Do you want to teach your cat to wear a harness but you have no clue which harness to buy? Or do you have a slightly bigger cat, like a British Shorthair, and a harness always seem to be too small? In this article I’ll show you our Tre Ponti Liberta harness, sizing and our experience.
Requirements of a good harness
Our kittens were 4 months old when we started looking for a good harness. You will run into quite the issue, certainly if you have British Shorthair kittens. They will grow out it before you know it! Of course you don’t want to keep buying new harnesses in bigger sizes, so it was an interesting dilemma for us. Are we going to wait until they are almost fully grown? Or buy a harness now and get a new one when it doesn’t fit anymore?
We also had some other requirements:
- Has to be comfortable for the cat
- Limit the possibilities of escape (but with a cat it will never be completely escape-proof)
- Being able to hold it with one hand for training purposes
- Being able to grow into it a little
- Good quality
One of the brands we found is Tre Ponti. It’s an Italian brand that makes harnesses for dogs. This is what they say about themselves on their website:
Tre Ponti’s quality is founded on having the best materials, using a hand-picked list of suppliers (only the most reliable) and having a refined craftsmanship that has been perfected in our tailor’s workshop. We do ongoing research and when developing each new product we always aim to meet the specific demands that our lovely clients have expressed. We also get inspiration from taking walks with our own four-legged friends! Over forty years of tailoring experience has enabled us to design harnesses that are more and more comfortable, ergonomic and attractive, that are kind on your dog’s fur and that help you to connect with your dog.
This sounded very good and they appeared to have one model, the ‘Liberta’, that is also suitable for cats. I normally buy a lot of things online, but I have no knowledge of good harnesses. We found a store nearby that sells them so we could actually hold it and see if it indeed was good quality. Which it was! There are a lot of stores that sell them in the Netherlands, but other countries might be difficult. You can see if you can buy it directly from their own e-shop, although they do not ship to every country.
The Liberta model is meant for small dogs, but therefore also suitable for cats. It uses a cord to close, so it means the cat has a lot of room to move. As soon as he makes himself smaller, to escape, the harness makes itself smaller too. We use it in combination with a retractable cord lead, so there is always some tension on the harness and cord. It’s not meant to completely prevent your cat from escaping, a good houdini could probably still find it’s way out of it.
Sizes of the harness
The official sizing is a little difficult, as it assumes you are measuring a dog 😀 Because of the Liberta model, the chest circumference is the most important number you should look at. Not how heavy your cat is. The chest circumference is measured behind the front paws and make sure to measure when your cat stands on his 4 legs so not when he sits! Measure like a tailor would do, not loosely.
The following measurements are advised for the available sizes from the Liberta model. If you are in doubt, take a size smaller if you buy based on the weight of your cat. If you use the chest circumference, buy the size listed below.
1 – tot 3 kg, chest circumference 31 cm – 34 cm
1,5 – tot 4 kg, chest circumference 34 cm – 38 cm
2 – tot 5 kg, chest circumference 39 cm – 42 cm
2,5 – tot 6 kg, chest circumference 44 cm – 48 cm
3 – tot 7 kg, chest circumference > 48 cm
Kittens that are still growing
If you have a kitten it is difficult to get the right size harness. I found a shop nearby that sells Tre Ponti and they allowed me to buy the harness, go home to see if it fits and come back and exchange it if the size I bought was wrong. Pebbles is slightly smaller than Rocky and Marble and they had the following measurements when we bought the harness:
Rocky: 17,5 weeks old, 2,6 kg, chest circumference 34 cm
Marble: 15 weeks old, 2,3 kg, chest circumference 29 cm
Pebbles: 15 weeks old, 1,4 kg, chest circumference 24,5 cm
We decided to buy one size and just try it out and bought a size 1,5 as it seemed to be the best fit, assuming Marble and Pebbles would grow into it very quickly. Once at home it appeared that size 1,5 was fine for all of them. Although it didn’t close properly on Pebbles, it was fine to start the training. If Rocky and Marble would grow too big we could always continue to use it for Pebbles.
If you have a kitten you can consider to wait a little longer and buy a bigger size. However, I’m a big supporter of starting practise and training as early as possible. When cats are young it’s easier to learn them something. A Tre Ponti harness is a good model because even a growing cat can wear it for a long time. Don’t focus on the weight when choosing a size, instead focus on chest circumference.
Rocky and Marble are almost at 4 kg now, but they still fit the harness fine. At some point we would probably buy a size 2 or 2,5 for them. The benefit of this harness is that the cat can wear it for quite some time, because the cord pulls it tight. You don’t have the problems with a “traditional” harness that you can’t close it anymore because your cat got too fat 😀
Practising with a harness
There is not a cat on this world that would enjoy it when suddenly one day someone puts a harness on and drags him outside. It is important to build it up slowly, have patience and reward a lot. A young cat will get the hang of it sooner than an older cat, but even older cats can still learn. If you train your cat properly he will enjoy wearing the harness, training with you and maybe even going outside. In this article I explain how far our cats are in their training and a step-by-step plan how to train with a harness.
We really love this harness as it’s comfortable for the cat to wear and easy to practise with. It facilitates and controls forward movement. It’s not suitable to block backwards escape attempts, but I don’t think that should ever be the purpose of a harness. With the right training and practise the cat won’t try to escape from you or the harness.
I’m curious what you think of the harness. Any questions about it? Let me know!
♡ – Vivianne