According to Dr. Elsey’s—the company behind the #OrangeInside campaign to help lost indoor cats return home—fewer than 5% of missing indoor cats will ever return to their owners.
In most cultures, cats aren’t seen as exclusively indoor pets. A cat wandering alone on a city street doesn’t raise alarms the way a lone dog does—especially if that cat’s not wearing a collar. A collarless cat is usually dismissed as “just a stray” or a feral cat.
If your cat slips out and wanders away from home, he could pass through dozens of backyards before anyone considers that this solo cat might have a human family wondering where he went.
While a collarless cat is almost indistinguishable from a feral one, a collar alerts local cat lovers to an animal who has wandered away from home. In this article, you’ll learn how to choose a great collar.
Let’s start with a quick look at our top picks then dive into what makes the best cat collars better than the rest.
At a Glance: Our Top Picks for Best Cat Collars
We highly recommend looking at the comparison table we have below where we highlighted the features of each product. You’ll also find more detailed information about each product later in the article.
- Perfect for cats who don’t like dangling ID tags
- Made from sturdy but lightweight nylon webbing
- Choose from 5 colors and 15 thread colors
- Adjustable strength breakaway clasp for improved security
- Glow-in-the-dark and reflective materials for nighttime visibility
- Made from soft, comfortable materials
- Comes with an antiqued D-ring to hold ID tags
- Made from soft, comfortable cotton materials
- Makes a great gift for cat lovers
The 4 Qualities of the Best Cat Collars
1. The Best Cat Collars Make It Easy to Escape If Your Cat Gets Caught Somewhere.
When cats get into a tight spot, a breakaway buckle ensures that the collar won’t twist and tighten as they struggle. They offer quick release in an emergency situation. Never choose a cat collar with a traditional belt-style buckle or another non-breakaway clasp design.
In addition to a breakaway buckle, some cat collars feature elastic segments for flexibility.
A well-fitted collar is a safer collar. If your cat’s collar is too loose, it’s apt to catch on something, potentially harming or even strangling your cat. Adjustable collars are a necessity.
2. The Best Cat Collars Are Comfortable.
Most cats don’t like wearing clothing or jewelry, and some of them will find a collar deeply uncomfortable. Choose a collar that’s made from soft materials and which has a reputation for kitty satisfaction.
Not only should you consider the materials from which a collar is made, but make sure it’s cat-appropriate in terms of size. Cat collars are generally only 3/8 to ½ inch wide. Anything wider could be uncomfortable and might catch on your cat’s claws when he scratches.
3. The Best Cat Collars Encourage Identification.
When combined with custom embroidery or a cat ID tag, your cat’s collar increases his likelihood of being identified if they escape the house. Any collar will identify your cat as a housecat rather than a feral, but one with built-in identification gives your cat a voice.
You may also want to consider additional visibility features such as glow-in-the-dark coating or a reflective strip. A reflective cat collar increases your cat’s visibility at night.
4. The Best Cat Collars Are Durable.
What’s the use of a collar that falls apart after a few weeks of wear? Strong, sturdy collars made from high-quality materials will serve your feline friend for years. While premium materials like a leather cat collar might be nice, synthetics like nylon webbing tend to be more waterproof and are less likely to get caught in long hair.
Can Cat Collars Prevent Your Cat From Killing Birds?
Wearing a collar differentiates your cat from stray and feral cats, but it could have an additional benefit for the other animals he encounters during his outdoor adventures. In fact, there are a few collars that have been proven to prevent cats from killing birds.
We know what you’re thinking – bells, right? You might think that a bell will alert birds and other prey animals to your cat’s presence but in reality, they do little more than give you an idea where your cat is as he moves through the house.
Here are the top two cat collars to prevent predation by outdoor cats:
- The Birdsbesafe is a brightly colored fabric ring that slips over your cat’s collar and visually alerts birds to your cat’s presence. The Birdsbesafe has been tested and proven to reduce bird killings by up to 87%.
- The CatBib is another collar attachment designed to keep birds safe. As the name suggests, it’s a large, awkward bib that prevents your cat from moving with the speed, agility, and stealth necessary for a successful bird hunt.
Keep in mind that both of these products are technically collar attachments – they are designed to be used over your cat’s everyday collar. Your cat still needs a collar to hold his ID tag.
Our Top Picks for the Best Cat Collars
Now that you have a better understanding of how we came to our top picks, you’re probably eager to see them!
Here are our top 7 picks for best cat collars:
Tips For Fitting A Cat Collar
Picking a cat collar is only half the battle – cat owners also have to know how to fit it properly.
Before you buy a cat collar, measure your cat’s neck to choose the right size. While many cat collars take a one-size-fits-all approach, some brands offer multiple sizes. Proper fit is essential for your cat’s comfort and safety, so make sure you don’t buy a collar too big or too small.
A poorly fitting collar can cause a number of issues ranging from hair loss due to rubbing to something as serious as strangulation.
Unless you’re buying a collar specifically sized for your cat’s neck, it’s best to choose an adjustable model. Adjust the collar so it is fairly snug but International Cat Care recommends keeping it loose enough that you can fit 1 to 2 fingers between the collar and your cat’s neck.
Anything looser and your cat’s leg could get stuck in it, or the collar could get caught on something and create a dangerous situation.
A Quick Word About Collar Safety
You should never use a collar to walk your cat. If you want to take your cat out for a walk, we recommend using a cat harness.
Cat harnesses are designed to keep your cat safe in numerous ways. Not only are they better at preventing escape, but they distribute pressure across your cat’s chest and back instead of concentrating all of it on his neck.