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Cat Won’t Wear Collar (What Now? Can I keep it on?)

If your cat won’t wear a collar you may be wondering why and what you can do to make it easier for it to adapt.

Why won’t your cat wear a collar? 

Your cat won’t wear a collar because of several potential reasons. The most common ones are it’s new to them and they do not appreciate the restriction. Or, it is not fitted correctly and they find it uncomfortable.

So, now you know why your cat won’t wear it. But, can your cat get used to it, with time? What can you do to speed this up? Keep reading for these answers, and so much more.

Will cats get used to a collar?

Cat won't wear collar.
A cat hiding from its collar.

Cats will eventually get used to a collar. It is normal fr them to not love the collar at first. One trick that you can do is to start off by putting it on for a short period of time. Then, gradually increase this duration each day.

It reminds me of when I got my first pair of reading glasses. At first, it was difficult to get used to the discomfort that the nose rest gave me. But, I knew, deep down, that it was good for me.

The solution? I kept trying it each day. In time I started to wear them longer and got used to it. It’s the same for cats and collars.

What do I do if my cat doesn’t like his collar?

If your cat doesn’t like the collar at first there are several tricks you can try to get used to it. Here are some ideas:

01. The younger the better

IF you have a young cat or a kitten then start as soon as possible. Don’t try and convince yourself that you should wait till it’s a bit older. Why? Because it is easier to train it while it is young.

Have the heard the saying “You can’t teach an old dog new tricks?”? Well, this is the same for older cats. So, start early to avoid the headache.

02. Make sure it’s fitted properly

Another thing you need to do is to make sure that the collar is fitted properly. This sounds obvious, right? But, many people overlook this simple thing.

The collar should fit securely but enough room for maneuver. As a general rule, you should be able to fit one or two fingers underneath the collar. Anything more and it’s too loose. And, less, it’s too tight.

03. Remove the ID at first.

Sometimes cats do not appreciate the ID tag on the collar. It can take even more time for it to adjust to this. Therefore, it can help by removing the ID tag first, while it is indoors by the way.

See how it responds. And, once it gets used to it you can start to add the collar back onto it.

04. Take the bell off

As well as the ID tag the bell can also be annoying. So, you can help it to get used to the collar by taking the bell off at first. 

And, similar to the ID tag, you can add it back on after some time when your cat has got used to it. 

05. Try a different style of collar first

As well as removing the ID tag or bell you can try a different style of the collar. The obvious choice is the breakaway collar (Click here if your cat is taking this off, by the way). But, in the beginning, you may want to try a different style for it to get used to.

An example of this may be a canvass collar. I understand that this may not be a good, safe, and long term option. But, just to get it used to a collar, if you are struggling, this may help.

Do bell collars annoy cats?

Bell collars do annoy a lot of cats. Especially when they are new to them. This is because it goes against their whole instinct of being a stealth hunting animal.

These bell collars can scare your cat and make them not want to wear them or try and run away from them. Only to find the bell follows them everywhere. 

Think of it from their prospective, can you imagine every time you moved there was a jingling bell sound? How annoying would that be for you?

Are collars uncomfortable for cats?

Cat collars can be uncomfortable for cats. And, it is not always at the beginning. Sometimes it can seem fine at first, and with time, it may become uncomfortable.

But, why is this? This is because a well-fitted collar doesn’t grow with your cat’s neck. If it is young, and still growing, it can out-grow the collar making it uncomfortable.

So, it is important to keep an eye on the collar over time to see how it grows.

Why do all cat collars have bells?

Not all cat collars have bells. But, the ones that do use it to make them easy to find when they are outside or stop them from catching birds or other animals.

Some cat owners have found other ways to stop their cats from catching birds like using bright colors or flowers on the collar to warn off their prey. 

But, regarding using bells to find your cat, there are other methods like using a cat tracker (Click here to see my best one). These are far more accurate and will not need any sound.

Is it cruel to make a cat wear a collar?

Using a cat collar is not much different from having a cat domesticated in your home. Neither are natural. If you are domesticating your cat then a collar is part of it.

The only way to be natural is to have cats in the wild free from domestication. It’s a controversial topic with arguments on both sides.

Are quick-release cat collars safe?

Quick-release, or breakaway collars, are safer than standard collars because they allow your cat to escape from the collar if they caught or snagged on an object, for example, a tree branch.

In fact, it is not advisable to use standard collars on a cat that is outdoors because it could catch itself on any object and hurt itself.

What do you put on a cat’s collar tag?

The simplest and most important thing on a cat’s collar is your name and contact phone number. This could be engraved or written in the provided slot. But, something is better than no ID tag.

I remember having a cat, called ginger, it was a cute ginger cat, hence the name. It had a collar and ID tag at the time. And, I remember it disappeared for quite a few hours and I was worried.

Fortunately, it did return. But, the key thing is that it gave me that peace of mind that had it got lost I could stand a chance of being informed about it. Are you with me?

So, my point is, whatever happens, being prepared can make a big difference. And, if something bad happens, like it gets lost, at least you know you have done all you could have.

Is it OK to take your cat’s collar off sometimes?

There are times when you may need to take your cat’s collar off such as fitting a new one if it’s being adjusted or damaged somehow. But, generally, you want to keep it on at all times in case it gets lost without the collar on.

Some cat owners whether they should take the collar off at nights, etc. But, ultimately it needs to be kept on as much as possible.

Lindsey Browlingdon