Can Dog Collars Be Used On Cats?

Dear Leashed,

Generally, dog collars cannot be used on cats because it is not safe for the cat. Cats are prone to getting their collars snagged, so their collars must have a breakaway or quick-release feature. Dog collars are stiff and secure as it is intended to stay on during walks and if the dog wanders on his own.

While you may think it is practical and harmless to put a dog collar on a cat, this is not often the case. Cats are more at risk of being choked, hanged, and strangled by their own collar. 

Your cat deserves her own kind of collar with safety buckles meant to release her when she is in trouble and not to wear a collar for dogs. Here are some reasons why:

  1. Cats like getting into cramped spaces – It is in the cats’ nature to hide in the tiniest place possible. They are also exceptionally bendable so that no tight spot is too small. Their collars can frequently get caught on pointy corners and jagged openings.
  2. Cats love to climb high to reach difficult places – When outdoors, cats would venture climbing a tall tree. If their collar is snagged on a branch, they can hang themselves by accident. The same can happen when the cat collar gets stuck to a piece of indoor furniture.
  3. Cats are typically smaller than dogs. – An average pet cat is often smaller than an average house dog. Smaller bodies mean smaller necks. If you try to put a dog’s collar on a cat, the weight of the collar will be a burden to the feline.
  4. Cats normally don’t like collars. Some cats will scratch, pull, or chew their way out of a collar. If their collars are not quick-release, the cat might injure itself or you will always be left with a destroyed collar.

Is There A Difference Between Cat And Dog Collars?

If you have a cat and a dog, and they are almost the same size, you may be tempted to get them the exact kind and style of collars. But, can you do that? Or is there a difference between dog and cat collars? 

The main difference is cat collars should have a breakaway feature which they can easily escape from if they get stuck in something. Dog collars are designed to stay on so they cannot get away from their leash as you walk them or if they wander far from home.

Cats like hiding in tight spaces that are too small for their bodies. But since they are very flexible, they do this with ease. If your cat is wearing a stiff collar, it can get snagged in those small corners.

A breakaway collar will prevent them from choking or being injured. This collar is intended to set the cat loose if it struggles to be free with just enough force. Other collars are made of elastic materials.

Dogs, on the other hand, are not that interested in crawling in small areas and are not that limber. They like to run free, especially if they spot a squirrel or a moving ball.

So it is more important for dog collars to be secured around their neck wherever they go. Their collars can bear their ID tag with their name, address, or phone number.

Another reason is that you want the dog collars to remain attached to their leash during their walks. Dogs can get easily distracted by what they see outdoors. Commonly, they will run towards it without a second thought.

If the dog collar is weak, it will give way to the dog’s strong pull and you will be left running after him. You want a secure yet comfortable collar for your dog.

What Is The Safest Cat Collar?

Some people still prefer the safety of a cat collar to a microchip because of the risk of inflammation. Still, how do you choose the safest cat collar? 

  • Quick-release – The breakaway feature is the most important aspect. Cats are prone to choking if their collars are caught on something. You want a collar that will set them free without injuring their neck.
  • Custom-fitted – Cats necks’ are generally small but they still vary in size. A collar that is too big will come off easily and will defeat the purpose. A collar that is too small might strangle them.
  • Easily adjustable – As kittens grow older their neck size increases while aging. Cats may also lose some weight. Choose a collar that you can adjust without trouble if you detect your cat is in pain or uncomfortable. Tuck two or three fingers between the collar and your cat’s neck to check if it’s loose enough.
  • Almost weightless – Most cats dislike collars especially if you start to put them on when they are already adults. Some pull or chew it off because they find it restrictive. Cats will find lightweight collars less distracting.
  • Reflective – Even if your cat is mostly indoors, you should still be prepared for a stowaway scenario. A reflective collar will save your kitty from being run over by a car. It is also easier to locate a missing cat at night or in dark spaces.

Here are the top brands to choose from based on the criteria mentioned above:

  1. Beastie Bands Cat Collar
  2. Rogz Nightcat Cat Collar / Rogz Catz Reflective and Glow-in-the-Dark Cat Collar
  3. GoTags Personalized Nylon Breakaway Collar

Why Does My Indoor Cat Want To Go Outside?

Your cat that has been content indoors for many years unexpectedly begs to go outside or try to slip past you as you open the door. What could cause this sudden behavior change?

Curiosity about something new outdoors such as a squirrel, bird, or another cat can make an indoor cat want to go outside. If a male cat is unneutered, the scent of a female cat outside can drive them out. If the indoor environment of a cat is boring, it will try to find stimulation outdoors.

Given that cats’ natural habitat is outdoors, you should not be at all surprised if they suddenly pine to go outside at least once in their life.

If you move to a new apartment or neighborhood, cats would naturally want to take a gander.

Supposing that you have not moved to a new place, your cat’s interest can still be peaked by something new outside like small animals that it caught sight of on the window.

Cats are especially interested in other cats, and more so those of the opposite gender. The urge to go outside is stronger if your cat is not spayed. Even if they cannot see the other cat, the scent of a potential mate gets them excited to bolt out.

An indoor cat is also likely to get bored inside the confines of our home if they don’t have a good view of the outside. Lack of stimulation from toys, cat grass, or scratching posts can also be a reason why they suddenly want to wander outside.

Life indoors can get tedious for a cat whose daily routine has never been altered. Some pet owners get a playmate cat or set up a catio (or a cat patio), an enclosed space outdoors where cats can be outside but away from harm.  

Do Bells On Cat Collars Annoy Them?

Cat collars with bells are so cute on cats! It also helps you locate them easily when they are hiding. But does your cat like them too or are they annoyed by it?

Cats can be annoyed by the recurring ring of the bell every time they move. Especially for cats who get worked up easily, a bell so close to their face and ears can be unnerving. The bell also removed the fun out of a cat’s pastime of hiding and moving stealthily.

The sound of the bells on a cat collar is only about 50 to 60 decibels so it is safe for the cat’s ears. But the noise can increase depending on the type and size of the bell.

Even though it is well under the cat’s tolerance of 85 dB to 125 dB, a bell in close proximity to her face can irritate the cat that is so used to silently moving. The jiggling of the bell right below their chin also aggravates them.

Certain sounds can stress a cat mainly if it has not been introduced to it at a young age. Cats can be alerted with seemingly harmless sounds like the bells on a cat collar and induce anxiety in them if they constantly hear it.

Bells on a cat collar serve the specific purpose of alerting us to the cat’s presence. It can be beneficial to owners who want to know their cat’s whereabouts all the time. The sound of the bell also warns preys such as birds and critters. 

A cat can be displeased with the bells of its collar because it detracts its hunting skills. Although owners purposely put bell collars on their cats to discourage killing small animals, cats generally don’t like it.

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