The Hervey Foundation for Cats

Should You Put a Collar on Your Cat?

Wear a collar graphic

This is a question many new cat owners find themselves asking. There are some objective pros and cons to cats wearing collars and we will get into those in this article. What it really boils down to is whether or not you have an indoor or outdoor cat, and the risks you are willing to accept for them. If you do choose to put a collar on your cat, you should know there is a special type of collar that can ensure they remain safe and healthy – see below!

Pros

Collars have something to offer both the indoor and outdoor cat, but most of the benefits are to the outdoor cat. First and foremost, if your cat goes missing, it is easy to identify them and bring them back home. A collar with an address tag provides that extra layer of insurance in getting your cat back and really that is the number one reason to put a collar on them.

Another pro of the collar is helping make your pet visible at night. Collars with reflective material can save the life of your pet if they are outside in the dark. It really is dangerous for cats to go outside these days though, and we do not recommend letting your cat outside at all.

Most cats in the world do not like being put on a leash, and even, the leash should be on a harness and not a collar.

Cons

The biggest con to putting a collar on your cat is the danger posed by it snagging on something inside or outside. Cats have died after jumping and having their collar get caught on a branch, or a chair, thus cutting off their airflow. Breakaway collars have been invented for this reason – these collars are made from materials that break when pressure is exerted on them. They are the best option for any cat, and if you can get one with reflective material, that’s even better.

The second con, and one that should be taken seriously, is your cat will hate it. Cats do not naturally wear collars in the wild (obviously) and they are very sensual animals. The feeling of the collar will drive them mad if they are not already familiar with one and will overwhelm them. Forcing the issue will cause behaviour issues.

Final Thoughts

Collars have their place, but in a world where most cats live indoors, they are not as necessary as they may have once been. If your cat is at risk of escaping outside, a breakaway collar might be right for you. If you have a young kitten, they will more likely take to the collar with less resistance than adult cats unfamiliar with wearing collars. Forcing an adult cat who has never worn a collar before, to wear a collar, is cruel. If your cat has little chance of making it outdoors, then let them be. They will likely be much happier for it.