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The 5 Best Harnesses For Bengal Cats

Many cat owners would love to train their furry companions to walk on a harness and leash just like a dog. This creates opportunities for exercise, brain stimulation, and a chance to bond during walks. But there are things you need to know before you purchase a harness for your Bengal cat.

The 5 best harnesses for Bengal cats are:

  1. Katkin Reflective Vest and Leash Set
  2. Voyager All Weather Step-In Mesh Harness
  3. Sleepypod Martingale Cat Harness
  4. Pangdi Cat Harness and Leash
  5. Supet Mesh Harness

In the article below, we’ll cover the benefits of harness training your Bengal as well as the necessary steps to train them properly. Additionally, we will talk about what to look for in a harness to ensure their safety and comfort, as well as the top-rated harnesses for Bengals.

Why Do You Need A Harness For Your Bengal Cat?

Training your Bengal on a harness can be beneficial for both you and them. Harness training presents different exercise opportunities like routine walks in your back yard or local park. This provides additional exercise for your Bengal and sensory stimulation to promote better brain health.

It isn’t necessary or even feasible for every Bengal to have a harness. Harness training is a matter of choice and depends on your lifestyle and your location. If you live in a busy city or an area prone to other dangers, you may not feel comfortable taking your Bengal on outings. Some Bengals might just not enjoy the harness and there is no sense in forcing it on them.

Additionally, harness training can make certain activities easier on you and your Bengal. One example would be vet visits, having the ability to walk your Bengal rather than confining them to a carrier can help ease their anxiety and save you the frustration of getting them into the carrier. With that said you’ll need a cat friendly safety belt in your car.

Harness training can also help if you are interested in cat shows. The harness guides your Bengal using the pressure of the vest harness, which can aid in having them walk with you rather than going their own way. This is great for cat shows, as you must demonstrate levels of obedience. Additionally, it’s good for obstacle training, leading them through different ramps and jumps.

What To Look For When Buying A Bengal Cat Harness

When shopping for a harness for your Bengal, you’ll first want to figure out what size harness will be best for them. If you are comfortable measuring them yourself, all you will need is a seamstress measuring tape.

Most harness companies recommend you measure the circumference of your Bengal’s chest area for proper sizing. This is done by taking the tape measure and wrapping it around your Bengal’s chest just behind their front legs and connecting just below the base of the neck. Record this measurement for future use when looking at harnesses.

When browsing for harnesses, you want to look at the sizing charts listed on the label. Depending on the harness, they may be adjustable between certain measurements. Look for a harness that contains your Bengals measurements in the middle, so that you can adjust smaller or larger to find a snug fit.

Measurements are usually accurate, but you’ll want the ability to adjust it in case your Bengal is a little larger or smaller. The last thing you want is a harness that fits too loosely or tightly, as both can result in problems. If it’s too loose, your Bengal can easily slip away. If it’s too tight, it can cause unnecessary pressure.

Choose The Right Type Of Harness

You’ll also want to be careful of what type of harness you choose, especially if it says suitable for both cats and small dogs. Dog harnesses often go higher up and apply pressure on the neck, which is safe on a dog and helps train them to restrain themselves. However, cats have sensitive necks and too much pressure can cause injury or cause them to choke.

To prevent this, you want a harness that sits on the chest below the neck, this way the pressure is applied to the chest. Pressure to the chest creates a sense of comfort, but also allows you to have more control on where your Bengal is going without injuring their neck.

Strap Harness vs Full Vest

Bengals are smart and can figure their way out of some tricky situations, including improper harnesses. For this reason, it’s suggested you select a full vest harness rather than a strap harness. A fully fitted harness will be worn more like a vest or jacket hugging your Bengal’s sides and chest without gaps, other than the leg and head holes.

Strap harnesses consist of a few straps and clips that a Bengal can easily find their way out of. This can be incredibly dangerous if you are out on a walk. If your Bengal escapes, they can get lost, run over, or even attacked by predators including aggressive dogs. A vest harness will help ensure they are less likely to escape and get hurt or lost.

Keep in mind that although vest harnesses are considered safer, no harness is guaranteed to be escape proof. What works for one cat may not work for another. After purchasing your harness, it’s essential you test it before taking your Bengal outside. Walk them around the house and leave it on for 15 minutes to see how your Bengal reacts.

