Have you ever wondered where does your furry pet goes when he is in a mood to take a walk? Cats often need time for themselves. Considering the fact that most cats are not strictly house pets, but independent little wanderers, you might want to get the best cat collar.
Trust me, it’s for her own good. Having a great cat backpack ensures your cat’s safety in joint adventures, but they need a form of protection even when you are not around.
Why does my cat need a collar?
Besides looking adorable, your cat needs a collar mostly for her well being. A cat without a collar is considered as a stray animal, not a pet. If she gets lost, chances of finding her are very low.
Collar also gives your pet a touch of the owner’s personality and can protect your cat from fleas and the birds from your cat. Through this article, we will guide you and help you choose the best collar for your cat.
Types of cat collars
Cat collars come in all shapes, sizes and styles. They serve multiple needs, depending on the type. The market is overwhelmed with good choices of products and the ones that…well, are not so good.
Safety (breakaway) collars for cats
Cats are curious and sometimes too clumsy, aren’t they? Safety collars are made to avoid injuries or even strangulation if the cat’s collar gets stuck on the tree or something similar. The most common type of safety collar is made of an elastic strap that can stretch and let your cat slip away from injuries. That can be risky and might not work every time.
But the breakaway collar is something else. They are designed to snap open when enough force is applied, instantly releasing your cat. The mechanism is similar to the one used on human bags, obviously just smaller. This is the best protection for your cat and the collar isn’t damaged when opened and can be used again.
Flea collars for cats
One of the joys of having a cat is having unwanted guests in the form of fleas and ticks. Those pesky little creatures will annoy your cat and can even transmit some pretty nasty diseases and parasites to her. So you need to get your cat a flea collar as an easy and convenient solution. Flea collars for cats usually work in two ways.
The first one is emitting little clouds of toxic gas that kills and repels fleas. That can be quite ineffective due to the fact that only parts of the body near the collar are affected, and is mostly the modus operandi of low-quality collars.
The high-quality collars release a substance that spreads and dissolves through the layers of fat in the cat’s skin so fleas and ticks are eradicated everywhere on the cat’s body.
This method is the most effective and contains safer ingredients for the cat. However, some flea collars can badly irritate the cat’s neck, even cause skin damage and fur loss so you must be careful when choosing.
Reflective collars for cats
Cats are nocturnal animals so it’s very important that your cat stays visible to avoid accidents. Reflective collars for cats are made in bright fluorescent colors to guarantee the visibility of your beloved pet in the daytime and in the middle of the night.
Road traffic is the biggest and most common danger for a cat that likes to roam, as cats tend to be clumsy and make bad decisions when it comes to cars and roads. White, green, pink, periwinkle and orange collars have a subtle spark that is visible even in daylight and fully reflects the car headlight, even in the darkest nights.
GPS tracking collars for cats
Ready to find out where your cat travels? A GPS tracking collar utilizes different technologies, such as GPS and radiofrequency to keep track of the whereabouts of your pet.
Some collars also include extra features such as activity monitoring – keeping a log of the recent history of your pet’s movements for example if you want to keep a track of their health and fitness or are just interested where they roam at night.
You can even get a full history of your cat’s favorite places, all featured in a simple mobile app. Don’t ever worry again about your cat, with a GPS tracking collar, you can sleep tight, always knowing where she is.
Materials used in the production of cat collars
The materials used for cat collars are most often polyester, nylon and leather. Each material has its advantages and disadvantages so you must choose the one that suits you and your furball the most. It all depends on your cat’s life habits.
Nylon is one of the most common materials for cat collars. It is considered less expensive and gives you a variety of options for designs and colors. Nylon is also pretty pliable so it is a good solution for smaller cats. Also, it is easy to maintain.
However, nylon has its disadvantages. If your cat spends most of its time outside, nylon cat collar will soon get a bit stinky. Nylon collars don’t usually last as long as the other materials do, and your cat may have a nylon allergy, so you should check with your vet if she starts acting weird after buying a nylon collar.
Polyester cat collars are known for their durability and eye-pleasant look. The material is lightweight and visually reminds us of synthetic leather. It is effective against water, humidity, bad smells, even extreme temperature changes. The material itself is inexpensive, easy-care and 100% recyclable.
On the other hand, polyester is a plastic-based fiber. That means it can be slightly rough for sensitive cats, and it can stick to perspiring skin so be aware. Also, it is recyclable, but not bio-degradable, so it’s not eco-friendly.
Leather is a traditional classic material for cat collars. If maintained correctly, a leather collar will outlast any other material while looking absolutely elegant. Leather collars are safe, natural, organic and can adapt its softness due to oils in your cat’s skin and fur. Nice leather collar will get even nicer during the time.
