How to Use Cat Collars, Harnesses, and Leashes

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While almost everyone walks their dog, few people walk their cats. However, cats can learn to walk on a leash. In fact, there are collars, harnesses, and leashes designed just for cats. If you get the right one, and you know how to use it, cats don’t really mind it too much.

In this post, we will show you how to use cat collars, leashes, and harnesses the proper way and how to walk your cat with these on. We’ll then give a few recommendations for the products we use with our own cats.

» Also read: Will my cat come back if I let him outside? and Best Cat Condos.

Why Use a Cat Collar?

how to use cat collars

Unlike dog collars, cat collars are not created so that they can be used with a cat leash. The shape of a cat’s head makes it too easy for a collar attached to a leash to pop right off.

While collars for cats are somewhat controversial; if you use the right one it might still be a good idea. The decision to use a collar or not is up to you.

Collars are used by cat owners for many reasons. A collar can make a cat look cared for and “owned”, so it’s not snatched up while out and about. It can also be reflective so drivers can see a cat crossing the street at night. Collars also provide protection against fleas and parasites. Many pet owners just like it for decoration.

A collar can get your cat in trouble too. They can get caught up on it or it can strangle them. That’s why the best collar is a ‘quick release’ or snap-opening collar. 

Recommended Cat Collars

Taglory Reflective Cat Collars Breakaway with Bell

The breakaway clasp on this collar will quick release under pressure if your cat get stuck up in something. It has just enough resistance in the break away part to not breakaway to easily. Your cat’s body weight would break it, but it will not come off from just scratching at it.

The bell is just loud enough to let you know where your cat/kitty is without being obnoxious. The highly reflective design will help you spot your cat in the dark with only a flashlight. And it’s adjustable to fit your cat.

Personalized Collar

For those looking to use a collar to identify your cat if lost, look no further than FlowerTown collars. They allow you to print your name, number, or address on the collar itself, leading to easy identification.

The collar features a quick-release buckle and a non-corrosive stainless steel D-ring. The embroidery is permanently stitched into the collar for strength and long-lasting durability.

The highly-reflective surface of the collar is made of nylon webbing with smooth, tapered edges for a comfortable fit. This collar has everything you need: durability, safety, and customization.

When To Use A Cat Harness

cat with harness

As we mentioned above, a cat collar can’t be used to walk a cat like a dog collar can. Cats are able to easily slip out of collars when a leash is attached, and they can be choked by the tightening of the collar when pulled on by the leash. Instead, a harness should be used.

If you choose to walk your cat, or take it outside on a leash for any reason, you should use a cat harness. These harnesses are designed to stay securely on the cat, even when the cat is on a leash. This is because it fits comfortably around their arms and shoulders, like a vest.

You can buy a simple nylon harness for your cat or you can find more deluxe models that look more like padded vests. As long as the harness is completely adjustable and is the right size for your cat, it should work well.

We like to use our cat harness when we take our cat out in the cat carrier for more safety. When we put the harness on, he knows he’s going outside and gets used to that feeling.

Recommended Cat Harnesses

rabbitgoo Cat Harness and Leash for Walking

A great basic option for a harness and leash is the Rabbitgoo harness. This comfortable cat harness fits snugly on your cat’s body and it has breathable air mesh to keep them cool. It’s soft and lightweight, and suitable for daily walking, jogging, training, and any outdoor recreations.

You can also use this harness when you’re taking your kitty to an unfamiliar place, such as the vet or groomer. You can attach the long, sturdy nylon leash to the metal leash clip on the back so your cat can wander around while you’ve got ahold of them.

Yizhi Miaow Kitty Harness and Leash

If you’re looking for more of a padded vest harness, this Yizhi Miaow harness is a good option. It’s a top seller on Amazon for being escape proof, durable, and strong.

The difference with this harness is the use of magic tape instead of a buckle. The long Magic Tape enclosure keeps it on tightly. Being a padded harness, this one is more safe than a H-style harness, it will also makes your cat feel more comfortable.

Cat Leashes

cat on a leash

While there is some controversy over whether you should walk a cat or not – owing to their natural need to be in control, not on a leash, and to be in a comfortable, safe environment, not stressed out by their surroundings – More cat owners are following the trend of taking their cats for walks.

If you wish to do so with your cat, you’ll need a good harness and leash. Cat leashes can be standard leashes or retractable models. Whichever type of leash you choose, be sure that it is lightweight enough to allow your cat to move easily under its weight. 

Retractable leashes are ideal for people who want to allow their cats to explore their surroundings in a park or other traffic safe area, but want to keep the cats close by when they are walking to and from their homes.

Keep in mind that most harnesses come with leashes, so you don’t need to buy them separately, but if you’re looking for a replacement or one that works with your current harness, see below.

Recommended Cat Leashes

Fida Retractable Leash

Fida’s retractable leashes are some of the best leashes around at a great price. Easy to take on and off, and even easier to control, this is the leash that will come in handy for walking your cat. Since it’s retractable, your cat can wander as it likes. It provides up to 10 feet of leeway.

Leashes are meant to be customized to the size of your pet, so make sure you get the right fit. The small size is meant for pets up to 18 pounds. It’s tangle-free, high strength nylon tape with durable rustproof swivel hook and steady impact-resistant ABS material.

rabbitgoo 2 Pack Cat Leashes

With a simple style and lightweight design, these rabbitgoo cat leashes are durable suitable for cats of any size. At 59-inches long, this cat leash is a perfect choice to bring balance between freedom and control for your pet during daily walks. 

The pet leash features a solid 360°rotating swivel clip which enables quick and safe attachment to collar or harness. It is also tangle-free and allows your cat to move around freely with no worry about the leash getting twisted; Made from zinc alloy metal material, this swivel clip is rust-poof and anti-scratch, ensuring long-lasting use

How To Walk a Cat

cat on leash

First keep in mind that not every cat is going to want to be walked on a leash. You can give it the chance to try, but if you sense that your cat really doesn’t like it, you shouldn’t continue. It’s for the well-being of your cat, after all.

To acclimate your cat to walking on a leash, you should not use the same techniques you use to train a dog. Cats do not do well with negative correction, so giving a quick tug on the leash when they do not stay at your side will not teach them to heel. 

Instead, praise your cat when they do what you want and ignore them when they do the wrong thing. Although you can teach your cat to tolerate a leash, don’t expect them to consistently heel on command.

Here is a good plan for starting your cat out on a leash:

  1. Always start indoors. Attach your cat’s harness and give them time to warm up to it. When they seem calm and relaxed, it’s okay to go ahead and attach the leash. Take a few laps around the house. Always reward your cat during the process for positive reinforcement.
  2. Once your cat is comfortable on the leash indoors, you can start to move outdoors. Pick a place that’s quiet and not stressful – the backyard, not the city streets. Let your cat lead you around, not the other way around.
  3. After getting comfortable in a safe space, you can start to venture further away from home, as long as your cat shows an affinity for it. Always reward for good behavior!


Walking a cat no longer has to be a fool’s errand! As long as you know how to use cat collars, harnesses, and leashes, walking your feline will literally be a walk in the park.

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A black cat outside with a harness and leash

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