It’s not uncommon to see a dog wearing a collar around its
neck for both leash and identification purposes, but it appears different when
it comes to cats. Not only are cats more finnicky when it comes to things
around their necks, but many cat owners mistakenly believe their cat doesn’t
need a collar because it stays inside.
Understanding the benefits of cat collars and how to choose
the right one can actually help keep your cat safe from harm.
Why your cat needs to wear a collar
The major reason cats should wear collars is because they
help identify them if they somehow get away from home. A collar and ID tag
combination is the fastest way for a stranger to identify your cat and contact
you so you can bring it home safely.
Collars are practically a necessity for cats that roam both
inside and outside, since it is easy for them to wander out of the back yard or
get lost. However, cats who stay inside almost all of the time can benefit from
a collar, too. There is always the possibility that your cat will dart out the
door and wander away from home; if your cat isn’t wearing a collar and tag, it
could be extremely difficult to find it.
Collars can also serve functional purposes beyond
identification. Some cat collars have bells attached, which help pet parents
find their kitten when it is hiding or can indicate if it has gotten into
Collars with reflective or glow-in-the-dark surfaces can be
useful for outdoor cats so that they can be seen at nighttime. These reflective
surfaces make cats safer if they are near roads, since drivers will be more
likely to see them.
The concern about collars
While cat collars are certainly useful, it’s also important
to understand their potential dangers. Many cat owners are uneasy about putting
a collar on their cats because they believe it is easy for collars to get stuck
on something and be strangled.
For this reason, many vets recommend using quick-release or
breakaway collars. These collars are ideal for cats—especially ones that go
outside and like to climb things.
Breakaway collars are designed in a way that allows their
quick release should the collar become stuck on something, such as a tree
branch. When pressure is put on the collar, it can snap away so your cat can be
freed. This is extremely important so that the cat does not choke if the collar
gets snagged and won’t come loose.
Another danger is having a collar be too tight. Tight
collars, as well as those made of thick, low-quality and non-breathable
materials, can dig into the skin and cause your cat pain. This can also lead to
of the skin over time.
Collars can absolutely become dangerous to cats if they are
not made of high-quality materials, do not have a quick release snap or are
improperly fitted. It’s crucial that you stay aware of these hazards and find
the perfect-fitting, quality collar for your cat to keep it safe.
Choosing a collar for your new kitten or cat
When it comes to collars for cats, there are many options on
the market to choose from. It is up to you to choose the one that is the safest
and most comfortable for your cat to wear on a daily basis.
Aside from finding a collar with a quick release system, you
absolutely need to pay attention to the collar’s size. The collar should not be
so loose that your cat can easily slip out of it. However, you should be able
to slip two fingers in between the collar and your cat’s neck at all times—this
ensures the collar is loose fitting enough to be comfortable.
As your cat grows, you should constantly be checking on the
size and fit of the collar so the cat does not become uncomfortably trapped in
one that is too tight. You will probably need to purchase multiple new collars
(or adjust them) over the course of your cat’s life to ensure a proper fit.
When purchasing a collar, always test the collar in the
store before you buy it to see how easily the buckle releases (if it’s a
quick-release collar) and how secure it is.
Once you purchase the collar, always test it at home with
your cat by putting it on them and supervising them. Never put a new collar
onto your cat and leave them alone. You want to make sure your cat cannot
manipulate the collar up toward its jaw or escape it.
Cat and collar safety are critical
Putting a collar on your cat can be instrumental in
identifying it if it gets lost, but you need to make sure you’re using collars
that are appropriate for your cat’s size and needs. Without considering these
things, you cat might not feel comfortable and may even get hurt.
Some cats will absolutely not tolerate the feeling of a
collar, no matter how much patience, training and treat-giving is put into the
process. If your cat will not wear its collar, consider getting it microchipped
by a veterinarian so you can identify it if it were to get lost.