The downside of the leather is a high price, although its longevity makes it affordable. Leather collars need to be maintained correctly and are sensitive to humidity and moisture. If not maintained, the odor can be really bad. Also, they break easier than the other two materials.
What makes a great cat collar
Tricky question, right? Not all cats are the same or have similar life habits. But we are here to find the perfect cat collar for everyone.
A collar must be durable, even for the house cats. Pick a material that suits your pet’s habits the best and put some work into maintenance. Cats tend to get attached to their favorite collar and you don’t want to break their heart by changing it every couple of months.
Adjustable design is a must, not just for aesthetic reasons, you just need an option to loosen or tighten the collar every now and then for your cat’s safety. And your cat wants to look pretty while seeing its reflection in her favorite cat water fountain.
ID tagging – get your cat a street name
Keeping your cat safe is a priority for all cat owners. The best way to do that is by getting a personalized ID tag for your cat collar. The tag usually has a cat’s name, owner’s contact and phone number and any relevant medical or microchip information about the cat. Make sure your kitten is safe even if it gets lost.
Fun fact: the weight of the collar depends on the weight of the cat, not her age. Once your cat has over 2.5 kg / 5.5 lb it is time to move on to adult cat collar. Consider the fact that some collars weigh up to 90 g so they can be quite heavy for your little pet.
Just imagine that you wear a necklace that weighs a few kilos. So don’t get carried away while decorating your collar – 7 bells might be too much for your cat to carry.
Man-made materials, like nylon and polyester, are lightweight and more suitable for smaller cats, and leather is mostly reserved for bigger specimens.
A great cat collar must have all the features that your cat needs. Breakaway function and a reflective function is a must, to keep your cat safe. Little collar decorations, like bells and flowers, are sweet and should be optionable.
GPS trackers and ID tags should always be removable and easy to put back on the collar again. The best cat collar must be multifunctional, to meet the needs of a cat and a cat owner, too.
Does spending more means more quality?
Absolutely not. Although you must be careful if you are buying an extra cheap cat collar, spending an absurd amount of money will not guarantee you anything. It’s better (and cheaper) for you to get well informed about the great cat collars, so the price will not mean a thing after that.
After all, does your pet’s safety have a price? You are willing to pay a decent amount of money for a vet, cat food, effective cat dewormer, scratch post, so why should quality cat collar be a problem?
How to measure your cat for a collar
Take a flexible measuring tape to precisely measure your cat’s neck. If you don’t own one, a piece of string and a ruler will do. The ideal size of the collar is when you can fit two fingers between the collar and the cat’s neck.
If the gap is too big, your cat can slip a paw and take the collar off, or it can lead to accidents. A gap that is too small can hurt the neck, especially considering the cat’s quick growth.
If it’s your cat’s first time wearing a collar, she will feel annoyed so you must distract her with her favorite toy or a snack the first few days, as she gets used to a collar.
Cleaning and maintaining the cat collar
As your mother would say: “Cleanliness is next to godliness”. And it is so true, considering the habits of every cat. The clean collar isn’t just pretty sight, it prevents introductions and spreading of parasites and diseases.
Take special care to your cat’s surroundings, get her a nice cat shampoo and dust-free litter for cats and check her toys often to prevent her from getting too dirty.
To clean polyester and nylon collars, first, remove the ID tag, GPS tracker, and any ornaments from it. Most of the modern-material collars can be washed in a laundry machine, but better safe than sorry.
Soak the collar in warm water with the addition of some mild soap. If the collar is sensitive with finer adornments details, use gentle laundry detergent. Scrub the stains off with an old toothbrush. You will be surprised how the collar was so dirty. Dry them well before using it again.
If a leather collar gets muddy or dirty, use a piece of damp cloth to wipe off the mud. You can use a very small amount of mild unscented soap and gently scrub.
Rub off the soap residue with a clean damp cloth. Use a dry cloth to shine the collar and dry the surface of the leather collar. Once the leather is completely dry, apply a small amount of leather treatment conditioner to the collar, and that’s it.
Maintaining the collar is essential. A broken or damaged collar doesn’t serve its purpose and can seriously injure your cat. Also, the color-faded or worn-out collar is so unattractive.
Cleaning is an important part, but make sure to check your collars often and remove or repair any broken part. Your cat collar should always be well maintained and remain a testament to the wonderful times you spent with your pet.
Frequently Asked Questions
What is the purpose of a microchip and is it important?
