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How to Choose a Safe Cat Collar

30 May 2013  |  kelly

What Type of Safety Cat Collar are Available?

There are traditionally two main methods of providing safety in a cat collar to suit the materials used to manufacture the collars

  • Breakaway buckle or quick release buckle
  • Elastic
Basically, which of these safety devices is employed is determined by the material used to make the collar and the important consideration that the collar also needs to be adjustable in length.

If the material is not too thick and is flexible then the collar can accommodate a tri-glide buckle which allows the collar to be lengthened or shortened to fit the cat. This can then be combined with a breakaway buckle to open and close and for safety as the it does not need to be used to adjust the length of the collar.


However, with stiffer materials like leather the tri-glide adjuster won't work - the collar would be too stiff to slip and adjust the length by this means.  In this case an ordinary buckle needs to be employed to adjust the length and so the safety feature needs to come from elastic. Some cat collars are fully elasticated whilst others have an elastic joint or band at one end. 

What's New in Cat Safety? Belt and Braces from Bobby and Ancol

There is an interesting third supplementary method we have seen employed in some collars and this is the slip buckle - it is a buckle which doesn't have a pin and so can slip open if pulled on hard, and yet at the same time it is capable of adjusting the collar length.

This slip buckle is used as an additional safety feature alongside elastic to increase the safety release power of the collar.

The leather cat collars by Bobby have the slip buckle and the elastic part as do the velvet cat collars from Ancol

Which Type of Collar to Choose? 

It is generally thought that the breakaway buckle is the safest option. However, not all cats are born equal and some owners find that their cat can remove themselves from these collars too easily and lose them quickly.

So unfortunately there is no hard and fast rule but more a matter of trial and error with your particular cat to find the style which suits his or her individual behaviour best.

Correct Fitting of Cat Collar for Safety is Very Important 

Adjusting the collar length properly is very important. It should not be too tight causing discomfort to your cat. However a too loose fitting cat collar can be unsafe as the cat may be able to get its jaw or leg under the collar with resulting injury.

The correct fitting is to allow 1 to 2 fingers comfortably between the collar and the cats neck.

 A Golden Rule

Never use a dog collar (sometimes called a pet collar) on a cat.

  • Dog collars are designed to be safe for dogs so that they can not escape from them while on the lead.  
  • Cat collars are designed to be safe for cats so that they can escape from them if they get caught up on something.

Two totally opposite collar requirements for dogs and cats because they are two different species who behave very differently!