Tips & Advice: The Cat Collar Debate

Hi everyone,

Please find below some useful tips in form of a Guest Post by the team from Pets at Home:

The Cat Collar Debate

Deciding whether your feline friend needs to wear a collar is one of the trickiest decisions for cat owners. The brilliantly free-spirited nature of the cat means that a collar isn’t required in the same way as it might be for a dog, but there’s still a debate as to whether the benefits of giving your cat a collar outweigh the possible – but not always certain – risks.

What are the benefits of cat collars?

Visual identity is the main reason many owners give their cat a collar. An outdoor cat that wears a collar has a point of contact with you, their owner, at all times – something extremely important in the worst case scenarios where your cat could get lost or hurt. This is especially important if your cat has a medical condition. Much like humans that wear medical bracelets, if your cat gets lost and has a tag explaining that it has an ongoing health complaint, your cat can be cared for accordingly until it is returned to you.

Are cat collars always required?

If your cat is one that stays solely indoors, or will only be outdoors when supervised, you might be wondering if its worth actually investing in a collar, as it may not be necessary. On the occasions where your cat is allowed to explore the garden, and they are still prone to bringing you unwanted gifts like mice or voles, you could consider opting for a collar with a small bell on to warn any possible cat prey that they’re on the prowl!

Cat with collar

What should I be aware of when picking out a cat collar?

Decorative bells and discs can pose some risks to cats that are allowed to explore outdoors alone, as there have sadly been some instances of cats getting them caught on stray branches. Today, you’ll find plenty of safe, snap-free collars on the market that allow a cat to break free should this happen to them.

Many of the negative associations that some cat owners place on cat collars comes from the issue of poor quality standards in cat collars. Thankfully, this is something that’s prevented when buying from a responsible retailer, but you should always be sure to opt for a collar that has no sharp edges. For an extra level of safety, many choose a well-made snap collar that will only come off with sufficient pressure. If you want your contact details featured, but don’t want to use a disc attachment, these can always be embroidered onto the collar.

Whether or not you decide that your cat needs a collar, having your cat microchipped is of the utmost importance.

Only the size of a grain of rice, microchips are almost painlessly implanted beneath the skin between your cat’s shoulder blades and ensure that your cat is identifiable. Microchipping services are offered at most vet surgeries, as well as in the Groom Room

No matter if your cat is more likely to be found inside or outdoors, it’s vital that you take the right steps towards making your cat identifiable – be that through a collar or not!

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43 thoughts on “Tips & Advice: The Cat Collar Debate

      1. There is a big difference between bells in toys (my cat loved that too, some time ago) and bells around a cats neck that jingle at every step, though.

          1. I have heard, that bells are pretty useless in bird protection – cats determined to get the bird learn how to hunt without the bell going off.

          2. Um die heimische Vogelwelt vor streunenden oder frei laufenden Katzen zu schützen, existieren mehrere Ansätze. Diejenigen Katzenhalter, die ihrem Haustier ein Glöckchen umhängen, glauben zwar, sie gäben den Vögeln damit eine faire Chance auf eine rechtzeitige Flucht. für gesunde Altvögel mag dies sicherlich gelten. Aber es gibt immer Situationen, in denen die Glöckchen nicht helfen, wie auch das nebenstehende Foto zeigt. Foto © Uli Herrmann/Flickr

            Kranke oder junge, noch nicht flügge Vögel hingegen können meist nicht schnell genug oder gar nicht fliehen – sie sind extrem leichte Beute für Katzen, egal ob mit oder ohne Glöckchen. So geschieht es regelmäßig, dass Hauskatzen mit Glöckchen Vogelnester in der näheren Umgebung der Wohnung ihres Besitzers plündern. Übrigens sind diese Glöckchen für die Katzen eine Tortur, da ihr Gehör extrem gut ausgebildet ist. Die ständige Geräuschkulisse treibt Katzen schier in den Wahnsinn, weshalb sie von vielen Tierschützern vollkommen zu Recht als tierschutzwidriges Zubehör bezeichnet werden.

          3. Vielen dank für die Infos. :). Ich werde allen Freunden jetzt von Glöckchen abraten. Meine beiden haben sowieso kein Halsband weil sie nur drinnen sind. 😉

  1. Great post ! We don’t wear collar as we have a fence, but we’re microchipped anyway. Purrs

  2. Our Cherie wears a collar with a rose pattern, while Phantom wears none. It helps us differentiate between them as they race about. 😀 Our cats do not go out, and Cherie’s collar came with a bell attached. But…cats have a right to stealth, so I removed it, and told her so. 🙂

  3. What about harnesses? I would like to find a harness that would fit my cats. The ones that I have found, have a short piece on the tp & on the bottom conecting the neck & body harness to each other. They are to short to fit the cat, because of their longer neck to body area. The first one that I tried to put on my 1st cat, rolled his shoulders around to in front of him. He stood there a minute & fell onto his side all stiff legged. I’m sorry, but it was so funny the way he did, that I had to laugh. Took the harness off for good.
    Any help about a harness. I would like to train my cats to walk on a leash. My Grandfather had a cat in the 60’s that walked on a lead, & was “chained” up outside with plenty of room to play, especially since they lived beside a busy main road into town.

  4. Rory has a collar that says “Please do not feed me” embroidered onto it, because she has been known to come home with half a sausage in her mouth and we suspect that the old folks at the sheltered housing at the back feed her tidbits.
    All 3 of ours wear collars, but are also microchipped. They are very good at losing the little tags and barrels from their collars. We can’t have bells on them though because they go nuts trying to play with them LOL

    1. I do wonder about people feeding cats that obviously belong to someone. Our neighbours cat is getting quite fat because everyone in the blog feeds him left overs 😡

  5. If there is any chance the cat can get out, I support collars with tags and microchips. I avoid the bells on them and keep them loose enough, but not too loose. They must be able to get out of the collar if they get in trouble. I think this is an outstanding and very important post and it may SAVE your cat’s life. Thank you so very much for sharing!!

  6. Indoor cats have been known to escape. That is why we wear them, plus “the law” says we must wear our cat license. Some of those “break away” cat collars for sale could only be broken by a lion. The easiest break away is what I look for.

  7. I go back and forth about collars. Sometimes I put one on, but then I am afraid to leave it on when I go because I worry about the possibility of an accident. It is nice to hear the little bell and warn the little creatures around, but he looks good naked… Anyway, thanks for the very nice article and food for thought!

  8. Mr AJ used to wear collars when he had a garden to play in. After a few months, I gave up. Every week, I was buying a snap free collar. I swear he purposely threw them over the fence like the Simons Cat drawing. Now he’s an indoor cat I don’t bother and neither with his brother. They’re both micro chipped which is a requirement for their passports. Passports or not, I got them micro chipped.

  9. We don’t use collars, except maybe for a photo shoot. But we do use harnesses whenever Katie or Waffles goes out into the world with me (supervised and on a leash.) We’ve found that Puppia’s mesh harness fits them very well.

    And both are chipped. Just because a cat is an indoor-only cat, doesn’t mean disaster can’t strike when you least expect it.

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