This cat is wearing a breakaway cat collar - these cat collars are the safest for cats.

Cat Collars: Pros and Cons Explored

Cat collars haven’t always been as popular as dog collars and there are a number of reasons why. A big one is that cats like climbing up to high perches and squeezing through nooks and crannies. This makes collars a potential choking hazard if they snag on something, like a branch or a kitchen hook for example.

Happily, just as we’ve seen pet technology advance, safe cat collars have too.

So, without further ado, let’s explore what’s new on the catwalk…

Cat collars NZ

A quick Google search tells us ‘cat collars NZ’ is a popular search for us Kiwis, with many results. So how do we find a collar that looks good and keeps kitty safe at the same time? The simple answer lies in the breakaway collar.

And before you ask, yes, an ‘indoor cat’ needs a safe cat collar just as much as an outdoor cat. You can never be sure when Felix will make like Houdini and escape!

What is a breakaway collar?

The breakaway collar is designed to unclip if pressure is applied so your kitty can safely ‘break away’. This is an important design in the world of pet collars so that if – or rather, when – your cat’s collar gets entangled on something, he or she won’t face the danger of choking or entanglement.

Some other names for breakaway collars are safety, snap open or quick release collars. The basic principle is a safety mechanism (a ‘cat collar safety release’) that snaps open if it’s pulled on so kitty can be released and continue with her day unharmed.

Of course, the natural drawback is you might end up buying not one but many of these collars. Every time one snags somewhere and snaps open you might be losing the collar, but you’re also probably saving your cat’s life. This is one of those situations where you might easily decide that the benefits outweigh the loss.

This breakaway collar is designed to unclip if pressure is applied so your kitty can safely ‘break away’.

Are cat collars safe?

According to Cat Health, only the breakaway collar is safe for cats. Traditional buckle collars like those for dogs should never be used on cats. A buckle collar doesn’t give your cat an escape avenue if it hooks on anything.

A cat collar that’s a kind of go-between for the buckle and the breakaway collar is the stretch collar.

‘Safety stretch cat collars’ have elasticised parts that stretch if they accidentally hook on something to release your cat. However, being elastic the drawback is that this design is hard to fit on your cat properly.

It can also be a danger to cats. That’s because rather than releasing your cat’s neck by stretching, it can just as easily trap their paw and leg if your cat tries to get free. So, think carefully before investing in so-called safety stretch cat collars.

Cat collar tags

A collar shows a lost cat is someone’s furbaby rather than a stray. Better yet, fit the collar with an ID tag (containing the pet’s name and your phone number) to speed up the process of being reunited.

Of course, microchipping gives your cat a permanent ID, so having a collar ID just helps to cover all bases. And while we’re mentioning microchipping, note that our wellness packages include microchipping, desexing and so much more.

Unsure whether to desex your cat or not? Read the pros and cons of spay and neuter to help you decide.

Should outdoor cats wear collars?

The breakaway collar makes sense if you have an outdoor cat who plays in the garden, climbs trees, and explores your garden shed (or beyond). We all know our cats have a penchant for squeezing through small spaces so the concept of a cat collar that releases if it’s tangled or hooked is very attractive.

Outdoor cats should wear safety collars that unclip if they snag on branches and other things.

Should indoor cats wear collars?

There’s lots of support for indoor cats to wear collars too – an indoor cat won’t be used to their outdoor surroundings if they manage to get out. They could easily get disoriented or lost. Having a secure collar with an ID tag will help greatly in ensuring puss is returned to you if found elsewhere (ditto cat microchips).

But of course, investing in safe cat collars is a personal choice.

How well do flea collars work on cats?

Flea collars keep fleas off your cat’s head and neck but tend not to give your cat full body protection. They’re don’t snap open so they’re a choking hazard if they snag on.

But maybe more controversial is that some vets say the chemicals used in flea collars aren’t safe for cats, especially so near to their faces. As a result, the general consensus we’ve read is that flea collars don’t work.

We say always ask your vet for a recommendation when it comes to parasite fixes like tick and flea treatments. And while we’re on the subject of safeguarding their health, read up on pet vaccinations and other routine pet care.

How to fit a cat collar?

Cat collars adjust for comfort and safety. If you can fit one or two fingers under the collar then you’ve got it right. That way you know it’s snug but not tight.

If your cat’s tense when you put the collar on, check again later to see if it still fits correctly. The reason is that a tense kitty will more than likely be flexing the muscles in their neck, which will make a slight change to the size once they’re relaxed.

If you have a kitten or young cat that’s still growing, check your cat’s collar size often to make sure it stays in step with your cat’s growth rate. It must never too loose or too tight as both can end up causing accidents.

Ready to welcome a cat/s into your heart? Read our article on one or two kittens – which is best?

Do bells on collars bother cats?

Many of the native birds, lizards, fish and critters in New Zealand are on the endangered species list. As cat parents, it’s our responsibility to help rein in our feline kids’ natural hunting behaviour, even if they don’t like it.

A safe cat collar with a bell is one of the simplest solutions to the problem. Remember, we can’t necessarily change a cat’s urge to hunt, but we can limit the hunting urge. And a bell does this by sounding a tinkly alarm which can give would-be prey the chance to escape.

Some cat owners worry these bells are too soft for prey to hear or too loud to keep cats safe from larger predators that may hunt them. But the consensus is bells do work to protect wildlife and that larger predators would be just as likely to recognise a cat’s presence, bell or not.

Of course, if the bell obviously makes your cat uncomfortable and they simply can’t get used to it then leave it off for their own sanity. Then find ways to curb kitty’s enthusiasm for hunting, like keeping it inside at night.

Although cat collars with bells can be unsavoury for cats, they do help protect wildlife.

Cat collars or not, insurance can help protect

If you’re a cat parent in New Zealand, one of the best ways to ensure your fur kid’s long-term safety is a cat insurance policy. Pet insurance reduces the out-of-pocket expense of visits to the vet, prescription medication or treatment in case of an accident and illness.

If you buy your pet pawlicy online with PD Insurance, you can also get up to two months free. Why not take 2 minutes to get a quote?

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