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Nathalie Sari - Tiertraining & Verhaltensberatung

This article was written by TOBALIE in cooperation with Nathalie Sari - Tiertraining & Verhaltensberatung

Collars for cats are available in all colors, sizes and materials. On the internet you can find lots of photos from proud cat owners, presenting their treasure with a fancy new necklace.
In no case a cat collar serve a useful purpose, but can become very risky and unpleasant for your darling. Animal protection organizations regularly warn about the many unnecessary dangers related to collars.  

Which function has a cat collar?

Collars are mainly used to make outdoor cats recognisable as cats with a permanent home to other people, in opposite to so-called strays. Collars marked with names and contact details are used to help lost cats return to their owners. In this case, however, it is more advisable to have your pet chipped at the vet and registered in the pet database. The different microchip models are more reliable, much safer and do not restrict your pet.

In addition, some pet lovers also attach small bells to their cat’s collar to warn other small animals of possible attacks. However, outdoor cats are not very enthusiastic about such early warning systems and feel disturbed. Cats are known to have excellent hearing, so a permanent ringing can be very irritating. As a protection for other prey, the acoustic disturbance factor is also unsuitable: Velvet paws are very skilful hunters and can sneak up on their prey almost silently, even with bells.  So the warning signal comes much too late for the prey animals in most cases anyway.

Also a large selection of “practical” models with a leash are offered in the trade. If you want to take your house cat for a walk, you should use a well-fitting chest harness and slowly get your pet used to it.

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When do cats need collars?

In fact, cats do not need collars in any situation. Even so-called safety collars promise more than they deliver: Safety models with elastic rubber bands, reflectors or predetermined breaking points do not reliably protect against accidents and injuries either.

Some light collars are designed to make outdoor cats more visible to drivers in the dark and thus protect them from accidents. But even this precautionary measure is rather unsuccessful in practice. Cat’s eyes reflect headlights by nature, which unfortunately rarely protects the animals from being noticed by the driver in time. The most common accidents in traffic happen because cats usually run onto the road when the car is already much too close.

There is also no need for the famous flea collar, which is supposed to protect cats from annoying parasites. Many alternatives, in the form of powders or spot-on preparations, serve the same purpose and are chosen according to the age and condition of the cat. Let your vet advise you which product is best for your pet.

Of course collars are not sold exclusively for practical purposes. Lots of models in different colours, with funny imprints or glitter-look, tempt to buy spontaneously. You should always be aware that only you will be delighted by such an accessory. Your sweetheart will not benefit from a rhinestone luxury necklace or even wear it proudly.

What are the dangers for outdoor and domestic cats?

Your darling can get bad injuries by wearing a collar. It does not matter whether the collar is made of rubber, leather or plastic and whether it is a supposedly “safe” model.
The cat could get stuck in a bush or climb a tree or strangle itself on a branch while frolicking around.

When cleaning and grooming, there is a danger of getting caught in the collar with the muzzle. Paws and legs of the cat can also get caught in the collar and, in the worst case, get stuck. If the cat tugs in panic at the collar, bad injuries can emerge.
A tight collar can irritate your pet’s coat, it’s skin and cause nasty inflammation. Chafed spots and skin irritations are not uncommon results of too tight collars.

Loose fitting collars also carry risks: If the cat tries to free itself from the annoying necklace, this behaviour can lead to injury of claws, teeth, abrasions, mouth locks or swallowed foreign bodies.
For anxious house cats, wearing a collar can also be extremely unpleasant from a psychological point of view.

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Basically you take an unnecessary risk with a cat collar. If your cat likes to roam around outside, it is recommended to get your treasure chipped so that it can be found fast in case of emergency. Flea collars are an unnecessary risk too, for there are various other preparations promise equally good protection. Neither do luminous collars ensure the desired security for a cats night out.Consider that any kind of collar is a disturbing factor for your cat and restricts its personal freedom. Both outdoor and domestic cats can get into unnecessary dangers and bad injuries by collars. If you just want to surprise your sweetheart a nice present, you should rather choose an exciting toy or a special treat.