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10 DIY Cat Harness Plans You Can Build Today (with Pictures)

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By Nicole Cosgrove

Cat Harness

Putting your cat in a harness can be a fun way for your cat to safely explore the outdoors. However, it can be challenging to get your cat used to a harness, or they may never take to it at all.

Cat harnesses can be expensive, occasionally ill-fitted, and sometimes they’re a little boring to look at. Fortunately, there are plenty of DIY cat harness plans if you’re looking for a more cost-effective or fun and unique option. Here’s a list of some projects that you can try out today.

The Top 10 DIY Cat Harness Plans

1. Nylon Cat Harness

Materials: ¾-inch buckle, ¾-inch nylon webbing, ¾-inch tri-glide slide, lobster clasp, D-ring
Tools: Scissors, sewing machine, tape measure, lighter
Difficulty: Easy

This DIY cat harness has a simple and straightforward design that you can complete in a short amount of time. Since it just uses cuts of nylon webbing, there’s minimal sewing. It’s also adjustable, so it can grow with a young kitten, and you don’t have to spend too much time getting exact measurements.

The harness has two sets of buckles. One set clips around the neck and the other clips around the waist. The D-ring attaches to the waistband of the harness, so if your cat pulls, you don’t have to worry about accidental asphyxiation.

Overall, this harness is quick and easy to assemble, and it has a secure design so that your cat can roam around outside safely.


2. Cat Harness With Velcro Straps

Materials: D-ring, ¾-inch Velcro strips, 1½-inch Velcro strips, fabric
Tools: Scissors, sewing machine, tape measure
Difficulty: Intermediate

This project provides instructions for a nice Velcro-oriented harness for cats. You can select any style of fabric, but it’s recommended to use breathable fabric that doesn’t contain too much elastic. If a fabric is too stretchy, your cat can slip out of it, especially over time.

The design also provides an ample amount of support all around the cat’s body, so your cat won’t strain its neck if it pulls or runs around while wearing the harness. You can also sew small personal touches and finishes, such as buttons, bows, and bells, to the strap that holds the D-ring.


3. Denim Cat Harness

Materials: Denim, D-ring, buckles, tri-glide slide
Tools: Sewing machine, scissors, tape measure, iron
Difficulty: Moderate

If you have a pair of old jeans lying around, you can transform it into a denim cat harness. This project has straightforward instructions. All you have to do is cut strips of denim that match the width of your buckles and tri-glide slide.

However, it can take some time to complete a harness because you have to iron down each strip to make it stay flat. You also have to stitch along the entire length of the denim strips.

You can also make a matching leash by attaching a denim strip to a lobster clasp. Once you complete this project, you and your cat can dress in matching denim gear every time you go outside for a walk.


4. Crocheted Cat Harness

Materials: Worsted weight acrylic yarn, keyring
Tools: H crochet hook, tape measure
Difficulty: Easy

This cat harness is a relatively easy pattern that beginner crochet artists can make. The main stitches that it uses are half double crochet stitches and slip stitches. All you have to do is make sure to take down accurate measurements.

It’s best to have your cat try on the harness as you make it to ensure that the size is right. You can slightly adjust the size of the harness as you stitch by making loose or tight stitches. Once you complete the base of the harness, you can add an outer lining with a different color to add more fun and variety to the harness.

Keep in mind that this harness is best for cats that don’t tend to pounce or pull. Before using it outside, test out the harness in an enclosed area to ensure that your cat doesn’t slip out of it.


5. Simple Rope Harness

Materials: Cat collar, elastic rope
Tools: Hairclip
Difficulty: Easy

If your cat has never used a harness and you don’t want to spend too much money on materials or expensive harnesses, try out this quick DIY project. All you need is a cat collar and elastic rope.

This harness isn’t meant for extended use, but it’s a great makeshift option that you can use to get your cat used to wearing one. It’s thin and lightweight, so your cat won’t mind it as much as thicker harnesses made of nylon strips or fabric.

Since this harness is very thin, we don’t recommend it for outside use. Once your cat gets accustomed to this harness, you can transition to having your cat wear a thicker harness that’s more suitable for outdoor use.


6. Paracord Pet Harness

Materials: Paracord, buckles
Tools: Scissors, tape measure, candle or lighter
Difficulty: Moderate

This DIY project uses the cobra stitch to create a thick and secure harness for your cat. It might take some time to get used to braiding the cobra stitch, but once you get the hang of it, you’ll have sizable straps for the harness in no time.

Whenever you cut the paracord, it will fray. Use a lighter or candle and hold the frayed end close to the fire to fuse it together. Be careful to not hold the paracord too close to the light because it will catch fire.

