Are Cat Collars Inhumane? (My Definitive Opinion)


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Some people have cats that have a natural curiosity for going outside and exploring the neighborhood. Most owners would be worried about a cat’s safety if they leave a door or a window open. If their cat is an outside cat, they may worry about their cat getting lost, injured, or falling prey to another animal.

No, cat collars are not inhumane.  If they are used properly, cat collars provide a way for owners to keep identification on their cat.  Additionally, cat collars can be good for safety reasons due to being reflective and the ability to breakaway if they are snagged on something.

Despite taking necessary precautions, you might always feel nervous about your cat getting lost. This is why many people put a collar on their cat – to identify and help track her if she gets lost.

After doing significant research, this article has the most important questions around cat collars answered.  So, keep reading!

Are Cat Collars Safe?

Many cat owners ask the same question, but there is no one-size-fits-all answer to this question. It rather depends on how much effort and consideration you put into choosing the right collar for your four-legged companion.

Various events involving cats getting injured because of collars engendered an increasing debate among Veterinarians on whether cats should wear collars at all.

Honestly speaking, a cat collar proves to be an important accessory for your furry friend. It helps you bring her back – as soon as possible – to home in case she gets lost or injured.

However, not all cat collars are safe, and can instead pose a health hazard for your kitty. But a pet owner can address these safety risks by taking the necessary precautions in selecting the right collar for your kitten.

Advice for Cat Owners

Cat owners ought to:

  • Make sure the collar fits perfectly – and remember! cats grow, so keep checking the tightness of your cat’s collar weekly.
  • Use a high-quality collar made up of anti-allergenic material as a poor-quality collar might bother your cat. It may also get loose over time and your cat may choke on it somehow.
  • It is generally recommended to use breakaway collars for kittens – that are extremely safe and comfortable. Breakaway collars are worth reading about in more detail due to the safety aspects.
  • Use reflective collars if your cat could be outside at nighttime. This collar will help your cat get noticed at night by any drivers and hopefully prevent any accidents. It could also help you find your cat if you are looking for her.
  • Carefully observe your cat while she is walking to assess if the collar is too heavy for her.
  • If you buy a collar for your cat and it has a bell or any other trinket on it make sure you keep a good eye on your cat to assess that there is no risk that it will snag on anything.

Observe Your Cat After Putting on Collar

Lastly, the most important point here is getting your cat used to wearing a collar. At the outset, she may resist or show frustration – and anger – but with time, she will probably accept the new reality of living life with the cat collar.

No wonder a well-known recommendation is to monitor your cat for a while after putting a collar on her. It will help you determine if the feline is comfortable with the collar or else you may have to buy a different collar that your cat likes better.

Are Breakaway Collars Necessary for Cats?

Breakaway collars are, as the name suggests, quick release collars that are an ideal choice for cat owners. Such a collar has a breakaway buckle that unfastens automatically under a specific amount of pressure – and makes sure your kitty is not snagged on anything. In my opinion, the breakaway collar is the only type of collar you should be putting on your cat.

Reasons Justifying You Should Buy A Breakaway Collar

There are plenty of reasons to justify why you should get a breakaway collar for your cat including:

  • Cats have a natural propensity to be mischievous. They like to jump, hide, climb, and explore spaces – and are always at a risk of getting snagged or stuck on anything. If a cat is wearing a collar with an elastic buckle, she might remain hung for hours, or worse – choke to death. So, it is vital to use a breakaway collar to ensure her safety and well-being.
  • A responsible pet parent is always worried about the safety of a four-legged companion, especially given that cats are curious animals and don’t often sit idle. With breakaway collars, you have to worry less about their safety and focus more on your daily tasks. So, the breakaway collar should give you more peace of mind.
  • Finally, breakaway collars often come as adjustable, so that it can properly fit around your cat’s neck – without being too tight or loose.

Should You Buy A Breakaway Collar?

Putting it bluntly, YES!

If ever you want to buy a collar for your cat, stick with a breakaway collar. Make sure you choose an adjustable one and it will prove to be worth every penny of your hard-earned money as nothing is more important to a pet owner than the safety of his or her cat.

What are the Benefits to Cat Collars?

There are plenty of reasons that justify why a reasonable cat owner would feel their cat would be better off with a collar around their neck – and the reasons are:

1.      Reuniting with your Feline Friend

Cat collars might prove to be the difference between reuniting with your sweet companion and never seeing her again. American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals, ASPCA, reported in 2019 that about 33 percent of cat owners tagged their pets, while only 2-5 percent of lost cats are reclaimed by owners.

