Leash this Beast
February 8, 2024 7:03 AM   Subscribe

Trying to find a harness for something of a pear-shaped cat-dog.

Cordelia (cat tax) is a former outdoor/stray cat who is mostly satisfied with her indoor life, but we travel full-time so she's in a lot of new places and, most pertinent here, will be going on a multi-day road trip next month. She will ride in a secured large dog crate, but there will be transitions where she could bolt and she is sometimes a bolter so we want to be able to harness her comfortably but very securely during transitions and in any emergencies.

She's kind of a unit: 13lbs, dense, and in her previous life was both a self-sufficient rural Vermonter AND a Six-Dinner Sid so that I first took her to the vet assuming she was pregnant. (They eventually took her back and shaved her to find her spay scar, but as the vet was palpating she was like, "hmm, nooo, that's just...resources.") She's also really looong, the normal Large litter box is a little short for her, but she's actually got kind of a dainty chest under there, I guess I'd call her high-waisted and it's like she's got double the belly-length. Which means harnesses that fit around her middle at all are more around her gut than her sternum, which seems like poor support if she tries to rocket off at high speeds.

People we know in cat rescue recommend the padded vest-type harnesses over the stringy ones, which makes sense to me, but the two we've bought have been misproportioned on both ends - we have to tighten the neck to the smallest and the torso band (the one in front of me in 19" long) does not overlap enough to give me good velcro feelings, and I'm not even sure velcro is going to do it here. She let us put it on her without bloodshed, so I'm encouraged, but it fit terribly and she pretty promptly got her feet stuck all up in it trying to get it off.

Has anyone here found a suitable harness for this shape of cat? I wonder if we should actually look for dog harnesses, which seem more adjustable, and if so do any small-dog owners have recommendations for models to try?
posted by Lyn Never to Pets & Animals (6 answers total) 1 user marked this as a favorite
Quincy Tyler Quattrogato (cat tax) fits the M/L Kitty Holster, and they'll do custom sizing as needed.
posted by evoque at 7:20 AM on February 8 [2 favorites]

These can actually be sewn/created. I would look at maybe finding a seller on Etsy who makes their own, and can customize it to your measurements. Something in this style might work for you?
posted by hydra77 at 7:22 AM on February 8 [1 favorite]

I have no recommendations; I just wanted to say I love your cat. She is shaped like a friend.
posted by Kitteh at 9:28 AM on February 8 [13 favorites]

We have one that operates something like this one (not a specific recco, just the first one I found that was similar) in that the harness goes underneath the chest and then is clasped by a kind of loop over the shoulders that can then be tightened as needed. I wish I could find the exact one we have, but I think my wife got it from a Shein/Temu/AliExpress type vendor and can't find the exact item anymore.
posted by Rock Steady at 10:44 AM on February 8 [1 favorite]

Ours are apparently houdini-cats - those partial or full vest-style ones will NOT stay on our squiggly beasts.

Right or wrong, we finally decided that since our primary purpose is ensuring that the harness stay ON so kitty does not escape. So we ONLY use the kind with two separately adjustable loops for belly and neck made of just nylon harness material. (And not the step-in ones - not even my dog will successfully stay in those. I really find those useless.)

Anything else, we've had a cat escape from. Well, other than a cat grooming bag. And that would be a bit excessive for a trip. Of course, I'd resort to one of those if absolutely necessary, because Mad-but-Safe Cat would be better than Lost-and-Sad Cat.
posted by stormyteal at 1:50 PM on February 8

Cordelia is just magnificent!! I don't know if this type of harness would work for her, but take her measurements and see. Beast and Buckle harnesses are much wider and are higher up on the torso. I know many Frenchie people swear by them (they have seasonal collections).

Admittedly, the patterns are a little loud, however a lot of them are reversible. There are usually coupon codes floating around. The company is owned by a guy who created the business. He does give discounts to first responders, veterans, and teachers (it's referenced under 'special discounts' on the page).

Please give that beautiful meow a chin scratch for me!
posted by dancinglamb at 1:55 PM on February 8

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