General Cat Care and Tips

Why your cat hates their collar and what to do about it.

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You have a new cat and you found the perfect collar for them. Maybe it’s one that sparkles or one that is a little more masculine, the style doesn’t matter, however, because you just can’t get your cat to wear it, in fact, your cat may even be fighting your attempts to even put it on.

You may have even given up, I did with my one cat until I realized that if she got out, no one would know she was mine. I plan on getting both of mine chipped, but as I write this they have yet to have gotten it done. (blame Covid) Since this has not occurred yet and someone may not think to check for a chip if there is no collar, I went on a hunt to figure out why my cat hates her collar and what I can do to get her to wear one.

I found a few tips on my search and finally was able to get her to wear a collar. The next step is to get both of them microchipped.

Get this collar on Here

Why your cat won’t wear a collar

It creates a trapped feeling

Your cat may feel trapped by its collar. It may not seem like a big deal to us, but when you really think about it would you like to wear a collar 24/7? When you first put the collar on make it a little loose, so that they don’t feel trapped into the collar. After a couple of days tighten it a little and see how they react. After a few more days if they seem to be okay with it tighten the collar to where it needs to be.

They had a bad experance

If you have adopted or found an adult cat your cat may have already had a collar and had a bad experience with that collar. Cats collars can get stuck on things and they could choke them. Whatever the bad experience was it causes them to associate the collar with pain or a struggle. If this is the reason for your cat’s dislike of a collar just know it will take time to get them to wear one.

It’s to tight

You may have made the collar too tight. You need to be able to put two fingers between the collar and the cat’s neck. If you can not you need to loosen the collar.

It’s too lose

Your cat’s collar may be too loose and they just wiggle out of it. Just like when it’s too tight you need to make sure 2 fingers and only two fingers can get between your cat’s neck and the collar.

How to get your cat to wear a collar

Start them as young as possable

The younger you start using a collar on your cat the better. Kittens are more open to new things and don’t have habits built up yet. Use a stretch collar that will be more comfortable for your kitten. As they grow you can switch up to a breakaway or other type of collar.

Start with the collar on lose

I know I have stated that you need to put two fingers and only two fingers between your cat’s neck and their collar, however, when just starting out you can keep it a little loose. This is how I got my 4-year-old cat to finally wear a collar. After a week I tightened it up and she’s been good ever since.

Take off any bells or tags

Bells and tags only remind your cat that they have a collar on. With Dixie, I took the bell off her collar, but left on a charm that was there I do believe that helped along with keeping it loose. Before I had always put collars with bells on them on her and she hated them. You also want to know your cat. If you have a social cat you may be able to keep the bell or put it back on, but if you have a non-social cat you may just have to keep the bell off.

Use a lightweight collar

A lightweight collar may just feel better on your cat. They may not like the weight around their neck and if they are a cat that feels trapped by their collar this is the best solution.

Use a breakaway collar

This is a great solution if your cats hate their collar because of past trauma. You will still have to take your time getting them used to it, but if something does happen a break-away collar will come off freeing your cat. This helps to avoid future trauma. You can find some great breakaway collars on here

Distract your cat after placing the collar

Use toys and treats to distract your cat from their collar. Once I had the collar on Dixie I went right to their treat drawer and pulled out the bag. I knew I would have all three of the cats in my home at my feet and that the treats would distract Dixie from the collar. I also added some catnip to her favorite scratcher. Since she is an older cat who doesn’t play often I didn’t worry about bringing out toys. They wouldn’t have helped.

If you have a more playful cat have some toys ready and actually play with them. Not only will the toys help to distract your cat from the collar, but you paying them some attention will too.

Reward them every time you put it on.

I did not take the collar off Dixie after putting it on her, however, it is a recommended practice for younger cats to get them adjusted to using a collar. If you do decide to give your cat collar breaks or you want to train them to know that they get to go outside only when the collar is on then using treats to reinforce the collar is a great idea.

Consider getting your cat chipped.

If your cat really hates a collar or has a habit of slipping out of theirs easily you may just want to check with your vet about getting your cat chipped. Not only is it more reliable than a collar, but it’s not very expensive and is worth it if you have an indoor/outdoor cat.

How long does it take for a cat to get used to a collar?

It can take a cat about a week to get used to wearing a collar. Your cat may not like the collar the moment you put it on, but you need to leave it on them for at least a week. If after this amount of time they still don’t like it, you will want to try a different collar along with the recommendations in this post.

Just remind yourself this will take time for your cat to get use to their collar. It will not happen overnight and that is okay.