Often, when we are shopping for a new cat collar, we want one that’s pretty and cute – befitting our beautiful feline baby! But visual appeal is far from the only important quality to look out for. In fact, safety is the most important feature when choosing a cat collar. Ultimately, the best cat collars are ones that fit properly and have a breakaway feature.
Should cats wear collars?
When it comes to deciding whether your cat should wear a collar, it’s down to personal choice. Many cat parents feel that their feline baby would benefit from wearing a collar. A collar and ID tag can be your cat’s ticket home if she accidentally escapes or wanders off, but the wrong kind of collar can be hazardous to your cat. It always helps to make an informed decision. Our guide gives you some of the information you’ll need to find the best and safest cat collar for your feline baby.
What are the common problems with cat collars?
Cats are naturally curious and love to explore! This often involves climbing or squeezing their way through narrow passages, which means they could catch their collar on hooks and knobs and hurt themselves. An ill-fitted collar that is too tight could rub against your cat’s skin, causing skin soreness around her neck. A collar that is too loose may result in the cat getting her mouth or paw stuck in it, which can result in injuries.
What is the safest collar for a cat?
The safest collars for cats are the ‘quick release’ collars. Traditional collars have buckles with teeth that do not snap open easily. A human is needed to remove a traditional cat collar. Quick-release, breakaway cat collars have a different type of clasp without teeth that pop open easily when force is applied. For example, if your cat gets caught up on a hook or knob, with a quick-release collar, when the cat pulls, the collar will un-latch and your cat will be set free. If your cat is wearing a traditional collar and gets stuck on a hook, the buckle would not release, and your cat could stay stuck. A frightened cat may struggle and pull even harder to escape. She could end up causing more harm to herself. A quick-release or breakaway collar will protect them from potential dangers like neck strain or strangulation. The Zee.Cat Pacco Quick-Release Cat Collar features a breakaway buckle that will open if your cat gets stuck. This collar is adjustable to make it perfectly comfortable for your cat and is made of super-soft polyester that's soft on your cat's fur.
Some cat collars are made partially or entirely of elastic. These are known as elastic or stretch cat collars. Like the breakaway collar, this design is meant to help a cat slip out of the collar if needed. Though safer than the traditional collars, cats can still get stuck with the elastic collar. When a cat gets caught on something, she will most likely pull and paw at her collar to free herself. The cat’s leg or paw may get caught on the elastic collar which can lead to other injuries.
How to fit a cat collar?
You should always make sure your cat’s collar fits them correctly for their safety and well-being. It is best to measure the circumference of their neck to get an idea of size before you go out to buy one. Usually, cat collars are sold in one size with adjustable length, but it’s best to check with the store to be sure.
When you fit the collar on your cat, you should be able to fit two fingers under comfortably. Too tight and it could rub against your cat’s skin and become uncomfortable. Too loose and the collar could get caught in the cat’s mouth or paws and cause serious harm.
Once you’ve fit the collar on your cat, check the fit again after a few minutes. When you first put it on, they might hunch or move around so you’ll need to confirm the fit again a few minutes later. If your cat is wearing a collar for the first time, she may scratch the collar since it feels foreign but with time and patience, she will soon learn to accept the collar. Try using a tasty treat or catnip toy to distract her attention from the new collar. By the time she finishes the treat or play, she may have forgotten the collar entirely.
It is also important to keep in mind that collars do not expand when your pet grows, and kittens grow very quickly! If your kitten is wearing a collar, do check the fit frequently and loosen it as needed. Collars can literally grow into your pet’s neck and cause rubbing and pain.
Should I add a bell, tag, or other ornaments to the cat’s collar?
For outdoor cats, collars with bells alert surrounding wildlife that a cat is nearby. Outdoor cat owners may opt for these since they help prevent the cat from hunting and killing wildlife that could be infected with harmful diseases or are at risk of extinction.
However, it’s important to be aware that bells and other collar accessories can potentially be hazardous. These ornaments can increase the risk of your kitty getting caught and trapped in small areas. If you do wish to attach a bell to your cat’s collar, make sure that it is not possible for your cat to get its claws caught in the bell and that you are using a quick-release collar. The FuzzYard Blitz Cat Collar is designed with your cat’s safety in mind. It comes with a jet-black bell that is fitted close to the collar. There’s a minimal gap between the collar and the bell, preventing your cat’s claw from being caught in the bell. The collar is also designed with a break-away buckle that opens easily should your cat get tangled up. Similarly, adding an identification tag can be beneficial but do ensure that the tag is not hanging too loose, making it easy for your cat’s claws to get caught in the tag.
Collars with reflective strips like this Red Dingo Reflective Cat Collar can be advantages. It can help cats be seen at night. If you have a curious cat and stay close to a high-traffic road, a reflective collar would be a smart investment. That way, should your cat escape, any oncoming traffic can see your cat and know where to steer clear.
Should I get a flea collar for my cat?
When it comes to parasite preventatives, it is best to consult your veterinarian. Some cats may be allergic to the traditional flea collar containing permethrin or organophosphates. This can result in red, irritated skin and hair loss. Have a chat with your vet about which product they recommend as the best option and consider a more natural solution like this TropiClean Natural Flea & Tick Cat Collar if your cat suffers from skin sensitivities.
Should I microchip my cat even though she has an ID tag?
It is highly recommended that you microchip your cat even though she has a collar with an identification tag. Microchips are the best way to provide permanent identification that will always stay with your pet. A microchip is a tiny capsule (about the size of a piece of rice) that is injected painlessly under the animal’s skin between the shoulder blades. Each chip contains a unique ID number that can be read by a scanner and then matched with owner information in a comprehensive database. Any vet clinic or SPCA can scan the microchip and retrieve your information for the safe return of your pet.
At the time of writing, there is no cat licensing and microchipping scheme in Singapore yet. However, microchipping is highly recommended by AVS because it tracks pet ownership and allows easy traceability when our cats are lost. Do take note that microchips do not contain a global positioning system (GPS), so they cannot be used to track your pet. However, they are considered legal proof of ownership in case your pet is stolen.
When it comes to choosing a collar for your cat, there are a lot of different styles to choose from. Pet stores offer all kinds of collars ranging from colourful and fun to some made from leather, elastic, or other types of materials. Always keep your kitty’s safety in mind when choosing a collar. Cats just love to climb and squeeze into small places. Regardless of the style or colours of the collar, for cats, it is always best to get a collar with the right fit and comes with a quick-release buckle.
Katherine is a Pet Nutrition Specialist and GDP’s Pet Wellness Advisor. She is committed to helping pet owners make informed dietary and lifestyle choices in nurturing healthy pets. Katherine is also a practicing Nutritional Therapist (human nutrition) and has been helping hundreds of clients to heal naturally with nutrients.