Cat Collars: What Are the Benefits and How to Properly Fit Them

Land of Meow - Linny Collar on Cat

Cat collars are a part of everyday life. Most outdoor cat’s wear collars and, even for the indoor cat, collars are recommended if you have an adventurous cat who has the skills of a Ninja/Houdini that manages to escape every time you go out the door. Cat collars pose a very low risk of harm to the cat when they are properly fitted, however the danger of a cat being mistaken for a stray and not returned to their home if they get outside is significantly higher and can be devastating to the both the cat and owner.

A study on cats and collars by Dr Lord at Ohio Status University found that the return-to-owner rate for cats who escaped or got lost was only 2%. Indoor-only cats accounted for 40% of the lost cat population and free roaming cats that didn’t wear collars were often mistaken for strays and either ignored or re-adopted in a new community. Throughout the 6-month duration of the study 75% of the cat owners kept the collar on their cat. The 2 top reasons given by owners in the remaining 25% for the cat not keeping the collar on were:

  • The cat lost the collar
  • The cat scratched at it too much

However, of those cat owners who did keep the collar on their cat over half of them said their kitties tolerated the collars much better than expected. The scratching at the collar died down within a few days and over 90% of cat owners in the study said that they planned to keep collars on their cats after the study was completed.

So, while the benefits of having a collar on your cat are clear, it is vitally important that no matter what type of collar you choose for your cat that you fit it properly. If this is the first time you are fitting your cat for a collar you should measure their neck with a flexible tape measure, or even some string so you can purchase the correct size. Most cat collars give a sizing indication to help you choose the correct one.

Land of Meow - Linny Collar Dimensions

Once the collar has arrived let your cat sniff at it for awhile before placing it around their neck. Whilst most cats don’t seem to be too worried about wearing a collar it always pays to take that extra step to ensure that your cat feels comfortable. Place the collar snugly, but not too tightly, on your cat and once done up you should be able to slip two fingers between the collar and your cats’ neck. Since finger sizes vary throughout the population this can often be a confusing piece of advice so if you have thicker fingers use only one of your pinkie fingers for this test. The aim of the collar fitting is to ensure that the cat is not easily snagged on branches etc, and that its normal behaviours such as breathing, eating, cleaning etc are not affected.

If you are unsure, I suggest that you fit the collar when you will be at home for a few days to monitor the cat and adjust the collar if necessary. If after a few days of unbroken wear you notice your cat still trying to chew on or get his/her jaw under the collar, your cat may be one of the few cats who cannot safely wear a collar but as over 90% of cats tolerate collars with no issues most do adjust happily. In fact, there are a number of owners that report that their cat loves their collar and complains if its taken off. Cats do have a great sense of style though, so I guess its not too surprising!

Land of Meow - Linny Collars Lastly remember that cats, just like humans, can put on a little extra weight or fur in the winter and may need a slightly different fit. This can be as simple as adjusting the collar sizing to the next hole, or as fun as having a few collars on hand for seasonal weight changes.
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