Their harness should provide comfort and support, avoiding pressure to the neck. The material should be breathable, especially in warm weather, to prevent overheating, which can cause heat stroke. Ultimately, you want your Bengal to have full range of motion, comfort, and safety for an enjoyable outing.

Different Types Of Harness For Bengal Cats

When shopping for harnesses, you will come across a few different designs and styles. We touched on this lightly in what to look for in a harness, but let’s expand a little bit on exactly what they are and the features each one offers your Bengal cat.

“H” Harness

An “H” harness is referred to as such for the “H” shape it displays when it’s fully opened prior to putting it on your Bengal cat. They are usually comprised of thin- to medium-width straps that wrap around your cat’s waist and front legs, and sometimes there is an additional strap for around the neck. Straps are generally connected with clips and are adjustable.

The downside to this harness for a Bengal is that cats are built differently from dogs, who are more suited for an “H” style harness. These harnesses tend to put added pressure on the points of contact making it uncomfortable or even painful for cats. “H” harnesses also don’t distribute pressure as evenly, making it harder to control your cat while on leash.

Vest Harness

A vest harness, on the other hand, is much more suitable for a Bengal and is often a step-in design rather than multiple clips and straps. Vests are padded and have a chest strap for added security and comfort. Typically, they sit below the neck and hug the front of the chest relieving pressure and reducing injuries to the neck.

Usually, a vest harness will incorporate breathable nylon mesh materials and strong Velcro to keep it in place. Others will have added cinching straps and a clip with a “D” ring for added reinforcement where the leash connects. These harnesses allow your cat to feel like they have more control rather than being pulled around.

Jacket Harness

Finally, you have a jacket harness, which is very similar to a vest but is like wearing a full piece of clothing. These are great for Bengals, especially if you are just starting out your training or have a skittish cat. The added security of the vest makes them feel safe and helps prevent them from escaping.

Typically made from durable nylon, they feature either a mesh design or more of a solid jacket-style material. Both are lightweight and breathable, and the solid material design is usually water resistant. Jackets incorporate strong Velcro most often, but you may find some designs that also have added straps and clips.

The 5 Best Harnesses For Bengal Cats

1. Katkin Reflective Vest And Leash Set

This harness and leash combo by Katkin is one of the most popular cat harnesses on the market. Designed for both comfort and safety, this harness features a combination of a strapped and vest harness. The straps come with a double “D” ring and have reflective strips on both sides for added safety for evening walks and in the unlikely event your Bengal somehow escapes.

The vest is made from a comfortable and breathable mesh that will prevent overheating and provide efficient airflow. The mesh also allows for better range of movement and doesn’t apply pressure to the neck or underarms. Both the harness and leash are made of a heavy-duty nylon. As an added convenience, both can be machine washed and hung to dry for easy cleaning.

Sizes range from extra small to large and offers accurate measurements for each size so that you can order accordingly for your Bengal. Sizing charts are labeled in both inches and centimeters for your convenience. The leash is just the right amount of length measuring about four feet, allowing you to keep your Bengal close but still having enough length to explore.

This harness is considered to be budget friendly while still being able to offer high quality materials and performance.

PROS:

  • Made of light breathable material
  • Variety of sizes for a comfortable and safe fit
  • Reflective safety strips

CONS:

  • Can be tough to find

2. Voyager All Weather Step-In Mesh Harness

* Check Price Here *

Like the Katkin harness, this harness has some additional straps to help secure your Bengal and not solely rely on the harnesses Velcro. These straps however, are not as adjustable and are mainly there for clipping on your leash and reinforcing the vest. That said, this vest is still of high quality and provides comfort and security.

Made from an all-weather, breathable mesh, your Bengal can enjoy the outdoors at all times of the year. With reinforced stitching to keep from wear and tear for long lasting durability and keeping your Bengal safe. There is even extra padding at the seams around the arms and chest area for extra comfort from pressure.

Added features include a double “D” ring for reinforced leash attachment and reflective bands at the front of the vest. The reflective bands do not cover the whole side of the harness but are enough to reflect during evening walks.

