Knowing your cat harness options first serves you well later in time, money, and unnecessary frustration.
The H Style Harness
From the top view, this harness forms an H.
A cross strap connects the loop that goes around the neck to the loop that is tied around the chest.
H style harness is the most straightforward design harness. Theoretically, the pressure is spread between the neck loop and the chest loop. However, when you pay attention to the point of contact, you’ll notice it is relatively small.
Think about it this way, if someone hanked on your belt from behind, do you feel it on your sides, or the back? You’ll feel most of the pressure around your belly button.
It may be a good intro for the cat to get used to a harness, but I don’t like using them for the way their small surface contact.
I don’t know about your cat, but my cats seem to get spooked easily, and the last thing I want is for them to jump and get hanked by two thin loops around their neck and chest.
Vest Style Harnesses
Vest style harness addresses the shortcoming of small surface contact of the H style harness. Your cat’s entire chest is covered by what is, in effect, a reverse vest. The pressure gets spread around.
Just like a belt example, imagine someone hanking on the front of your coat. The pressure is spread on your entire back, and unlike the belt, you probably can’t even tell where on your back.
I mentioned that vest-style harnesses are inverted vests. It closes in the back. It still has a neck loop that has to go on first, and then you tie in the chest loop to form the reverse vest.
The challenge is moving your cat’s head through the neck loop. This is called a turtle neck effect since the cat’s head is moving through the loop like a turtle head moving out of its shell.
Step in harness addresses the challenge of putting the cat’s head through the neck loop. The harness goes on your cat’s front legs. In essence, your cat is stepping into two loops. Then you close the neck and chest loops.
Unlike the H harness, the connecting bar in step-in harness is in front and helps to spread the pressure. And depending on the width of the connecting strap, it can serve just as well as a vest style harness without the stress of turtle neck effect of the vest style harness.