Cats love to roam, but giving your cat this type of freedom can compromise her safety. To keep your cat safe without denying her outdoor privileges, you may want to consider a homemade cat harness. A cat harness will give you the peace of mind that comes with knowing your cat won't be able to step out in front of a moving car and risk getting injured or killed.
One Size Does Not Fit All
Cats come in different sizes and so should cat harnesses. A vest-style cat harness needs to be custom made so it will hug your cat's body. A homemade pattern and a tape measure are essential throughout the process.
Creating a Pattern
To make a homemade cat harness, you will have to first create a paper pattern. Allowing for two-inch seams, take a measurement of your cat from her neck to her waist. Again allowing for two-inch seams plus another inch of fabric, measure your cat around the widest part of her ribcage. Cut your paper pattern according to these measurements.
Making the Vest
Drape the paper pattern over your cat, center it and approximate where you will need to cut out holes for your cat's arms. Draw circles on the paper pattern for armholes and cut them out. Cut out two pieces of fabric using your paper pattern as a guide, and sew the two pieces of fabric together along all the edges. Sew coordinating piping to the edges to create a finished look.
Making It Work
Measure and sew darts around the neck of the harness to pick up any slack in that area. Darts are small, sewn folds that gather excess fabric and give the harness a three-dimensional shape. The harness must fit your cat well enough to eliminate the chance of her slipping out.
Sew Velcro to the edges of the harness for a snug fit. Fasten a metal ring to the center back of the cat harness by folding a short length of fabric around the metal ring and sewing the ends of the fabric to the harness. Make sure this piece of fabric is sewn on securely. Sew ribbon ties to both ends of the cat harness to ensure an even better fit.
Uses and Precautions
Besides using a cat harness to keep your cat from wandering, a cat harness comes in handy if you like to take your pet on walks or car rides. The sturdy metal ring sewn to the back allows you to hook a leash to the harness. If you intend to attach a leash to your cat's harness for the purpose of letting her sit on a patio, keep an eye on her in case she finds a way to wiggle loose and to ensure she doesn't jump around an obstacle and strangle herself. Make sure the harness isn't too tight around your cat's neck, but is tight enough to prevent her from escaping.