The Voyager comes in a variety of sizes ranging from extra-small to extra-large and comes with accurate measurements in inches and centimeters. They also include a free sizing guide on how to accurately measure your Bengal for the correct fit. As a bonus the Voyager comes in over ten color varieties and is budget friendly.

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PROS:

  • All weather breathable mesh
  • Provided sizing guide for accurate fit
  • Reinforced stitching for longevity

CONS:

  • Some complaints of cats being able to escape
  • Leg holes are a bit larger than some vests, not great for escape artists

3. Sleepypod Martingale Cat Harness

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This harness has different features compared to the other models discussed. While still considered a vest harness, it does not have a chest pad the way other vests do. Instead, this harness fastens around your Bengal just below the neck and around the waist using strong Velcro.

Special features of this harness include strong industrial level stitching for long-term use and lightweight, breathable mesh that can be machine washed and hang dried. Adjustable Velcro straps at the neck and waist make the perfect fit while maintaining comfort.

It also has a unique cinching feature where the double “D” rings connect at the base of the neck to prevent escape. Other harnesses without the cinching straps are often more escapable if the cat backs away from you and slips out. The Sleepypod cinching feature essentially applies enough pressure to pull the harness tighter when trying your Bengal tries to escape.

While lightweight this vest features multiple layers for extra padding while still being breathable. This makes for an ultra-comfortable vest for your Bengal, relieving pressure on joints, around the neck, and waist area.

* Check Price Here *

PROS:

  • High-quality materials
  • Highly rated for safety
  • Great customer service and assistance

CONS:

  • May be a little difficult to put on for the first time
  • Does not have a chest strap

4. Pangdi Cat Harness And Leash

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If you like the design of the Sleepypod but are on a tighter budget, we suggest the Pangdi as an alternative. Very similar to the Sleepypod, it straps around the waist and front of the chest without a chest pad going across the bottom of your Bengal. An additional feature to this model is that it comes with clips and Velcro.

The combination of Velcro and clips makes for a more secure fit for those who want some extra reinforcement to keep their Bengal in the harness. The straps are adjustable with the Velcro to find the perfect fit. Two are two places equipped with “D” rings by the nape or back depending on what is best for you.

Made from lightweight but sturdy nylon mesh, this vest is comfortable and has padded stitching around the waist and neck straps for added comfort and relief of pressure. The mesh is double layered for even more comfort while remaining breathable to prevent your Bengal from overheating. It’s machine washable and suggests hang drying to prolong its durability.

A notable difference between this model and the Sleepypod is this vest does not extend as long down the back of your cat. This may make escape more likely because there is less of the harness for the cat to negotiate out of. However, if you have securely strapped the harness and secured it snuggly, your cat should not be able to escape.

* Check Price Here *

PROS:

  • Adjustable straps with reinforced clips and Velcro
  • Budget friendly
  • Added padding for comfort

CONS:

  • Shorter than most vests, and could be escaped from if not secured correctly

5. Supet Mesh Harness

* Check Price Here *

The Supet combines features of a vest harness and an “H” harness and is designed for those who want a little of both. Unlike a strap harness, it still has a chest pad and a back pad for extra security and comfort. The head portion is connected by two straps and the top and bottom pads, making a head hole that slips over your Bengal’s head. The straps are adjustable to your cat’s neck size.

After slipping the harness over your Bengal’s head, you can connect the chest and back pads together using the clip-on straps. Once the clips are securely in place, you can adjust the straps to your cat’s personal size. Be sure to purchase the correct size for your Bengal according to the sizing guide so that you can adjust it accordingly.

Because it has the vest design incorporated, it allows for better leash control by distributing the pressure evenly. This allows your Bengal to have more freedom of motion and not feel like they are being tugged on. The included leash along with the harness also have reflective strips that even work in ambient lighting for added visibility.

* Check Price Here *

PROS:

  • Best features of both vest and H-strap harness
  • Adjustable clips and straps
  • Chest and back pads for added comfort and security

CONS:

  • Slip-over-the-head design may not be ideal for all Bengals

How To Harness Train Your Bengal Cat

1. Fitting The Harness For The First Time

Make sure the harness you purchased for your Bengal cat fits securely without too much pressure. The challenge is convincing your Bengal this is a good thing, as they are not used to wearing clothing and it will be a new sensation for them. Some Bengals take to wearing a harness right away, while others might give you a hard time at first. Patience is key when training your Bengal.