A pet microchip is a tiny, oval shape device, not bigger than the rice grain. They are made of solid, non – toxic material that is harmless to your cat and contains a unique number associated with your pet.
The process of chipping is done via injecting it under the skin on the back and is completely painless. If your cat ever gets lost or stolen and taken to a vet’s office or a cat shelter, the cat will be scanned to confirm the presence of a microchip. The chip itself can eventually migrate over the years, but the vets are familiar with that and will always make a detailed exam of the whole cat’s body.
You can always add that information on an ID tag. If the cat is chipped the scanner will show the unique number that can be checked in an online registry that contains your relevant personal information.
Then they will contact you and reunite you with your lost pet. That is why the microchip is so important and why you should always update every change of your personal info.
Don’t forget to fill the form the same day that your cat is microchipped. Don’t worry, your personal data is secure and cannot be used for any other purpose than to help your little cat that is lost.
Cat collar with or without a bell?
It really depends on yours and your cat’s opinion. Weigh the pros and cons and decide then.
The bells are cute little helpers. They make it easy to locate your kitty that got lost wandering in the house. Also, they can save the life of small animals that your furry little predator uses for food.
In a bigger cat community, if one cat starts bullying the others, a bell on his collar will serve as a warning to the weak members and give them a chance to get away.
On the other hand, bells are injury hazards. If your cat doesn’t fancy the bell, she will try to remove it by teeth or claws, that can lead to injuries and/or choking hazards if the bell is too small. Bell noise can and probably will start to irritate both you and your cat.
Cats can even get seriously stressed after some time. And the fun part, when hunting, cats prowl on their prey in complete silence, so when the prey hears the sound of the bell, it is usually too late.
Does bell on the cat’s collar prevent them from killing birds?
Tricky question. There have been many pieces of research written by vets and cat experts and there hasn’t been a joint conclusion. If you want to be totally safe, consider buying a bib for your cat. The bib is usually a cover for your standard cat collar.
Cat bibs generally come in bright colors as a visual warning for birds, hang loosely from the cat chest and work by gently interfering with the precise timing and coordination a cat needs for successful bird catching.
Are flea collar bad for my cat?
The low-quality ones are. They can irritate your cat’s skin and fur, cause rash, infection and even mild poisoning. Always buy the most quality flea collars for your cat.
There is always a chance that your cat is particularly sensitive, so if you notice anything strange, remove the flea collar and pay a visit to your vet. And never, NEVER, use dog flea collar for the cat.
Dog flea collar contains a much higher dose of chemicals and can be fatal for your cat.
How do I help my cat get used to wearing a collar?
Some cats will wear a collar for the first time with no fuss at all, but most of the cat will need some time to get used to a collar. The first time you put their collar on, they will usually find a way to strip it in moments.
So, as a process of getting used to an idea of something around their neck, put it on when they’re indoors and you’re there to keep an eye on them.
Try to distract their attention with some toys, treats or a noise; then reward them if they keep it on. If they are still refusing to cooperate, take it off. On your next attempt, try to persuade them to keep it on for a moment longer, and step-by-step they will get used to it.
Is GPS – tracking collar dangerous for my cat’s health? What about the radiation?
Absolutely and definitely not. The GPS receiver only receives signals that are transmitted from the satellites. Our bodies constantly encounter these signals regardless of whether we carry a GPS receiver or not.
Additional radiation is not produced by GPS tracking collar. The GPS tracking collar only emits a signal when it transmits data via the GSM mobile network. However, in normal mode, the collar sends data, depending on the selected profile, only once every 5-20 minutes for a couple of seconds.
During the remaining time, no data is received and the collar is in hibernation or standby mode. Although it receives continuous control signals from the nearest base station, it only sends a short signal every few minutes, and the radiation is minimal.
What have we learned today? The cat collar must be secure, comfortable and affordable. The safety of your cat is in the first place and if you have followed the tips and suggestions in this guide, you will choose the right one.
It will not be too heavy or disturb your cat in any way so the cat won’t pay any attention to it. Just make sure that the fit is precise and that the safety features are in place and your cat will have a brand new collar to show off. Treat your cat with some quality catnip and start exploring the world of collars together.
Photos from: VadimVasenin / depositphotos.com, t.r.o.t.z / depositphotos.com, AnkevanWyk / depositphotos.com, evgenyiL / depositphotos.com, Bulltus_casso / depositphotos.com,
Big pet lover and a dog training and behavior expert who loves to share his knowledge and experience. Happy owner of two amazing dogs Labrador Bela and Jack Russell Terrier Piksi and one cuddly cat Tom.
Check out our other great cat guides and researches