Cat Collars: Tips For Choosing & Training Your Cat

Last updated: February 26, 2013

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Animal Training and Behaviour Centre Black and white cat wearing a well fitted collar Grey cat wearing cat collar

Cat Collars

Tips on choosing and fitting a collar

Make sure you choose a collar with an elastic insert (“stretch” collar) or quick release mechanism (pop-away collars), so that your cat can free itself should it become entangled in anything. Never put a leather collar or tie a ribbon around your cat’s neck.

The collar should be snug enough not to pull over the cat’s head easily, but loose enough for you to fit ‘two-fingers’ between the collar and the cat’s neck. Cut off long collar ends after fitting the collar.

Collars should not be used to walk a cat on a leash – use a harness for greater security. And never leave a cat unattended with a leash attached to its collar.

Training your cat to wear the collar

Your cat might not appreciate a collar at first, but with patience and consistency you can teach it to accept a collar. Choose a calm time for your cat’s first introduction to the collar. If you try to put the collar on your cat when it is already stressed, you’re likely to have problems.

First put the collar on the ground so the cat can investigate and play with it. Spray with Feliway if you have some. Another technique is rub a facecloth gently around the cat’s mouth to get some of the cat’s own odours, then rub the collar with the cloth, so the collar smells familiar. Rubbing the collar on the cat’s bedding may also prove effective.

Put the collar on the cat after plenty of cuddles and play, and fit it with a two-finger space as described above. Once the collar is on, make sure you use reassuring words and plenty of treats to reward your cat, and let him or her get used to it for a little while before taking it off. You should aim to do this daily inside the house for gradually increasing lengths of time, until it seems your cat is getting more and more comfortable with wearing the collar.

Short sessions, rewards, and persistence are the key.

In the first few weeks, you may discover that your cat becomes clever at slipping the collar off. Whenever this happens, simply replace the collar and give rewards and play. Check the collar is fitted properly. Eventually most cats will get used to wearing a collar.

If your cat cannot learn to tolerate a collar, keeping your cat inside the house at all times or in a fully enclosed outside cat run may be good options. These have advantages, such as reduced risks of attacks by other cats, motor vehicle injuries or getting lost. Another benefit is that indoors-only cats are not a risk to wildlife. Cats kept indoors need plenty of room to play, toys and activities to keep them happy and stimulated, and of course plenty of company from you and your family.

You can find great deals on quality cat collars and support the RSPCA at the same time by shopping online at World For Pets the RSPCA Superstore

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RSPCA animal training courses are available across Australia:

  • Queensland: call the RSPCA Animal Training & Behaviour Centre for further information in regard to courses available on (07) 3426 9928.
  • Victoria: for any information on training and behaviour in Victoria call Amanda Murcutt on 92242521.
  • West Australia: call the RSPCA PawsCentral Adoption Centre for further information about courses available near you on (08) 9209-9309 or visit the RSPCA WA website.
  • NSW: Information is available on the RSPCA NSW website.
  • Australian Capital Territory: Information is available on the RSPCA ACT website.
  • South Australia: Contact information is available on the RSPCA SA website.
  • Northern Territory: Contact information is available on the RSPCA Darwin website.
  • Tasmania: Training is available at the Hobart Animal Care Centre in Mornington. Go to the RSPCA Tasmania website for further information.

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