First, start by letting them sniff and investigate the harness before trying to put it on. You may even give them a little treat during this little warm up. Once they have inspected the harness, gently attempt to have them either step in or strap on the harness, depending on design. If they continue to be calm, finish fastening the harness and give your Bengal a treat.

If they are too skittish and pull away immediately, stop the process and give them a treat to show them it’s okay. You can also try petting them to give them some comfort, and then allow them to start over and reinvestigate the situation. This could take a few attempts and even a few days until they become comfortable enough to have you put it on.

2. Wearing The Harness Without A Leash

Now that you have successfully gotten your Bengal to wear their harness, let them wander around to get used to the feeling. Don’t be alarmed or surprised if your Bengal decides to just lay there or walk awkwardly as if they had a little too much catnip. This is perfectly normal as it’s a new sensation.

If it allows, have your cat wear the harness for about 15 minutes at a time, depending on their level of comfort. Their body language will tell you when they have had enough or if they are stressed out. Reward this session with a treat, playtime, or petting. Eat cat responds to different positive reinforcement. Some cats are driven by food while others respond to touch.

Continue these brief sessions of wearing a harness around the house without a leash. You can have multiple sessions in a day or once per day depending on their comfortability. Continue to reward to instill positive reinforcement. This will have them associating the harness with positive experiences.

3. Attaching The Leash

If your Bengal is comfortable walking around while wearing their harness, you are now ready to add the leash. This step can be tricky, as it adds a new layer of sensation for your free-roaming Bengal. Once the leash is attached your cat will notice the added restraint and more than likely flop over in disdain.This reaction is completely normal and will likely be the end of the first session.

However, some Bengals who are less finicky may get up and attempt to walk around, although probably awkwardly. Instead of holding the leash, allow your cat to drag it behind them. This will give them enough sensation without them feeling too constrained. However, it’s important that you are present to monitor your cat otherwise they can tangle themselves up.

Repeat these sessions a few more times until your Bengal becomes comfortable with the leash dragging behind them. Remember to still reward them, as they are being made to do something they are not used to doing. In other words, keep things positive!

4. Walking On The Leash

Once your Bengal has graduated to moving about with the leash dragging behind, you can now attempt to hold the leash while walking them around the house. Keep in mind that it can take up to a month for your Bengal to get comfortable with the leash. Harness training even with an easy-to-train Bengal is rarely a fast process.

Allow your Bengal to get into their harness and start walking with the leach dragging. Call them to you and give them some love, or a treat, and grab the leash. Make sure to show them that you have done this. Once you’re ready, stand up and allow your Bengal to start to walk like normal, and walk slowly behind them.

You want your cat to feel the added tension of the leash, but you don’t want to stand still because they can pull away and come to a dead stop. This can be alarming to a cat, and they can feel overwhelmed to be constrained so suddenly. You want them to still feel the freedom of walking and become comfortable with you holding the leash behind them.

Continue to practice walking around the house a few times a day for 10-15 minutes at a time until your Bengal becomes comfortable. It should get to the point where when your Bengal sees their harness, they will be excited and ready to go for their house walk.

5. Attempting A Walk Outdoors

Now that your Bengal has become a pro at walking indoors with their harness, it’s now time to attempt the real thing. Before making this attempt, there are several things to consider in order to keep you and your Bengal safe. Be sure to perform a safety check of your cat’s harness. Look for any damage, test the secured straps and “D” rings, and ensure your leash hook is in working order.

Use a proper leash for outdoors, about 4-5 feet maximum. The more range they have the more likely they could hurt themselves or pull enough to get out of the harness. Remember, even if they never escaped their harness before, no harness is escape-proof, and a calm cat indoors is very different from a stressed overly stimulated cat outdoors.

Where To Take Your First Outdoor Walk

If you have your own back yard, you already have an advantage. It’s even better if you have a fence. Having an enclosed yard is the most ideal place for a first outing, as it provides some security in the event your Bengal tries to get loose. Typically, your own yard will be free of most loud noises and in the case of a solid fence, they cannot be triggered by anything passing by.

