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How Tight Should a Cat Collar Be? Vet-Approved Sizing & Tips

Written by: Emma Stenhouse

Last Updated on June 19, 2024 by Catster Editorial Team

cat collar

How Tight Should a Cat Collar Be? Vet-Approved Sizing & Tips


Dr. Paola Cuevas Photo


Dr. Paola Cuevas

MVZ (Veterinarian)

The information is current and up-to-date in accordance with the latest veterinarian research.

Learn more »

Choosing the right collar for your cat is vital to keep them safe, but once you’ve got their shiny new collar, how tight should it be? This is a question that many cat owners ask. In brief, you should be able to fit one to two fingers between your cat and their collar. Let’s find out why!

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Top 4 Reasons to Use a Cat Collar

1. Identification

If your cat goes outside, it’s sensible to make sure they’re wearing a collar with an ID tag. You should put your phone number, address, and last name. Some owners also put their cat’s name on the ID tag. If you’re concerned about pet theft, though, it is best to leave your cat’s name off the tag. Even if your cat wears a collar, you should also have them microchipped and include an “I’m chipped” note on the tag. If you have space, adding another phone number is always a good idea.

2. Activating Cat Flaps & Feeders

If your cat needs a tag to activate a cat flap or an automatic cat feeder, you’ll need to make sure they’re wearing a collar with the tag attached.

orange and white tabby cat with collar_Sydneymills_shutterstock
Photo Credit: Sydneymills, Shutterstock

3. Controlling Fleas

You may choose to use a flea collar to deter these little pests.

4. Decreasing Hunting

Collars with bells or wide colorful covers that slip over your cat’s collar can scare away wildlife and reduce the number of birds or small rodents that your cat can catch.

Fur-covered toys are great options that allow cats to exercise their natural prey-instincts by mimicking small animals. The Hepper Furball Set comes with two 2-inch faux fur toys each featuring a hidden bell inside. The gentle jingling enhances playtime and will keep your cat, no matter their age, engaged and ready for action! Learn more here! 

Hepper Furball Toy Set
2 Reviews
Hepper Furball Toy Set
  • Multisensory Marvel - Indulge your cat in diverse play with long plush faux fur and a bell with...
  • Double the Fun in Every Pack - Each cat pom pom balls measure 5 cm in diameter and each pack comes...
  • Ideal for Rough Play - Tightly stitched for durability, these pom pom balls for cats can withstand...

At Catster, we've admired Hepper for many years, and decided to take a controlling ownership interest so that we could benefit from the outstanding designs of this cool cat company!

5. Location Tracking

With current technology, a cat’s collar can carry a location-tracking device that feeds their live location directly to your phone. This way, you can always know where your cat is, learn more about their habits, and ensure that they never get lost.

cat collar with bell_19eli14_Pixabay
Photo Credit: 19eli14, Pixabay

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What Type of Collar Should You Choose?

The safest type of collar for a cat is one with a breakaway buckle. These are designed to “snap” open if your cat gets their collar caught on something and they try to pull away. If your cat is particularly active, then they may occasionally come home without their collar, but that’s far better than your cat getting stuck somewhere. If your cat’s collar had an ID tag on it, someone may find it and return it to you!

Outdoor cats need comfortable, sturdy collars with wildlife-alerting bells and safe quick-release buckles. Hepper's Breakaway Collar offers all that and more, with a fashionable range of colors, natural hemp webbing, and adjustable slip-locks that will fit any cat. We love this collar, and we think your cat will, too!

Hepper Hemp Safety Breakaway Cat Collar with Bells
  • Hemp-Hemp Hooray - hemp breakaway cat collars are long-lasting and resistant to UV rays – The...
  • What the neck?! - Our cat breakaway collar has adjustable sizing with metal slip-locks, and softens...
  • Breakaway Safety - Cat collars breakaway to ensure that when out adventuring, the material getting...

At Catster, we’ve admired Hepper for many years and decided to take a controlling ownership interest so that we could benefit from the outstanding designs of this cool cat company!

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How Tight Should My Cat’s Collar Be?

Most cat collars come in one size, designed to fit a neck size of between 8 and 12 inches. Each collar will have a sliding adjuster that enables you to adapt the size to fit your cat. Start with the collar as long as it will go, and try it around your cat’s neck.

If it is too big, gradually decrease the size by around ½ inch each time, trying it on your cat as you go. You want to get to the point that you can fit one to two fingers between the collar and your cat’s neck. This might seem quite tight, but any looser and your cat may be able to get a leg between the collar and their neck. This is uncomfortable, as well as dangerous if your cat gets stuck like this.

For the first few times wearing a collar, your cat may tense their neck, so be sure to check the fit once they’ve relaxed and adjust it if you need to.

If you’ve bought a collar for your kitten, check the fit regularly to make sure it hasn’t become too tight. It is not a good idea to leave kittens unattended wearing their collars, as they’re more likely to get into difficulty than an adult cat. Kittens also aren’t usually heavy enough to trigger the breakaway buckle to snap open.

Now you know how tight your cat’s collar should be and more importantly, why. If your cat has a collar on, go check if it’s fitted correctly!

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Cat collars are beneficial for several reasons, but the collar also needs to fit your cat properly. A cat’s collar shouldn’t be so tight that it chokes them but not loose enough that your cat can slip it off. If you can fit one or two fingers in between the cat’s neck and the collar, the fit should be just right. Continue to make adjustments until you achieve the perfect fit!

Image Credit: Piqsels

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