Are Cat Collars Safe?

Grey Cat Wearing A Red Collar

July 22, 2022

There are many different types of collars out there on the market for you to choose from…all having different features and uses. 

But the question is: “Are collars for our cats actually safe for them to wear when they are out exploring?”

In This Blog:

The Benefits Of Your Cat Wearing A Collar

If your cat is allowed free rein outside, you can guarantee that they will explore to their little hearts content.

Any cat owner knows that when our cats are outside exploring, they will be hunting for their next meal whether this is a bird, a mouse, or a rabbit.

Unfortunately, some of these prey animals will have fleas or other parasites which can be passed on to our cats. Once your cat has become a host to parasites, unless they are treated with Spot On which will help repel any fleas for up to 4 weeks, they can be difficult to get rid of especially if they are then brought into your home.

Adult fleas may only last a few days if they don’t have a host to feed on, but flea larvae and other younger fleas can live indefinitely without a host. Which means that if you find fleas on your cat, you may want to treat your whole house.

Flea larvae dislike any light so they will burrow deep into bedding, carpet and soft furniture and they can hatch in as little as two days.

The adult flea will lie waiting for any sign of movement from a human or animal and once there is something coming their way, they will latch on to this host and start feeding.  

One way to prevent fleas from being brought into your home is by fitting your cat with a flea collar, preferably one with a quick release or a breaking point.

This means that if your cat becomes caught on anything, they will not become trapped and injured. If they pull hard enough, these collars should snap or come off.

Another benefit to your cat wearing a collar whilst being out and about is being seen at night. Unfortunately, so many cats are hit by a vehicle at night due to not being seen.

A collar with a reflective strip can help reduce this risk. Avoid choosing a collar which has elastic on as this can cause more harm than good.

If you have a cat flap which you want to make sure it is kept private with no friends coming round to play, your cat will have to wear a collar so they can wear the magnet which will activate the cat flap. But there is even an answer for this!

There is now a cat flap which is activated with their microchip, meaning that if they don’t wear a collar or lose it whilst they are out, they can still activate it and get inside!

Do Collars Cause More Harm Than Good?

The question we need to ask ourselves is: Are the collars causing more harm to our cats than they are good?”

We always want our pets to be as safe and comfortable as possible and we never want to put their lives at risk. But are we doing that when we let them out with a collar? It all depends on which type of collar we choose to put on them and how it fits.

There have been many horror stories over the years about cats becoming stuck as their collar has gotten caught on a tree branch, or a gate and they have been unable to free themselves. 

But can we solely blame the collars, and does it mean that every collar out there is the same?

There are many collars out there which have been specifically designed to break under pressure or not get snagged in the first place which is great!

When you are fitting a collar to a cat, you want to make sure that you can comfortably fit two fingers in between the collar and their neck.

If the collar is too tight, this can be incredibly uncomfortable for them and if it is left tight for a period, this can start to embed into their neck. If the Collar Is too loose and they are even more at risk of being trapped or caught on something.

Collars We Recommend Avoiding

We recommend avoiding certain collars out there such as elasticated cat collars. If they become caught on something in an elasticated collar which does not have a quick release fastening, or a breaking point, they may use their paw to escape.

Whilst they do this, their paw has now become trapped with them, whilst the collar is still not breaking. Especially when the elastic is new, they will not stretch as much as perhaps they would if they were older. 

Another collar we recommend you avoid is a collar with diamantes or gems on them. If they become loose whilst they are cleaning themselves near the collar or they are scratching, they can ingest them and as a result they will become lodged in their throat or perhaps their stomach and cause serious problems. 

Not only can they become lodged, but if they manage to pass them down their oesophagus and they reach their stomach. There is a high chance that the glue which has been used to glue the gems on is toxic to your cat.

We often see collars with bells on as this is used as a deterrent to wildlife. Cats will find it very hard to sneak up on its prey whilst they are rattling behind with a very loud bell on them. This is a great feature for the prey and will save lots of innocent animals, however, the bell may not save your cat. 

These bells are usually attached to the collar with a very thin metal ring. If they are climbing through gates or walking near fencing, this bell can very easily become lodged and cause serious issues. Bells can be great but can also be just as dangerous to your cat.

Safety tags can be just as dangerous as bells, if not worse due to most tags being thinner than bells and hang lower down. If you would like your cat to have your details on them in case they go missing, consider microchipping them instead!

The collars themselves can influence your cat’s health as their skin may react with the material or it can rub and cause them sores.

Whilst collars can have multiple perks like being seen, protecting from fleas, or allowing prey animals to hear their predator approaching, there are just as many warnings about your cat wearing a collar.

What Collars Are on The Market?

Whilst we have mentioned that collars can cause more harm than good to our cats, there are still plenty of collars out there which you can buy if you decide to use one.

Flea Collar

We mentioned earlier that there is a collar out there which can help prevent your cat getting fleas and bringing them home.

This type of flea collars can be particularly beneficial as they have no elastic on them, and they have an emergency breaking point in case they do become trapped. 

Emergency Contact Collar

These collars can help your cat get back to you if they are to go missing due to being able to personalise them.

A particular great feature about these collars is the quick release fastening. If they become stuck on anything, these collars will easily break or undo, leaving your cat free to carry on.

This does mean that they may go missing without their collar, so we recommend getting them microchipped as well for extra security and peace of mind.

Not only should you have your cat microchipped for your own peace of mind, but it is also being made mandatory by the government in a bid to reduce the amount of lost and stray cats never finding their owners again.

If your cat is found to not have a microchip, you will have 21 days to microchip them or you will be faced with a fine of up to £500!

Cat Tracker

This is a particularly good reason to have a collar on your cat. Have you ever wondered what they get up to once you let them out of the door?

With this collar, you can track where they are and how far they travel. This can be useful if they don’t come back at their usual time.

The tracker itself is quite small and doesn’t hang down which means that it is very unlikely it will become caught or trapped on anything. For extra piece of mind, you can place the tracker on a breakaway collar in the event of them becoming trapped. 

Our cats love to get up to no good and if they can find mischief, you can bet they will! It is up to us as owners to try and minimise the risk of them becoming injured or trapped.

Whilst we cannot tell you to stop using collars altogether and allow your cat to be naked, we can hopefully advise you on the safest collars out there on the market.

We hope that we have given you an insight on the dangers a collar can bring to your cat’s life…even if they are a house cat. Danger can still be found whilst they are in the house involving their collar.

It may not seem so bad if you are home all the time as you’re on hand to help them escape. But if they manage to get caught whilst you are asleep, you may not be able to get to them quickly enough before they have injured themselves.

When it comes to owning a pet, whatever species it is, we always need to be several steps ahead of them and always thinking outside the box about ways in which they could cause harm to themselves or get into bother. By doing this we can ensure that we keep them as safe and happy as we possibly can.

Unless we wrap them in bubble wrap and watch their every move, every day, our pets are bound to get an injury or into trouble as some point in their life. Such are the joys of being a pet owner!

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