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Home > Cats > Should I Get a Tactical Cat Harness? Pros, Cons & Verdict

Should I Get a Tactical Cat Harness? Pros, Cons & Verdict

Woman walking cat on a leash outdoors in nature

There is a lot of hype around tactical harnesses for dogs because of the control and confidence it gives the owners. Recently, tactical harnesses have gained popularity amongst cat owners, too, for their durability, dependability, and control. Although tactical harnesses are kitted out with back handles, straps, and pouches, it’s important to consider the natural instincts of a cat and look for accessories that complement those instincts best.

There are several pros to strapping your cat up in a tactical harness, but there are cons to consider, too, and we’re going to explore both.


Why Does My Cat Need a Harness?

If you plan to take your cat out and about, you’re going to need a cat harness and leash. Unlike a dog, cats cannot be walked on a leash that is attached to their collar. This is because most cat collars have a “breakaway” feature that allows the cat to break free if their collar is ever caught or tangled in something. This feature is there to protect the cat, but it’s also an escape risk.

Another reason why a harness is necessary is that if a cat pulls and tries to get away while out on a walk, they can slip out of their collars quite easily, which is a safety concern. Also, all the tugging, squirming, or pulling can put pressure on their small necks and can cause injury to them or cause them to choke.

A cat harness is more difficult for a cat to escape from, and it distributes the pressure over the chest instead of placing it all around the neck.

Cat with red harness walking in the garden
Image Credit: Svetlana Rey, Shutterstock


The 4 Advantages of Tactical Harnesses

1. They’re Durable

One of the best things about a tactical harness is how durable and long-lasting they are. These harnesses are made from high-quality materials, such as nylon or polyester, and usually have reinforced stitching. These harnesses don’t break or fall apart easily, regardless of how adventurous you and your cat are, which makes them more reliable.

Tactical harness also has pouches and attachment points that are sturdy and secure, which will give you peace of mind that they’re not going to fall off if your cat pulls or struggles on the leash. A good quality harness reduces the risk of your cat breaking free and escaping.

These harnesses almost always come out on top when compared to traditional harnesses, which are typically made from weaker materials that wear and snag over time.

2. They’re Reflective

Another great feature of tactical harnesses is the reflective strips or patches. These are necessary for enhancing visibility when it starts to get dark, and you and your cat get harder to see in the low light. These reflective strips catch the attention of people passing by as their car or torch lights reflect off your cat and can prevent accidents from happening.

Of course, tactical harnesses aren’t the only type of harness with this feature; and you can find many other styles with similar reflective strips or patches.

Adorable black and white cat in a harness standing looking into the distance
Image Credit: Abi’s Photos, Shutterstock

3. They Have Padding and Adjustable Straps

Most traditional harnesses don’t have much or any padding, which can cause the harness to rub against the cat’s body if the cat pulls and tugs due to a lack of leash training. However, tactical harnesses are well padded, especially in the areas where the harness presses against pressure points.

These harnesses also have many straps that can be adjusted to snugly fit your cat. This allows for a customized fit and longer usage from the harness because you can adjust it as your cat grows.

4. They Offer the Owner More Control

A tactical harness does offer the owner more control over the cat when taking them out for a walk because the harness covers a larger surface area, which spreads out the force used to move and guide your cat, which gives you more control over them.

Tactical harnesses also tend to have more attachment points, which give you the option to attach the leash on the back of the harness or the front. The front attachment point gives the owner more control, which is helpful during training.

With the help of a great harness and leash, you can take your cat for fun, enriching walks without sacrificing comfort or safety. We like Hepper's Cat Harness & Leash Set, which combines a premium velvet and mesh harness with a durable climbing rope leash. This high-quality set is full of thoughtful design elements that will keep your cat safe during adventures, like quick-release buckles, reflective stripes, and reinforced double D-ring attachments.

Hepper Cat Harness and Leash Escape Proof Set -...
23 Reviews
Hepper Cat Harness and Leash Escape Proof Set -...
  • Escape Proof - Cat leashes and harnesses for walking aren't all equally secure. Our double aluminium...
  • Superior Comfort - Our cat harnesses are lightweight, made with premium velvet fabric, breathable...
  • Free Extra Strength Leash - You don't need to worry about your cat escaping this harness. This cat...

At Pet Keen, we've admired Hepper for many years, and decided to take a controlling ownership interest so that we could benefit from the outstanding designs of this cool company!


The 5 Disadvantages of Tactical Harnesses

1. They’re More Expensive

It’s probably no surprise that tactical harnesses are generally more expensive than traditional harnesses. The reason for this is the high-quality materials they use, the marketing behind these harnesses, and all the extra features they have. Common features on tactical harnesses are pouches, a back handle, and extra attachment points.

Your cat shouldn’t be carrying extra weight from items placed in the pouches, and they shouldn’t be held by the back handle on the back of the harness. The extra attachment points are also unnecessary because the harness only requires one attachment point for the leash. These extra features aren’t essential, and your cat can do without them.

2. They’re Not Escape-Proof

Tactical harnesses are marketed as escape-proof, but this usually is not the case. Tactical harnesses are more rigid because of their structure and materials, but this rigidity is what makes them easier to escape from. It will take a lot of struggling and pulling to wiggle out of these harnesses, but it is not impossible.

No harness should be left on a cat without supervision, but the design of a tactical harness can result in your cat getting caught in a tree or an object if they do manage to run off with it on because of the back handle, straps, and pouches.

Small black cat wearing pink harness in green grass
Image Credit: Sari ONeal, Shutterstock

3. Your Cat Is More Limited

A cat does not like to be limited in their movements. Although a tactical harness gives the owner more control over the cat, it has a restrictive design that goes against the natural instincts of a cat.

The extra padding in this type of harness might take some pressure off certain pressure points, but it also boxes your cat in, which can cause them to become anxious. This can cause your cat to freeze up and refuse to walk, or it can cause them to fight against the harness and make the experience more stressful.

4. They’re Not as Comfortable

A tactical harness may have more padding than a traditional harness, which might feel gentler against their skin, but it also adds weight. Large, muscular dogs aren’t affected by tactical harnesses that are bulkier and weightier, but cats are smaller and more delicate and are uncomfortable with the extra weight. The weight and the design of these harnesses can cause a cat to freeze up as they’re not free to move about as they are in traditional ones.

Cat lying outside with cat harness on
Image Credit: Mzynasx, Shutterstock

5. They’re Harder to Put On

Tactical harnesses usually have four buckles with adjustable straps to make them customized to your cat. However, having to put this type of harness on a cat who is refusing to cooperate can be very difficult. Many traditional harnesses have two buckles, making the process faster and easier.

Tactical harness buckles are usually on the sides of the harness, which is also more difficult to clip in than a buckle that is on the top of the harness. If you have a cat that is comfortable with being in a harness, then this harness might be more suitable for them.


The Verdict

Although tactical harnesses look stylish and offer more control over dogs, they’re not necessary for every cat. They may do well for large cats that are already comfortable in a harness and are leash trained, but they do limit a cat’s natural instincts and restrict their movements, which can be upsetting and anxiety-inducing for some cats.

There are many cheaper and more suitable cat harnesses on the market that will keep your cat safe and offer a more pleasant experience. Consider trying out various types of cat harnesses to determine which one your cat feels the most comfortable in while offering you the features that are important to you.

Featured Image Credit: watcher fox, Shutterstock

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