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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:
#1 Best Overall: Red Dingo Nylon Reflective Breakaway Cat Collar
For its simple but functional design, this nylon reflective collar from Red Dingo is our top pick. Not only does it feature a breakaway design for safety, but it has a cute fish pattern and comes in 7 colors.
The Red Dingo cat collar is made from durable nylon materials that are abrasion resistant. With a steel K-ring, you can attach your cat’s ID as a backup for your cat’s microchip. The quick release safety clip comes undone with even slight tension to prevent snagging.
What we also love about this collar is that it is incredibly affordable and machine-washable for easy cleaning. The ½ inch width is ideal for cats and the size can be adjusted between 8 and 12.5 inches.
- Made from durable nylon materials
- Reflective coating improves nighttime visibility for your cat
- Quick-release fish clip comes undone with slight tension
- Available in seven different colors
- Some found the materials a little stiff
- May not be big enough for very large cats
#2 Value Pick: Frisco Nylon Breakaway Cat Collar with Bell
You don’t necessarily need to spend a lot on your cat’s collar as long as it has the features you want. The Frisco Nylon Breakaway Cat Collar is made from durable materials and has a quick-release safety buckle that comes undone with tension. It also comes in four different colors.
In addition to lightweight nylon webbing, this collar features sturdy plastic hardware with contoured edges to ensure comfort. The D-ring is metal, however, and it even comes with a little metal bell.
Though this collar is an affordable option, there are a few downsides. Some users found the dye (particularly the blue color) transferred to their cat’s fur and others found the D-ring difficult to open for ID attachment. For the most part, however, customers seem to like it.
- Simple and straightforward design
- Very affordably priced
- Breakaway clasp improves safety for your cat
- Removable bell to let you know where your cat is
- D-ring can be difficult to open
- Dye may transfer to the cat’s fur
#3 Best For Cats Who Hate Collars: Beastie Bands Cat Collar
Beastie Bands don’t look like your average cat collar and they don’t fit like your average collar, either. They’re made from stretchy neoprene and, because you can trim them to fit, Beastie Bands are a great fit for cats of all sizes.
These unusual-looking cat collars are a cult favorite among breeders, people who foster kittens, and cat aficionados. They avoid the common problems associated with standard collars. Because they’re stretchy and have Velcro closures, they’re safe for even the most adventurous cat.
In lieu of the D-rings found on most collars, Beastie Bands feature grommets through which you can attach an ID tag or bell.
- Available in a wide variety of colors and prints
- Super soft and lightweight neoprene collar is perfect for cats with sensitive skin and those who hate wearing collars
- Stretchy collar closes with Velcro, making it easy for your cat to escape when in danger
- Compatible with ID tags
- For some patterns, the color received will vary
#4 Best Embroidered: GoTags Nylon Personalized Breakaway Cat Collar With Bell
A customizable embroidered collar offers all the benefits of an ID tag without the discomfort of an ID tag dangling from your neck. Because they’re lightweight and streamlined, this style of collar is a favorite among sensitive cats.
A customizable collar isn’t limited to your cat’s name and phone number. If your cat has special needs, you can request that they be printed on the collar. If your cat gets lost, this message will increase the chances that they’ll receive appropriate care.
In addition to selecting the text embroidered into the collar, you can also choose the color combinations. The company offers five background colors and 15 thread (text) colors.
Although the collars are adjustable from 8”-12”, you’ll find that the sliding adjustment buckle tends to cover some of the embroidered text. While still legible, your custom message will be more difficult to read.
- Perfect for cats who don’t like to wear dangling ID tags
- Made from sturdy, lightweight nylon webbing
- Choose from 5 collar colors and 15 thread colors
- Adjustable to fit a variety of cat sizes
- The sliding adjustment buckle tends to cover the custom embroidery
- May not be small enough for some kittens
#5 Best Glow-In-The-Dark: Rogz Safeloc Breakaway Clip Glow-In-The-Dark Cat Collar
Of all the collars on the market, this one probably offers the most features. It glows in the dark, has reflective strips, and comes with a removable bell.
But it’s in the buckle that this collar really stands apart from the rest of the crowd. This buckle exceeds expectations by featuring sensitivity settings. These settings are based on your cat’s weight and allow you to choose how easily the breakaway buckle will snap open.
The Rogz collar has an adjustable length of 8”-13”, making it appropriate for larger kittens and cats. While flexible for these cats, the collar is probably too big for the tiniest of kittens.
- Has an adjustable breakaway mechanism for the perfect balance of security and safety
- A combination of glow-in-the-dark and reflective materials provide visibility at night
- Made from soft, comfortable materials
- Might not be small enough for very young kittens
#6 Best Novelty: Blueberry Pet All-In-One Breakaway Cat Collar
If charm is one of your priorities when shopping for a cat collar, you might like these colorful collars from Blueberry Pet.
These floral bell collars come in 10 different color and pattern combinations. They come in packs of two, each featuring colorful collars with coordinating flower adornments.
You might not want your cat to wear one of these bold collars every day, but when you want to feel festive or doll your cat up for a photoshoot, these floral bowties are a fun twist on the everyday. If you’d rather your cat wear the collar without the flower accessory, you can easily take it off and put it back on at your convenience.
The collars have a breakaway buckle and are adjustable between 9”-13”, so they’re appropriate for small to large cats.
- Made from high-density polyester webbing
- Fun colors and patterns
- Removable flower accessory adds a pop of fun
- Breakaway buckles for safety
- With a length of 9-13”, these collars are best for larger kittens and adult cats
- Several reviewers say that the collars aren’t durable
#7 Best Matching Set: Pettsie Breakaway Cat Collar Bow Tie and Friendship Bracelet
Finally, here’s a bracelet and collar set that helps you and your cat to show off your bond.
While the bracelet has a minimalist cotton design, the collar has an added touch of style with a lightweight beechwood bowtie and antiqued D-ring for ID tags or a bell.
This set is obviously adorable, but does the collar hold up to our criteria for greatness?
The collar is made from soft 100% cotton and has a breakaway buckle for safety. On the not-so-great side, it’s smaller than some other collars. Your adjustment range is limited to 8”-11”.
Because it’s attractively packaged and, according to customer reviews, well-made, this set makes a good gift.
- Comes with an antiqued D-ring for identification
- If your cat is irritated by nylon webbing, they’ll prefer this cotton collar
- Makes a great gift
- Has a breakaway buckle
- Limited adjustability – may not fit every cat
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.
About the author
Mallory Crusta is a writer and adventurecat enthusiast on a mission to make cats’ lives extraordinary. She’s one of the founders of Wildernesscat – a site for happy, healthy, and adventurous cats who are fueled by nature. Visit Wildernesscat for radically natural cat nutrition, home remedies, and lifestyle inspiration.