Depending on the size of your cat, this harness may take some time to make. However, it has a unique design and texture due to the cobra stitch, so it’ll definitely be an eye-catching accessory that you won’t see many other cats wearing.


7. Cat Harness With Buttons

Materials: Fabric, buttons, D-ring
Tools: Sewing machine, scissors, tape measure
Difficulty: Easy

A harness using buttons is an easy alternative to using Velcro if you’re concerned with Velcro scratching your cat. This simple harness has a comfortable fabric body that you can fasten with buttons. However, you have to be particularly precise with your measurements because this harness isn’t adjustable.

Along with providing instructions for making the harness, this tutorial also includes steps for making adorable cloud wings that you can attach to the top of the harness. Therefore, it’s great as a costume, and you can also use it to walk your cat outside.


8. Reflective Cat Harness

Materials: Reflective tape, fabric, Velcro, D-ring
Tools: Sewing machine, scissors
Difficulty: Moderate

Cat owners concerned about nighttime safety can add reflective tape to a cat’s harness. This harness also uses two layers of fabric, so you can use different fun patterns for the inner and outer layers. It’s also very comfortable for your cat to wear, so you can put it on your cat for daily use.

As an added convenience, this tutorial includes a pattern template that you can use to help you draw out measurements for your cat. Once you complete this harness, you’ll be ready to take your cat outside for a walk at any time of day or night.


9. Cat Harness and Leash Set

Materials: Cotton fabric, batting, buckle straps, 10mm buckle clip, 10mm tri-glide adjustable buckle, D-ring, Snap hook, Velcro strips
Tools: Sewing machine, sewing pins, measuring tape, iron
Difficulty: Moderate

Cat owners looking for a personalized touch will like this cat harness. It’s a wide vest pattern, which means that you can display any kind of fun or cute fabric that matches your cat’s look and personality. If you’re feeling extra fancy, you can use a different kind of fabric for the inner layer.

The harness has an inner and outer layer with batting in between, so it’s very comfortable for your cat. The waistband is adjustable with Velcro, so you don’t have to worry too much about getting perfect measurements.

This DIY project comes with a basic pattern for the body of the harness, and you can also follow a video tutorial to complete it.


10. Decorated Cat Harness

Materials: Dog harness, decorations (beads, rhinestones, woolen flowers)
Tools: Needle and thread, seam ripper, hot glue gun (optional)
Difficulty: Easy

If you’re simply looking to decorate your cat’s harness, this tutorial provides inspiration for creating a unique harness that’ll stand out from the rest. All you need is an x-small or small dog harness that fits your cat and decorative materials, such as beads, rhinestones, and woolen flowers.

The tutorial also gives instructions on how to remove harness logos without damaging the harness. It also recommends using a needle and thread to sew on the decorations so that the pieces stay on securely. However, if you don’t have time to sew, you can always use a hot glue gun. Just keep in mind that using a hot glue gun may cause the pieces to fall out faster depending on your cat’s activity level.

How To Train Your Cat To Wear a Harness

Training a cat to get used to a harness usually takes some time and patience. The key is to do harness training in short, stress-free intervals and to break down the process into manageable steps for your cat.

Normalize the Harness 

Before attempting to put the harness on your cat, it’s important to get them used to the harness. Start gently placing it near your cat, and give your cat a treat every time the harness appears. Place the harness near your cat’s food bowl during meal times. The goal is to associate the harness with a delicious reward.

Investigate the Harness

Once your cat is used to seeing the harness, start to encourage it to touch the cat harness. Hold the harness in your hand and a treat in your other hand. You can hold the harness close to the treat and allow your cat to eat the treat each time it comes near the harness.

Start closing the gap and only give treats if any part of your cat’s body touches the harness. Do this repeatedly until your cat is comfortable with having the harness touch its body.

If the harness requires your cat to insert its head through it, loosen the harness so that it’s at its largest size. Then, start holding treats behind the loop of the harness. Encourage your cat to slowly peek its head through the loop, and give it a treat every time it successfully does this.

For step-in harnesses, wrap the harness around your cat’s body without buckling it. Reward your cat with a treat every time it lets you wrap the harness.

Put on the Harness

Once your cat’s completely comfortable with the harness, you can secure the buckles. Once you buckle the harness, immediately unbuckle it and give your cat a treat. Keep doing this and increase the amount of time the harness stays buckled in small increments. Eventually, your cat will become comfortable wearing the harness for longer periods of time.

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Featured Image Credit: ignartonosbg, Pixabay

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