Standard Harness VS Jacket Harness

You might have noticed that I now have two different style harnesses available for you to choose from; our standard harness and our new jacket harnesses. I recently introduced the jacket style harness after a customer asked if I would consider making the design for her. Since I have been playing around with an adjustable neck and chest harnesses for quite some time, I decided I would give it a go. I loved it so much I knew it should be a permanent option to cater to all kitty’s walking experience levels.

So therefore, in this article I’m going to answer some frequently asked questions I get about both harnesses by explaining the differences in detail, discussing which harness is safer, and making recommendations about which harness is best for which type of kitty. There is a quick summary down the bottom if you want your answer short, sharp and RIGHT MEOW!

Okay enough fluffing around, let’s get into it!


What is the difference?

The standard harness is the harness you see most dogs sporting. It is put over your cat’s head and secured with a strap around the chest. It is not adjustable around the neck and is overall lighter than the jacket harness.

Our jacket harness, on the other hand, velcros and buckles around the neck and is fully adjustable around both the neck and chest. While the jacket harness is great because it does not need to go over your cat’s head, it is heavier than the standard harness because of the double buckle design. Also, the jacket harness is actually a more traditional style cat harness than our standard harness, which is most often used for dogs.

In terms of aesthetics, the pattern and design of the standard harness is more visible when viewing your cat from the front, however the jacket harness is more visible to you from the top down such as when you are walking your cat.


Which style is safer or more escape proof?

I want to start this section off by saying that I do not believe that there is any harness on the market, be it cat or dog, that is escape proof. I have purchased “escape proof” harnesses before I started this business and I can assure you, Romeo found a way out of them. Murphy’s law: If the harness can go on, it can come off.

However, the jacket harness is probably the most secure cat harness style that is available to our felines. That is because the neck strap adjusts neatly to the size of your cat’s neck and is secured with a buckle, making it extremely difficult for a cat to get their head out from under the harness. Some people may be thrown off by the fact that their cat’s stomach will be mostly visible from the underside (see photo below). But I assure you that what you need to be most concerned with when finding the right harness, is if your cat will be able to get their head out from the head hole. That is because, no matter which harness you put on your cat, the moment your cat’s head is out from under the neck hole, the harness will be on the ground.

I do want to add that this doesn’t mean our standard style harnesses are not safe, because I have seen my cats freak out at their own shadow enough to know that the standard harness isn’t coming off without a fight. I have designed the standard harness specifically for cats and have made the neckline lower cut than dog harnesses making it difficult for cats to get their head out of the hole. However, because the neck is not adjustable it will not conform to your cat’s neck the same way as the jacket harness.

Finally, to conclude this section, I often get asked “will my cat get out of their harness from freaking out if they see a dog or hear a loud noise?”. My answer to that is 99.99% of the time, no they will not and that goes for the standard or jacket harness. This is because cats get out of their harnesses for two main reasons: they are actively trying to get out of it or, the lead has become stuck around something making them immobile causing them to struggle in the harness to find release. When a cat sees a dog or gets a fright, the last thing they are thinking about is their harness. They are going to run, jump and leap to safety and unless you have purchased a harness that doesn’t fit properly, then the harness should not come off.

Which type should I pick for my cat?

The answer is that is really depends.

If your kitty is a kitten you can choose either design. I only make kitten harnesses with plastic buckles as the metal buckles are too heavy for kittens. I only make the jacket style harness for kittens with a Velcro strap and no secondary buckle to avoid the harness being bulky and heavy. This will allow your kitten to get used to the harness which he/she grows.

If your kitty is a younger cat with limited outdoor experience, then you may be able to choose either harness. The answer comes down to if your cat freaks out in the great outdoors, has been known to slip out of standard harnesses, get themselves wound into a mess or hasn’t had great experience with a harness before. If this sounds like your floof, I recommend the jacket harness. However, if your cat has been calm outside in the past and hasn’t actively tried to struggle out of a standard harness before, then you can also choose a standard harness – it will depend on which you like the look of more.

If your kitty is an older cat that is just starting out with a harness I would recommend the jacket harness. This is because it does not need to be put over your cat’s head and will feel less restrictive on your cat’s body overall. The Velcro and buckle design also means it is adjustable so you can get the right fit for your cat, making it is safe and secure. If your cat is particularly small, i.e., 3.5kgs or less, I recommend switching the metal buckles for plastic ones, so it is not too heavy for your cat.

If your kitty is a seasoned professional walker or has worn a standard style harness before then you can choose either style for your cat. If your cat is used to the standard harness, then they will take to the jacket style like a piece of catnip! Once again, if your cat is particularly small then I would suggest switching the metal buckles for plastic ones so as to not weight your kitty down.

And finally (don’t laugh but), if your kitty is an Instagram meowdel or an adventure kitty like Christopher Catlumbus, then you might need to put some thought into the photos you are taking of your kitty. If you like to get photos of your kitty from the front on like I do, then the standard harness is going to be best for that as the jacket harness only has the neck strap visible from the front. However, if you are action shots of your kitty or want to be able to enjoy the pattern or style of the harness you have lovingly purchased, then you will get more visibility from the jacket style harness. 


Quick Summary

Oh hello there – I see you have scrolled to the bottom of the article. Well let’s not waste time then!

The difference: The standard harness goes over your cat’s head and is not adjustable around the neck. The jacket harness has a Velcro strap and buckle around the neck and is fully adjustable around the neck and chest.

Which style is more escape proof: No harness on the market is escape proof, but because our jacket harness conforms to the correct size of your cat’s neck, it will be difficult for your cat to get its head out of the hole making it more secure. That doesn’t mean our standard harness isn’t secure as I have modified the design specifically for cats, however the jacket harness wins this round purely because of the neck strap.

Which type should I pick for my cat?

  • Either one is suitable if your cat is a kitten. Both styles use a plastic buckle instead of metal ones to reduce weight. The jacket style does not have a buckle around the neck for kittens.
  • If your cat is known to get out of standard harnesses or has limited outdoor experience: the jacket style harness is more suitable.
  • If your kitty is an older cat that hasn’t walked before: the jacket harness will be more suitable as it is less likely to make your kitty feel restricted.
  • If your kitty is a seasoned professional walker: you can choose either style. If your cat is less than 3.5kg, I recommend switching the metal buckles for plastic ones (message/ email me if you would like plastic buckles).
  • If your cat is an experienced walker then you might want to consider aesthetics if you plan to take photos. The standard harness is more visible front on when your cat is sitting, the jacket harness is more visible in action shorts and from top down when you are walking your kitty.


To conclude, although this was a long-winded article, I hope this shines some light onto my recommendations and experience with which harness style is most suitable to your kitty’s age, weight, and walking experience. As always, if you have any questions, feedback, or anything else you’d like to tell me – contact me here 😊

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