Should Your Indoor Cat Wear A Collar?

Updated November 26, 2022
Should Your Indoor Cat Wear A Collar?

Whether an indoor cat should wear a collar is a topic of heated debate. Some owners are adamant collars are crucial for any cat.

Others are concerned about their cat’s comfort and mental well-being since felines are freedom-loving creatures.

Many indoor cats have no reason to wear a collar other than a stylish look. However, collars are necessary for indoor cats that can potentially escape the house or live with other felines.

Collar advocates say that they prevent cats from getting lost, helping quick identification, and thus should be worn by any cat non-stop.

However, there are many known cases of cats getting injured because of collars. The best way to ensure your cat won’t get lost is to keep your windows and doors closed when you can’t supervise your pet.


The primary purpose of cat collars is identification. While this may seem counterintuitive, indoor cats also need identification if they manage to escape. Yes, your cat escaping is improbable if you lock the doors and windows at night.

However, the risk of your cat falling out the window as it enjoys the sunshine or running out as you open the entrance door is never zero.

Even if your cat is shy and anxious about unfamiliar environments, it can get curious by a bird flying by or another cat and get out the door when you least expect it.

The risk of your cat escaping is especially high if it isn’t fixed and you have feral cats walking outside the house. The cats will attract your pet, causing it to lose its cold mind.

There’s a chance you can find your cat even without a collar with an ID tag. You can print out posters describing your cat in detail; if you’re fortunate, someone will spot your cat and bring it home.

However, people are likely to ignore a cat without a collar, thinking it’s a stray, even if it looks clean and well-fed. On the other hand, an ID tag signals that a cat has an owner who might be worried about its location.

If the cat goes too far from home and approaches someone, they can check the address on the tag and notice that the walk has gone out of hand.

There are also situations when someone finds a nice cat on the street and adopts it, thinking the cat doesn’t have an owner. A collar with an ID tag prevents such scenarios.

Sometimes, cats get injured during a walk. If someone else brings an injured cat without a collar to a vet, they won’t be able to notify the owner.

On the other hand, if a cat has an ID tag, you will instantly find out about if your cat gets into trouble. One may argue that a microchip does just that, helping someone identify a cat with a simple scan.

This is true – a microchip is a convenient way of identifying pets. Unlike a collar, it doesn’t need a replacement and doesn’t cause cat discomfort.

But one must drive the cat to a vet or local shelter to find out who’s the owner. Plus, a microchip doesn’t prevent unintentional cat “theft.”

Preventing Aggression Among Cats

The purpose of bells on cat collars is to keep wildlife safe from felines. The bell’s ringing alerts birds and rodents a cat is approaching and gives them time to get away, saving their population and preventing diseases related to eating prey.

Indoor cats don’t hunt wildlife. However, they can also benefit from bell collars, albeit differently. Bells can alert other cats or smaller animals in multi-pet households about a cat approaching.

In normal circumstances, such a signal is unnecessary. However, it can help avoid confrontation if one of the cats is a bully.

Whether the reason is territorial aggression, maternal instinct, or jealousy of the owner’s attention, a simple bell lets other animals know danger is close and allows them to escape.

Usually, cats don’t chase other animals, even if they are aggressive towards them unless they hunt. However, a fight may begin if the aggressive cat comes face to face with another cat.

On the same note, a bell on your cat’s collar can help locate your pet when it seems to have gone missing. It’s also beneficial because you can quickly save your cat if it gets stuck somewhere.

Do All Indoor Cats Need Collars?

The benefits of collars for indoor cats are indisputable. But do all indoor cats need collars? No.

If you’re confident your cat has no way of escaping the house, cannot get stuck anywhere, and doesn’t pose a threat to other pets, it doesn’t need a collar.

A correctly fitting collar doesn’t harm a cat, but wearing a neck accessory non-stop isn’t particularly comfortable, especially with a constantly ringing bell. Many cats hate feeling restricted and try to take their collars off.

If you don’t want your cat to wear a collar all the time or at all, ensure that your home is safe. Install secure locks on windows and doors. Consider cat-proof window screens to prevent your cat from falling out.

A bug net won’t keep your cat in because cats are too heavy and can easily push the net out. Cat-proof window screens are made from more durable materials and attach securely to the window.

They allow your cat to enjoy fresh air without the risk of falling out. You can find a larger cat-proof net or install glass if you have a balcony.

You can also inspect your house for any tight spaces where your cat can get stuck, such as gaps between kitchen cabinets or under the stairs.

Even if you have several pets and one is a bully, a collar with a bell is only a temporary solution that doesn’t touch the root of the issue. Try to resolve the conflict between your pets instead of relying on a bell.

How to Choose a Collar for an Indoor Cat

Cat collar types are numerous. You should find one that aligns with your objectives, whether identification or preventing aggression among cats.

There’s no sense in buying a collar with reflective panels since your cat doesn’t walk outdoors at night.

Choose lightweight cat collars made from soft, breathable materials. Leather collars are beautiful, but many are too heavy for cat neck. Cats are dozens of times smaller than us, so what seems light to humans might be very heavy for felines.

Nylon cat collars are an excellent option because they are lightweight and extremely durable. Adjustable collars are better than fixed-size collars because you can ensure the perfect fit for your pet’s comfort.

One may think that a breakaway mechanism is unnecessary for an indoor cat, but it isn’t true. A breakaway mechanism can save your cat’s life if the collar gets caught on something in the house while you’re away.

If you’re sure about your house safety for your pet, you can choose a collar with buckle closure. When choosing a cat collar with an ID tag, ensure the tag isn’t too heavy or large.

The tag should be large enough to contain essential information like your name, address, and contact number but not be bulky. It shouldn’t have sharp edges that can harm your pet.

Plastic tags are lightweight, but many cats chew their ID tags, so they aren’t particularly durable. Stainless steel tags are longer-lasting and don’t rust or fade. They are a bit heavier than plastic.

If the sounds of an ID tag jingling on your cat’s neck annoys you, get it a silicone cover. It will also prevent dental injuries if your cat likes chewing on things.

When choosing a cat collar with a bell, ensure the bell is securely attached to the strap. Bells are a major choking hazard, so your cat shouldn’t be able to bite the bell off.

Should an Indoor Cat Wear a Collar Non-Stop?

“Should a cat wear a collar non-stop?” is a difficult question to answer as there are pros and cons to wearing a collar and not wearing it.

If you are worried about your cat getting lost, it is probably best to keep the collar on. The entire purpose of collars is prevention, whether aggression, hunting, or the cat getting lost. You never know when an accident will happen.

Your cat can fall out the window or run out the door at any moment. You cannot always supervise your cats to prevent a fight, either. A collar grants you peace of mind.

However, many veterinarians and cat owners say that an indoor cat does not always need to wear a collar. A collar can be a hazard if your cat gets snagged on something, and it can also be uncomfortable for your cat to wear.

To avoid these issues, choose a collar of the correct size from lightweight material. The collar should have a quick-release mechanism. If you’re concerned about your cat’s comfort, regularly check the collar fit or consider microchipping.