Cat + Harness = Safer Travels

Jodi Ziskin's picture

If you have ever traveled with a cat by car, you know just how quick and agile they can be. Cats can twist and turn their bodies to fit under, into, or through just about anything.

Case in point – what you think is a window harmlessly rolled down a couple of inches can be turned into an escape route for a determined feline. Forget opening a door for even a second. If you blink, all you will see is a tush.

While it is advised that cats remain in secured carriers during the drive, like you, they need bathroom breaks and may even want to partake in a meal or snack. Once outside the confines of the carrier, it is natural for a kitty to sniff around and get a lay of the land.

Your car is not a normal part your cat’s territory. All the foreign smells, nooks to explore (cats love to wedge themselves under seats), and sights through the window can cause anything from mild disorientation to all out panic.

This is where a harness and leash can help. The harness should be placed on your cat before the journey begins. Each time you open his/her carrier for a break, attach a leash to the harness. Then you can guide your cat to the litter box, food area, or even allow him/her to explore. If the cat tries to burrow under the seat, or if a careless travel companion accidently keeps a door open too long or rolls down a window too far, you will be able to easily control the situation.

“I use harnesses on both of my cats (Rocky and Peaches) for making pit stops on road trips,” shares Beth Hackney, a cat lover who lives in Miami, Florida. “When they need to use the litter box, I put the leash on, let them do their business and allow them to wander around a little.”

Naturally, you will need to harness train your cat long before your travel adventure. Most cats will accept – and some even come to enjoy – being outfitted with a harness. Training does take some time and a whole lot of patience. Most harnesses come with training tips. Keep in mind that all cats are different and adjustment periods can vary.

“It took Rocky a few weeks to get comfortable wearing the harness and walking on the leash," says Hackney. “Now I’ve created a monster – all he wants to do is go for walks.”

There are many harnesses on the market, some more comfortable than others. Two cat lover favorites include the Kitty Holster and Cat Walking Jackets

Happy travels!



Jodi Ziskin, our Traveling with Pets Editor, is a Holistic Wellness Consultant for Animal Companions, specializing in nutrition and proactive health. She is a Certified Pet Nutrition Consultant who also holds a Master of Science degree in Holistic Nutrition. Through her company Holistic Jodi, LLC, Jodi makes house calls throughout South Florida, helping cats, dogs, birds and rabbits be as healthy and happy as possible.


She and her husband Zach live in Fort Lauderdale, Florida with their two cats, Obi and Emma.


Please feel free to contact Jodi at holisticjodi[at] or visit