That’s why a cat collar is a necessary accessory – even if your cat has a chip, the collar will help get her home much faster.

2.      Preserving Feathered Friends

Cats are avid hunters and can easily prey on birds and other small animals. Many owners attach a tinkly bell to cat’s collar (many collars also come with the bell attached) to warn off birds – and minimize the chances of cats catching them.

Simply put, many cat do not like the idea of birds and other wildlife being eaten by their cat. We also did some in depth analysis on if cats like to hunt.

3.      Protection at Night

Many cats become victims of traffic accidents – especially at dusk and dawn. Cats of dark color are more prone to such road mishaps. A collar made of reflective material makes your cat visible to motorists at night and eventually prevent a collision.

What are the Drawbacks to Cat Collars?

Do any reading online about this subject and you will see some anecdotal information of collars causing severe injuries to cats. Like any other pet accessory, cat collars – if not used properly – can act as a serious health hazard.

1.      Health Concerns for Cats

Some of the common risks associated with using cat collars are:

  • Your kitty’s mouth or claws might get stuck or caught in the collar – causing her difficulty to close her mouth and could result in her jaw breaking along with excessive pain.
  • A too-tight collar can strangle your feline friend. It can also just make it harder for her to breathe and lead to death.
  • Similarly, poorly fitted collars or the ones that don’t fasten automatically can result in serious wounds on cats’ necks.
  • A collar on a long-hair cat may become invisible and if your cat is lost the people searching for your cat may not see him or her – counteracting one of the purposes for a reflective collar. The result of this could be that a driver may not see the collar on a long-haired cat and end up in an accident with her.
  • Cats are naturally active animals and love to jump and climb. Their collar might snag or get trapped on tree branches, window curtains, or fences – leading to the cat being choked.
  • There may be an issue with materials and allergies due to low quality fabrics on cheaper collars.
  • The collar might be too heavy for your four-legged companion – causing pain while walking.
  • A cat with a collar that has a bell – like most collars have – find it extremely difficult to hunt for prey. While many people will consider this a good thing, it’s also a drawback if your cat is lost because it will prevent her ability to hunt to eat.

2.      Problems for Cat Owners

Along with posing safety risks for cats, cat collars often result in inconveniences for the owners too. Many cat owners don’t want to be bothered with the expense of a cat collar.

Additionally, your feline friend may never feel comfortable while putting on the collar – and resort to anger and frustration.

Should I Remove My Cat’s Collar at Night?

Many cat owners wonder if they should take off their cat’s collar at night or not? Frankly, there is no right answer to this, and it mainly depends on how your cat is coping with it.

If your cat is comfortable with the collar, you may want to leave it on.  However, if she is having trouble with the collar and cannot rest, then you may need to consider removing it.

Moreover, you may want to remove the collar with a bell at night since the jingling bell might keep you awake.

This happened with me and my Domestic Shorthair cat, Charlotte.  I put the collar on her and when night rolled around all I heard was the bell.  Charlotte loves to sleep under my bed – right under me, so it was like the bell ringing was right under me…because it was!

So, that collar came off.  I will likely figure out how to get that bell off the collar or buy a breakaway collar without a bell.  I want her to have a collar, but I just cannot deal with the jingling underneath and around me when I am trying to sleep.

Summary

Overall, cats are active and energetic animals and love to scurry around everywhere.  Your decision on getting your cat a collar boils down to your personal choice whether to put a cat collar on your cat or not. But it is advisable – and encouraged – to put a collar on your cute kitty, no matter if you intend for her to be a purely indoor cat or if she spends some time outside normally.

If she is just an indoor cat, you will want that collar on her so that she can get returned home quickly.  That stat from the ASPCA listed above, where only 33% of the chips were working properly is a pretty scary stat for a cat owner, especially if your cat is lost.

Things are different if your cat is an outdoor cat, which I don’t recommend due to the outdoor dangers, such as other animals like raccoons.  You will want your cat to have a reflective breakaway collar for two main reasons: (1) so that drivers and other people can see the reflection at night and (2) so the collar will break away if she gets snagged on anything.

You might be thinking, well…I just won’t put a collar on her then if the collar could get snagged on something – but without the collar, the reflective benefits aren’t being used and identification isn’t there either in case your cat needs returning.

We obviously all just want the best safety for our cats since they are like part of the family.

Christopher Carlson

I have an Domestic Shorthair Tabby named Charlotte. She is full of energy when she isn't sleeping most of the day. I share what I learn about cats on this site.

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