When talking about collars, many pet owners associate them with dogs and rarely with cats. But in reality, pet collars are also useful for cats, regardless if you have an outdoor or indoor cat. Besides microchipping or using a GPS tracker, cat collars are a perfect way to help you identify your cat in case they go missing. You can place your contact details in your cat’s collar so anyone can contact you easily if they find or locate your cat.
Furthermore, letting your cat wear a collar will reduce your cat’s likelihood of being mistaken as a stray cat and snatched by the wrong hands. Best of all, some cat collars include a bell, which is useful in alerting you and other animals that your cat is nearby.
Although letting your cat wear a collar comes with benefits, training your cat to wear one won’t be that easy.
Training Your Cat To Wear A Collar
Unlike dogs, which are easier to train, most cats tend to be more independent and self-territorial. They prefer to have their freedom and solitude, and wearing a collar around their necks might make them feel that they’re being confined or restrained. Thus, some of them would try to scratch or tear away their collars in an attempt to break free.
Regardless of your cat’s independent personality, there are certain steps that will help you train them to wear a collar and get used to it. Read on to know how:
1. Right Cat Collar Fit
First of all, you must find a collar that perfectly fits your cat. A collar that’s too tight will be uncomfortable for them and cause neck injuries. Meanwhile, if the collar’s too loose, it might get tangled on tree branches, furniture, or other things while they venture out on their own, putting them at risk of choking. To help you determine your cat’s collar size, try to fit in two fingers while your cat’s wearing it. If you can only fit one finger, it’s still too tight. If you can fit more than two fingers, it’s too loose.
Aside from the collar size, there’s only one type of collar that you’re only suggested to use for your cat: the safety or breakaway collar. Supakit recommend a sliding buckle cat collar, as every cat is different, so you need one that’s can be adjusted so that it’s comfortable and safe. This unique cat collar features a release mechanism (pop-away/stretch collar) that automatically comes off when pulled with force.
For example, if your cat’s collar gets stuck or gets caught somewhere, the collar will automatically break your cat free after they pull it off with force, preventing them from choking and getting trapped in that sticky situation. Ultimately, ensure you only buy a cat collar with a safety release mechanism.
Additionally, make sure your furry feline meets the required minimum weight before buying and training them to wear a breakaway collar. Remember, their body weight plays a crucial role in exerting enough force to break free from the breakaway collar when necessary.
Breakaway Collar from Supakit.co
2. Introduce And Show The Collar At The Right Time
After you’ve found the perfect collar for your cat, the next step is to show and introduce it to them. Choose the best time when your cat is happy, calm, or in a good mood. Place the collar on the ground, floor, or any area that feels comfortable and familiar to them. Allow your cat to explore the collar by letting them sniff, scratch, or play with it.
If the collar has a bell, you may expect them to react or get scared when they hear it for the first time, as most cats are sensitive to sharp sounds. Let your cat discover the sound of the bell by themselves and watch how they respond to it. If they’re beginning to adjust to the sound accordingly, it means your cat doesn’t mind the sound. In contrast, if your cat’s still anxious and bothered with the bell sounds despite giving them time to familiarize themselves and adjust to it, it may be best to remove the bell or give them a collar with no bells.
You may also rub the collar to their bed or rub their favourite cloth against the collar. This will transfer a familiar scent to the collar, making the introduction process easier for your pet. Once you notice your cat warming up to the collar, you may reward them with treats to encourage them further. After a few minutes, hours, or even days of introducing the collar to them, you may start putting the collar on the neck.
It’s best to not rush this process. Otherwise, your cat will react negatively to the collar by:
- Getting scared
- Avoiding the collar
- Feeling traumatized with collars in general
Ultimately, these negative reactions will make it harder for you to train your cat to wear a collar.
3. Once Worn, Help Them Get Used To It
After you’ve successfully put the breakaway collar on your cat’s neck, observe how they react. Did your cat get scared or appear disoriented? Did they try scratching or jerking it away from their necks? In that case, remove the collar from their neck and put it on them. Don’t punish or yell at your cat if they react negatively to the collar. Understand that some cats take longer to get comfortable wearing collars, so you might need to be more patient.
On the flip side, if your cat seems confused, that is also a normal reaction. You can distract them with toys, food, or playtime to redirect their attention from the collar and help them forget they’re wearing it in the first place. You can also give them some treats if their reaction is positive. You may attach and detach the collar from your cat’s neck daily and increase the length of time they wear it until they’re fully comfortable wearing their collar.
4. Observe Your Cat For Some Time
Even if your cat appears comfortable and unbothered while wearing the collar, it’s still important to pay close attention to them and their behaviour, especially during their first few weeks of wearing it. If you’re letting your cat play or explore outside for the first time with a collar on, monitor their behaviour and watch out if they try to pull it off or scratch it away from their necks when you’re not around.
You must also see if the collar’s fit has changed, especially if your cat is still actively growing. Lastly, observe if your cat has developed any allergic reaction to the collar, which must be raised and addressed to your vet. If your cat has not made any weird or strange reaction or behaviour toward their collar, you may attach a GPS tracker and ID tag to it.
The Bottom Line
As long as you observe the steps above, you can train your cat to wear a collar in the smoothest and most effective way possible. Remember that every cat is unique and may not react the same way, so you might have to adjust accordingly.
Some cats also take longer to get used to a collar than others. Just stay patient, and adjust your training method if possible. You might need to motivate them through cat treats and toys. Sooner or later, your cat will no longer mind wearing the collar. This will certainly give you peace of mind—knowing that they will be more secure and identifiable in case they stray too far from home.