Wear Harnesses All the Time? Tips to Keep Your Cat Safe


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Last Updated on: April 19, 2023 by Crystal Uys

Black tabby Maine Coon with harness

The question of whether cats can wear harnesses all the time is a common one among cat owners. While harnesses can be useful in certain situations, it is generally not recommended to have a cat wear a harness all the time.

Let’s explore the reasons why it is not advisable to have cats wear harnesses all the time, as well as the potential risks associated with constant harness use. I will also provide some alternative options for cat owners who want to keep their pets safe and secure. You want your cat to be happy and healthy, and so do I!

Why Cats Shouldn’t Wear Harnesses All the Time

Harnesses can help your cat safely explore the world, but there are some risks. Here are some of the potential risks and drawbacks associated with having your cat wear a harness all the time:

1. Safety Concerns

Leaving a harness on your cat all the time can pose safety risks, such as the harness getting caught on furniture or other objects or your cat getting tangled in the harness. This can cause injury or distress to your cat and may even require a trip to the vet.

2. Physical Discomfort

Wearing a harness all the time can be uncomfortable for your cat, particularly if the harness is too tight or does not fit properly. This can cause chafing, irritation, and even skin infections.

3. Mental Stress

Being constantly restrained by a harness can cause your cat to feel stressed, anxious, or frustrated. This can lead to negative behaviors such as excessive grooming or aggression and may even impact your cat’s overall health and well-being.

Bengal cat harness
Image Credit: Teksa, Shutterstock

4. Health Issues

Wearing a harness all the time can also contribute to health issues such as obesity or muscle atrophy. This is because the harness restricts your cat’s movement and can prevent them from getting enough exercise and activity.

It is important to note that these risks can be minimized by using a harness properly and only during supervised outdoor activities or short periods of indoor play.

If you do choose to use a harness with your cat, it is important to monitor them closely for any signs of discomfort or distress and to choose a harness that fits properly and is made from high-quality materials.

The Benefits of Cats Wearing Harnesses

Cats are curious creatures that love to explore their surroundings, and harnesses can help facilitate this exploration while keeping them safe. Here are some of the benefits of using a harness with your cat:

1. Exploration Outside the Home

A harness allows cats to safely explore the outdoors and experience new sights, sounds, and smells. This can provide them with mental stimulation and enrich their lives.

Beautiful grey maine coon cat in leash and harness walking in the city park
Image Credit: Goldeneden, Shutterstock

2. Bonding With Their Owners

Taking your cat for a walk or outdoor adventure can be a great bonding experience for both you and your pet. It can also help shy or anxious cats become more comfortable with their owners and their surroundings.

3. Physical Exercise

Walking on a leash can provide your cat with physical exercise, which is important for their overall health and well-being.

4. Reducing Stress and Anxiety

For some cats, being outside can be a calming experience that helps reduce stress and anxiety. A harness can make it possible for these cats to enjoy the benefits of being outside without the risk of running away or getting lost.

While there are many benefits to using a harness with your cat, it is important to note that these benefits can be achieved without having your cat wear a harness all the time.

In fact, it is generally recommended that cats only wear harnesses during supervised outdoor activities or for short periods during indoor play.

This is because there are also some potential drawbacks to having your cat wear a harness all the time, which we will discuss in the next section. Nonetheless, when used properly, harnesses can be a great tool for cat owners to help their pets stay safe and enjoy new experiences.

cat wearing jacket harness
Image Credit: Kevin Wells Photography, Shutterstock

Tips for Safely and Comfortably Wearing a Harness

If you decide to use a harness with your cat, it is important to do so in a way that is safe and comfortable for your pet. Here are some tips to help ensure that your cat is comfortable and secure while wearing a harness:

Choosing the Right Harness

Choose a harness that is specifically designed for cats and is made from high-quality materials. Avoid harnesses that are too tight or too loose, as they can cause discomfort or be easily slipped off.

Proper Fitting

Make sure that the harness fits your cat properly by measuring your cat’s chest girth and adjusting the harness accordingly. It should fit snugly but not be too tight or restrictive.

cat with leash and harness
Image Credit: g3gg0, Pixabay

Gradual Acclimation

Introduce the harness to your cat gradually, allowing them to get used to the sensation of wearing it. Start by letting them wear the harness indoors for short periods, and gradually increase the length of time they wear it.

Monitoring for Signs of Discomfort or Distress

Keep an eye on your cat while they are wearing the harness to ensure that they are comfortable and not experiencing any discomfort or distress. Watch for signs such as excessive grooming, trying to remove the harness, or difficulty breathing.

By following these tips, you can help ensure that your cat is comfortable and safe while wearing a harness. Remember to always supervise your cat while they are wearing a harness and to remove the harness if your cat shows any signs of discomfort or distress.


Using a harness with your cat can have some benefits, but you should avoid leaving the harness on all the time. I have found that doing so can pose safety risks, physical discomfort, mental stress, and even health issues.

To ensure your cat’s comfort and safety, be sure to choose the right harness, properly fit it to your cat’s body, acclimate them gradually to the sensation of wearing it, and monitor for signs of discomfort or distress. With these tips in mind, you can help keep your cat safe and comfortable while wearing a harness. Happy adventuring!

Featured Image Credit: DenisNata, Shutterstock

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