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Home > Cats > How to Measure for a Cat Harness: 3 Helpful Tips & Tricks

How to Measure for a Cat Harness: 3 Helpful Tips & Tricks

Black tabby Maine Coon with leash and harness

Selecting a cat harness is hard. There are tons of different things to consider. However, once you make a decision, you have to do something else difficult—measure your cat to determine which size to buy. Getting your cat a well-fitted harness is vital for the harness to work. Even the best harness won’t be very effective if it doesn’t fit.

Luckily, measuring a harness isn’t terribly difficult. You just have to approach it with a plan and know exactly where to put the measuring tape.


Which Measuring Tape is Best?

For the best results, it works best if you use a cloth measuring tape. These have more bend than others, allowing them to fit nicely around the cat’s torso. You’ll need to measure around your cat’s chest and girth, so choose a measuring tape that can fit around your cat well.

You’ll likely want to measure more than once, however, you can use the same measuring tape each time. You don’t need anything fancy. Just your average measuring tape is fine.

The 3 Tips to Measure for a Cat Harness

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1. Measure Around Your Cat’s Chest

First, you will want to measure around your cat’s chest. The best way to do this is to just do it. You’ll find tons of hints on the internet that are meant to make this easier. However, in all honesty, just getting to it and measuring your feline confidently is the easiest option.

If your cat is particularly skittish, you can distract them with treats and other items. Many cats try to play with the measuring tape—this is completely fine as long as you still get an accurate measurement. When measuring, make sure you get the tape tight. You want to cut through the fur and measure your cat’s chest accurately. Otherwise, you may order a size too big, and your cat may escape rather easily.

2. Measure Around Your Cat’s Neck

Next, you want to do the same thing but measure around your cat’s neck this time. However, don’t get the measuring tape so tight that you choke your cat. You want the harness to be tight enough so that your cat doesn’t slip out of it, but you don’t want it so tight that it’s uncomfortable.

Cats are sometimes more sensitive about their neck being measured, which is why we recommend doing it second. If you do it first, you risk freaking your cat out and making the chest measurement more challenging. You can always use treats or toys to distract your cat if necessary. Sometimes, initiating a cuddling session, petting your cat for about 5 minutes, and then sneaking out the measuring tape works best.

3. Compare the Measurements to the Chart

The large majority of cat harnesses have a measurement chart to compare your measurements to. This chart helps ensure you order the correct size. Be sure to read the reviews to ensure that you don’t need to size up or down (which is a common problem for cat harnesses).

Whatever size your cat’s measurements line up with is what you should get.

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Image Credit: PixelsMD Production, Shutterstock


Why Is Measuring a Cat Important?

Most of us have a pretty good idea of how big our cats are. However, our ideas don’t always line up with cat harness companies. Plus, their ideas on cat sizes don’t always line up with each other. Some cat companies divide their sizes up into very small segments. For instance, they may have extra small sizes. Others may only have small, medium, and large sizes.

It’s vital to measure your cat because of these sizing differences. One company’s “small” won’t be the same as another company’s small. Some companies might not even have sizes for very large or very small cats.

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Are Harnesses Uncomfortable for Cats?

Harnesses are a bit weird for cats the first time they wear them. If your cat has never worn a harness, they typically won’t act completely happy with the new arrangement. Imagine if you’d never worn shoes in your life. Then, sometime in adulthood, someone puts shoes on your feet. It’d feel a bit weird for a while. Even human babies are unsure of shoes at first. It takes them a bit to get used to it.

Cats are the same way. It will take several short sessions to get your cat used to wearing a harness. Therefore, it is recommended to put the harness on and let your cat roam around the house with it. The longer your cat wears the harness, the more comfortable they will become. However, you should always supervise your cat with a harness on. They can get caught on furniture and other things around your house, potentially causing injuries.

After these getting-used-to processes, cats are often perfectly fine with harnesses. It’s just a matter of the cat getting used to the new harness.

cat with harness on a grass
Image Credit: Greeshma Gangadharan, Shutterstock



It’s not hard to measure a cat for a harness. The key is to use a cloth measuring tape so that it can be manipulated right up against your cat’s body. Next, make sure to get the chest measurement tight enough to decompress the fur. You don’t want your cat slipping out.

Be sure to measure your cat for every harness you buy, as sizing varies from harness to harness. Also, always compare your cat’s measurements to the company’s sizing chart. Different companies have their sizes set up differently.

Featured Photo Credit: DenisNata, Shutterstock

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