Our beautiful and graceful feline buddies come in a variety of forms and sizes. Whether you want to purchase a harness or a carrier, measure their height or length, or even get them some fashionable cat garments, learning how to measure a cat is important for getting the right fit without causing any stress or discomfort.
How to Measure a Cat Height
You have two options for measuring your cat’s height. Some people take their cat’s height at the shoulders, while others take the measurement from the top of their head to the floor. It often proves easier and more precise to measure their height at the shoulder than from the top of the head.
The simplest way to measure your cat’s shoulder height is to hold them beneath their chest with just a small bit of lift to keep them from wiggling. The idea is to hold them securely enough so that an accurate measurement may be taken without lifting them high enough to affect their real height measurement.
How to Measure a Cat Length
Measuring the length of a cat may appear to be a simple operation, but it may be rather difficult. Due to cats’ flexibility and tendency to arch their backs, calculating the precise length from the tip of their nose to the base of their tail can be difficult.
After your cat has calmed down, get a measuring tape or ruler and lay them on a flat surface, such as a table or the floor. Maintain a straight line between their head and tail, and slowly stretch out their body.
Begin measuring your cat’s neck then make your way down to the base of its tail. Make sure the measuring tape or ruler is in a straight line and not bending around any of your cat’s curves. Take careful note of the measurement.
It’s important to remember that cats come in a variety of sizes, therefore their length can vary greatly. Most domestic cats measure between 18 and 20 inches from nose to tail. However, if you have exceptionally big cats as pets or a breed recognized for its distinct body forms, such as a Sphynx or Scottish Fold, their length might differ from the average. It is recommended that you consult with your veterinarian in such cases for more precise measures.
How to Measure a Cat for a Harness
A harness is a must-have item for your cat whether you’re using it for exploring the outdoors or just for a quick walk down the neighborhood. Harnesses that are properly fitted not only assure your cat’s comfort but also prevent accidental escape. Here’s a step-by-step guide to measuring your feline friend for a harness:
1. Measure your cat’s neck
The circumference of your cat’s neck should be the first thing you measure. When your cat is comfortable, gently wrap a flexible measuring tape, commonly known as a tailor’s tape, around their neck. Allow your cat to know you’re there and offer them lots of attention before gently wrapping it around their neck. It should be placed at the lowest part of their neck, where a collar would be. It should also be drawn snugly enough that you can only fit two fingers beneath it, not three. Read the results and make a note of them.
If you don’t have tailor’s tape, you may use a length of rope and a regular ruler or non-flexible builder’s tape to measure your cat for a harness. In the same way, wrap this around your cat’s neck. Then, when it’s in the appropriate place and snug enough, use a felt tip or a thumbnail to mark the point where the free end meets the string. After you’ve removed the string, measure the circumference of your cat’s neck with a ruler or builder’s tape. Again write the measurements down.
2. Measure around your cat’s tummy
Then, repeat the process, but this time measure around your cat’s chest. This is a little more difficult because where you measure will affect how well the harness fits. It’s great if you can get your cat to stand for it – ask if a friend or family member can hold them or distract them with goodies while you fetch what you need.
Slip your string or tailor’s tape around your cat once more, this time aiming for the space between their front and rear legs. Measure around their chest 1-2 inches behind their front legs, where the chest should be the largest. If you’re not sure, see whether your selected cat harness has a photo of a cat wearing it to show you where the band will sit. Pull the tape or string snugly again, allowing two fingers to pass beneath. Make a note of your result.
3. Check against the size ranges
Now, compare your two measurements to the size ranges indicated for your selected harness. Most harnesses are adjustable to provide a great fit, which means they will come in a range of sizes. You should probably pick the middle of the range.
Type of Cat’s Harnesses
There are a few different styles of harnesses to consider. If you’re merely taking your cat for a stroll, a simple strap harness with a D-ring for the lead (also known as an H-harness) is typically sufficient, though you may prefer softer vest choices.
There are also cat ‘jackets’ that cover a large portion of your cat’s body and are ideal for wriggly cats that appear to escape from standard harnesses, however, some cats will find these too restricting.
How to Measure a Cat for a Carrier
After you’ve taken your cat’s height and length measurements, multiply the height and length by 1.5. The two obtained measures are the minimum size carrier you should buy for your cat.
This size range is ideal for transporting your cat to and from the vet or groomer. Basically, this compact carrier is great for short car trips. However, if you want to take your cat on longer travels, such as long car rides, airplane trips, or trains, you should choose a carrier that is somewhat larger than the 1.5 times we indicated above. This is to create a place for your cat’s food and water dishes, as well as a tiny litter box. It will also allow your cat more area to stretch out and will help your cat to stay calm in the carrier.
How to Choose Clothes for Cats
The ideal method on how to measure a cat for clothes will depend on the type of garment. Some cat clothes may require the measurements of height and length while others may just require one.
It’s worth noting that many cat outfits feature a headpiece that fits over the cat’s head and fastens under the chin or around the neck. In these cases, make sure you have the correct neck measurement or that the headpiece is completely adjustable for comfort.
Because many cats dislike wearing anything on their heads, particularly if the item covers their ears, never secure a headpiece too tightly. Make it snug enough to stay in place but loose enough for the cat to remove it if they don’t like it.