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Tactical Cat Harnesses: Truth vs. Myth

Rachel Giordano

By Rachel Giordano

Lady walking cat with harness

When it comes to taking walks with our beloved pets, dogs typically are the pets owners take for walks without a thought, but with cats, going for walks can be a completely different experience. Some cats take to wearing harnesses, and some don’t. That said, what kind of harness should you buy your cat? What about tactical cat harnesses? Do they work?

What Are Tactical Cat Harnesses?

Tactical cat harnesses are marketed as stylish and functional accessories for adventurous cats. They are also marketed as an escape-proof harness made from breathable nylon fabric. Tactical harnesses were initially created for law enforcement and military personnel for functionality, performance, and comfort. So, are tactical cat harnesses truth or myth? Let’s dive in to find out.

a cat wearing a harness
Photo Credit: Georgina Winney, Shutterstock

Before You Consider a Tactical Harness

Before even considering taking your cat for a walk with any harness, you must leash train your cat; otherwise, you’re wasting your time and your cat’s time!

For starters, always use a harness to attach the leash rather than your cat’s collar. This can cause injury to your cat’s neck in case you need to pull them back to you (never tug harshly!).

Leash training your cat gives your feline companion a chance to explore the outdoors in a safe manner with you. You don’t have to take your cat for walks; however, your cat will likely enjoy the enrichment.

How to Leash Train Your Cat

To begin, familiarize your cat with the harness before ever going outside with it on. Bust it out when your cat is comfortable and allow them to sniff it. You can even coat it in a feline calming spray or place catnip somewhere on it. If your cat investigates, reward them with a treat.

Place the harness against your body and allow them to sniff. Again, reward with treats when your cat is calm. Once they seem unbothered by the harness, try placing it on their body. If they don’t react negatively, go ahead and fasten the buckles. If they resist, abort and try again some other time. Bear in mind that this process may take several weeks.

Attach the leash and venture outdoors once your cat is comfy with the harness. Never force the issue. If your cat is uncomfortable, take them back inside and remove the harness. Repeat as necessary, and consistently reward with treats when they comply.

cat wearing a harness
Image Credit: Abi’s Photos, Shutterstock

The Truths of Tactical Cat Harnesses

Before we can determine if these harnesses are truth or myth, let’s first explore the truths.

1. They Are Designed for Breathability and Comfort

Tactical cat harnesses are made from lightweight, breathable mesh that’s supposed to be comfier for your cat. They are also designed with a vest-style fit that evenly distributes pressure across the torso rather than the shoulders and neck. This reduces rubbing their skin, which can irritate your cat. It’s also supposed to prevent your cat from wiggling out.

2. They Are Bulky

Think of military personnel or law enforcement officers reporting for duty. They will have plenty of tactical gear on that allows for durability, mobility, concealment, range of movement, and weapon accommodation; however, cats are obviously not human and do not need all the accessories that come from tactical gear.

3. They Use the MOLLE System

MOLLE stands for Modular Lightweight Load-Carrying Equipment. This system of straps allows for additional accessory attachments and gear, which felines do not particularly need. Such accessories can be American flag patches and GoPro cam mounts, which are unnecessary. However, some gear may be beneficial, such as pockets for waste bags and treats, night safety lights, and reflective strips for visibility.

4. They Limit Mobility

Even though these harnesses are marketed to allow for natural movement and not hinder mobility, many consumers claim this is not the case. Cats love to explore, especially outdoors, but the bulkiness of tactical cat harnesses may hamper a cat’s natural curiosity and hunting instincts, which equates to an unhappy cat.

hepper cat harness

5. They Are Expensive

Many cat harnesses on the market today are affordable; they are also marketed much in the same way as tactical harnesses but without the extra costs. Basically, you’re paying for the additional “tactical” gear that may not be needed in the first place.

6. They Are Hard to Put On

These harnesses come with many clips to fasten, which can make putting it on your cat a daunting task. A harness does not need as many clips as these harnesses have. You can buy a cheaper harness with fewer clips that will do the same job.

The Myths of Tactical Cat Harnesses

Now that we know the truths about tactical cat harnesses, let’s explore the myths. Keep in mind the myths are based on consumer reviews who have actually purchased this type of harness.

1. They Are Escape-Proof

As good as it sounds, these harnesses are not escape-proof. There is no such thing as an “escape-proof” harness. If a cat wants out, they will do whatever it takes to accomplish it. This is where correctly leash training your cat is vital in keeping your cat safe while on a leash.

2. They Do Not Hinder Mobility

These harnesses are bulky, and that alone can most definitely hinder your cat’s natural movements. Cats rely on freedom of movement, flexibility, and agility, and these harnesses are simply too bulky to allow for natural movement, even though they are marketed as such.

3. They Are Snug and Comfy

These harnesses may be snug, but comfy is not something many consumers claim. Cats seem uncomfortable in these harnesses and may refuse to even walk with them on. Plus, they do not fit cats as well as dogs.

cat wearing a harness while lying on grass
Image Credit: Chewy

So, What’s the Verdict on Tactical Cat Harnesses?

Based on consumer reviews and the truths about the functionality of these harnesses, we surmise that the marketing hype of these harnesses may lean more toward myths rather than truths. We read many reviews claiming cats escaped and were uncomfortable in the harness, which stands to reason considering their bulkiness.

While they look adorable and make your cat look like they’re ready for combat, they are not necessary, and you can buy a much cheaper harness that will keep your cat comfy with lightweight, nylon material that will not hinder your cat’s natural movements.


There’s no harm in trying a tactical cat harness if you’re up for the challenge; just be aware that they are not escape-proof and may limit your cat’s mobility. Every cat is different, and your cat may like this harness. However, you don’t have to break the bank by purchasing this type of harness when you can buy a cheaper one that will do everything this harness is supposed to do.

Featured Image Credit: Amerigo_images, Shutterstock

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