Does your cat need a collar?

The first thing to consider is whether your cat really needs to wear a collar. Some people need to attach magnetic or electronic keys to a collar in order to give the cat access through the cat flap.

Others wish to have some form of visual identification (rather than just microchipping) in case the cat becomes lost or run over, or just to make sure that the neighbourhood knows the cat is owned. These are all acceptable reasons for wanting a cat to wear a collar.

However, wearing a collar for the sake of ornamentation or it could be argued, just for flea control when there are other very effective methods available, should be considered very carefully. There are potential dangers and few merits.

Choosing a collar

Avoid collars with elastic inserts – these can stretch to different extents and some will allow cats to get a leg stuck through. The collar can then become stuck and cause injuries in what we would think of as the ‘armpit’, (ie. under the front leg). Some cats can also get collars stuck over the jaw in the same way.

You should also check the overall quality of the collar – there should be no sharp edges, stitching should not unravel and the buckle should be firm and not sharp.

Flea control can be achieved in many other ways other than using a collar – veterinary `spot-on’ products are very effective and safe to use. Flea collars are often left on long after the flea control chemicals have ceased to function. Owners reported hair loss and skin reaction – if you do use a flea collar check it very regularly to ensure there is no reaction to it.

Bells and bits

Bells, discs and other bits hanging from the collar can also be hazardous – the cat can either become caught on something by one of these attachments or get claws caught in the bell. 

There will always be a demand for cat collars so while in the ideal world we might feel that cats are better off without them, being able to advise on the best type will allow those who need to use a collar to choose and fit properly the safest available.