Even an enclosed front or back porch can be a great place to start. It will give your Bengal the feeling of being outside but also completely secured. You want them to be able to be exposed to their new surroundings, but it can also be very stressful.

If you live in a busy area or city finding an ideal place can be difficult and your Bengal will have to get used to loud sounds and unexpected stimulation. In this case, it can take a while to get them fully used to going outside. However, once acclimated outings will become and enjoyable experience. You can also attempt to find a local park with more open and green space.

Taking The First Steps

Once all your safety checks are complete and your Bengal is ready to go, open the door and allow your Bengal to make the first move. Many Bengals will move forward on their own, even if they do slowly. Others may take it slow, sniffing around, taking small steps, being cautious and observant. There are also Bengals who will try to bolt without a care in the world.

You may have to persuade them to exit the house. This doesn’t mean they will never walk outside, only they just need a little incentive. Usually, you can step out first and they will gingerly follow, but if not, try placing a treat just outside the door next to you. This should get them interested and believe it’s safe.

Once outside, take things slow and allow your Bengal to take their time taking in their surroundings. Most of the time might be spent in one spot, depending on their confidence and curiosity. Be sure to show them plenty of attention in order to reassure them. If at any time your cat seems overly stressed or are struggling to get out of their harness, bring them back inside.

Your first outing should only be for 15 minutes maximum in order to not overwhelm them and allow them to get used to things gradually. You can do these short exercises a few times a day to get them comfortable with the idea walking outdoors.

6. Routine Walks

Once your Bengal is feeling confident in the great outdoors, you can begin to take them more places. Just remember, each place is going to be filled with new sights and smells and should always be taken slowly. Read your Bengals body language and gage their comfortability.

Soon your Bengal should be confident in taking walks anywhere, whether it be around the block or the local pet store for some yummy treats. Being able to take your Bengal more places means more time spent with them and the more they will see and learn.

Make weekly or daily walks a part of your regular routine and develop a consistent schedule. Your Bengal is one smart kitty and just like a dog, they will know when it’s time to go out for their regular walks. Just keep in mind all the safety precautions discussed to keep walks an enjoyable experience for both you and your Bengal.

Harness vs Leash And Collar For Bengal Cats

Both collars and harnesses require a leash to control. You may be thinking it might be easier to train them to walk with a collar as it’s easier to put on and less training intensive. However, a leash and collar may not be the best option for your kitty.

A cat’s neck is very sensitive and can be easily injured under pressure. Collars are only on the neck so all pressure caused by the tension of the leash will press against your Bengals throat. If they get spooked and decide to run, they can “clothesline” themselves and the force applied from the sudden stop can cause severe damage to their throat, even causing them to pass out.

Cats are also less efficiently led by a leash and collar and respond better to the even distribution of pressure from a harness. A harness feels less demanding, whereas a leash and collar can feel like they are being forced into a direction.

Additionally, a collar is more easily pulled off, allowing your Bengal to escape and find themselves in danger of injury or being lost. Therefore, it’s highly recommended if you want to take your Bengal for walks outdoors, stick with a leash and harness.It will better ensure the safety of your Bengal resulting in less worry for you.

Best Harness Alternative For Bengal Cats

If you are trying to just expose your Bengal to the outdoors but aren’t as comfortable taking them on walks and harness training, you may want to consider a “catio.” A catio is a great way to have your cat spend time outdoors in a safe, enclosed area and without all the training.

While it doesn’t involve going for walks down the street, a catio can provide plenty of outdoor stimulation, especially if you construct it with plenty of entertainment. Most people will build ramps and lofting space in their catio, so their cats have plenty of high and low spaces.

Bengals love the water, and it’s even possible to provide them with a shallow pool for warm sunny days. Other ideas include rock walls, small houses, outdoor feeders, and fountains. Catios can also be attached and detached from your home. If you want your Bengal to have access at any time, we suggest a catio attached to your home with a cat door.

Final Thoughts

There are many harness options if you want to train your Bengal cat. Harnesses are better for cats than collars because the pressure from the collar can hurt their necks. Training your Bengal to walk on a harness can take time, but the pleasure you and your cat will receive will make it worth it.