cat with collar harness

How To Measure Your Cat For A Harness Or A Collar

When you have a cat in your life, you need to know how to keep them safe. Whether you live in an flat, a condo or another type of residence, there are many potential risks for your furry friend, including when you’re going out with your feline. However, you don’t have to deal with constant worry about what might happen if your cat gets out. There are plenty of ways that you can keep them safe and give them the freedom they crave and having a harness or a collar might be wise.

Question is, how to measure your cat when choosing the right cat gear for your pet. Here’s what you need to know about measuring cats for collars and harnesses.

Look At Your Cat’s Body Type And Measure Its Girth

The first step in measuring your cat is to look at their body type and there are three body types that most cats fit into : heavy, medium and lightweight cats. If you aren’t sure which category yours falls into, you can figure it out by looking at their overall body shape.

  • Heavy cats have a large frame and are stocky, like a Maine Coon.
  • Medium ones are more average in size and are like a Siamese.
  • And lightweight cats have a very slim frame, like a Bengal.

Now that you know which category your cat falls into, you need to look at their girth.

cat chest neck girth and size
Measure your cat’s chest and neck girths

Girth refers to how wide your cat is around the middle, running from just behind their front legs to just in front of their hind legs. To measure your cat’s girth, you’ll need a flexible tape measure.

Start at about mid-way up your cat’s back, just behind their front legs. Then, run the tape measure all the way around their middle until it reaches the middle of their back again.

How To Measure A Cat For A Harness?

Cat with a harness sitting in the grass (Greeshma Gangadharan – Unsplash)

If you’re measuring your cat for a harness, you’ll first want to measure your cat’s girth, you need to make sure that your cat’s girth falls within the range for the harness size you’re considering.

Now that you know the right size, it’s time to measure your cat for and here are the steps:

  1. Start by letting your cat stand up with their head facing forward.
  2. Put the harness on your cat with the back of it against their skin.
  3. Put your cat’s front paws into the harness, or you can put their front legs through the harness while they are standing. The idea is to make sure that the harness is properly fitted and to be snug enough that it won’t slip off, but not too tight that it’s uncomfortable for your kitty.

Once you have the harness on your cat, you’ll want to make sure the straps are in the correct place. The straps should run from just behind your cat’s front legs all the way around their body and to their hind legs. And there should be equal amounts of harness strap on both sides.

How To Measure Your Cat For A Collar?

Lovely furry cat with a nice red collar
Lovely furry cat with a nice red collar (Mariam Soliman – Unsplash)

Such as for the harness, the best way to start is to measure your cat’s girth, especially the size of his neck, and then follow these steps:

  1. Let your cat stand up with their head facing forward.
  2. Put the cat collar on your pet with the collar’s inside against their skin, then strap it.

You want the wide part of the collar to be touching your cat’s sides. Make sure that the collar is properly fitted, but again, not too tight, so it’s not uncomfortable for your kitty. The collar must sit just under your cat’s chin and behind your cat’s ears.

Remember, not too tight, the collar should not be a problem when your cat wants to move its head

How To Choose The Size Of The Leash?

Leashed kitty laying on the road
Leashed kitty laying on the road (Zoë Gayah Jonker – Unsplash)

To take your feline friend for walks around and shine in your neighbourhood, you’ll need a proper leash size. To choose the right one, measure your cat’s back, from the base of their neck to the base of their tail. Then, look at its chest and measure from the base of the neck to the widest part of the chest.

For cats, you can choose from a variety of different leashes. There are retractable leashes, traditional leashes and even one-handed leashes designed for our furry fellows.

Whichever type of leash you buy, just make sure that it is the right size:

  • If the leash is too long, your cat may get tangled in it.
  • If the leash is too short, your cat might be able to slip out of it.

Lastly, it would be wise to go for a cat collar or harness that has a safety breakaway clasp, so that your cat doesn’t get caught up in things or hurt themselves if they get caught on something.


Cats are wonderful companions, and keeping them safe is important! When you know how to measure a cat for a harness or collar and leash set, it will be easy to find the right fit for your kitty. Plus, you’ll be able to keep your feline friend safe and explore their adventurous side. Cats love to be outside, but they’re also very curious creatures. They may find themselves in danger without you even knowing it. But there are so many ways that you can keep your cat safe. Whether you choose a harness or collar and leash set, it’s important to make sure that it’s the right size for your cat.

Header Image Credit : Piotr Musioł – Unsplash

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Claire Howell

Claire Howell

Claire Howell is a Knoxville-based veterinarian who loves nature and all types of animals, from dogs, cats, birds, reptiles, and rabbits. She graduated from a vet diploma in 2013 and has been working as a vet since. Claire lives with her husband and two children - both of whom are also animal lovers!

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