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    Should Cats Wear Collars? Choosing the Right One for Your Kitten

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    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
    trouble.

    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
    infections
    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.

    Meet Our Expert

    Dr. Janice Huntingford

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