Cat Collar Size Guide: How to properly fit a cat collar
Choosing the right collar is A LOT more important than many cat owners realize. A lot of cat owners simply think of collars as an accessory, but your cat’s safety depends on these collars in more ways than one.
Those looking for a cat collar size guide need to understand that there isn’t necessarily a one-size-fits-all option for sizing your cats collar. But our guide can help you measure and decide on the perfect collar for your kitty!
Not only does your cat need a collar for proper identification purposes (indoor cats need collars too, more on that below) but the collar itself can actually be a safety hazard. Making sure you have a collar that fits properly is an absolute must!
Yes, indoor cats need collars because 40% of all missing cats involve indoor-only cats. Sure, you might not voluntarily let your cat out, but that mean your cat won’t take advantage of human error or use sneaky cat tricks to get outside.
In fact, indoor cats arguably need collars more so than outdoor cats. Outdoor cats are typically well versed in the areas around the home. Indoor cats who sneak outside might find themselves in unfamiliar territory, thus getting lost a lot quicker.
A lost cat without a collar is often seen as just another stray cat. A lost cat with a collar is seen as someone’s pet who desperately needs to be returned home.
Even if there is a 0.001% chance of your cat getting outside, wouldn’t you still want to make things as easy as possible for whoever finds them to be able to get in touch with you ASAP?
All Cat Owners Should Use Breakaway Collars
Before we dive into the sizing guide we just want to make one more very important point: All cat owners need to be using breakaway collars!
What is a breakaway collar? A breakaway collar is a collar with a special clasp that is designed to release when there’s too much force. For example, if you’re not around and your cat’s collar gets snagged on something, the breakaway clasp will release rather than have your cat get tangled up and start choking.
I hate to post this link because the pictures are very sad, but if you have any doubts whatsoever about breakaway collars then you need to read this rspca writeup on cats getting injured from “regular” collars.
Not using a breakaway collar could result in serious injury or death to your cat.
Cat Collar Size Guide
Every single cat collar manufacturer is just a little bit different. There is no one-size-fits-all cat collar size guide that will work universally for all collars and all cats. But don’t worry! We’ll still help you make sure your cat gets the perfect collar!
Start with their previous caretaker(s)
If you are dealing with a newly adopted or rescued cat then see if their previous owner has had luck with any specific collars. If you’ve got a new kitten then the rescue or shelter you’ve adopted it from should provide some guidance on how big the cat will grow to be.
Have the previous owners, caretakers, or breeders had luck with a specific style or size of collar? Sometimes it’s best not to change it. Unless that collar was ill-fitting or wasn’t a breakaway collar!
If you’re adopting a kitten then don’t forget to check out our New Kitten Checklist!
Measure your cat's neck
Carefully measure your cat’s neck. If you don’t have a tape measure to use then simply take a piece of paper or a piece of string, wrap it around their neck, and mark off the size. You can now measure this paper or string with a normal ruler. Write this measurement down and use it in the next steps.
This step is very important because some cats can weigh just 5 or 6lbs while others can easily weight 25+lbs. This means that the size of various cats’ necks is going to very a lot!
Read the collar label/packging
Whether you’re shopping for a collar at a brick-and-mortar boutique pet store or simply ordering one form Amazon, all sellers and manufacturers will have a size guide available. It might be on the website or it might be directly on the packaging, but they’re out there. These size guides are specific to this one manufacturer.
Use the measurement you took from the step above and reference the sizing guide provided by the manufacturer. This will tell you what size collar, specific to the manufacturer of the collar you’re considering, to get for your cat. If it is not a breakaway collar then DO NOT buy it!
Consider wiggle room!
Let’s say, for example, that your cat’s neck is 8″, please note that you should not get an 8″ collar! You’ve got to account for (minimal) weight/size fluctuations and the collar should not be tight! You should be able to comfortably slide two fingers between the collar and your cat’s neck.
Does my cat need a collar if they're microchipped?
Yes, even if your cat is microchipped they should still wear a collar. The best possible way for your cat to safely make it back home should they become lost is to have them wear a breakaway collar and be microchipped.
A microchip is a painless and permanent way to identify your cat. The only downside is that you need a special microchip reader to be able to identify the cat. If your cat has a collar then anyone who spots them out in the wild will immediately know that this cat is someone’s pet.
Your cat’s ID tag on their collar can say “Microchipped – bring to vet” along with your phone number engraved on the other side.
Are flea collars good enough?
If you’ve read our Fleas Guide you’ll remember that flea collars aren’t exactly the most effective way to prevent fleas. Although they are certainly better than no defense at all!
Flea collars aren’t exactly great for identification purposes though. It’s also very uncommon to find breakaway flea collars. But, again, it’s better than no collar at all!
Is it okay for cats to have bells on their collars?
The kitty community was up in arms some years back about bells on cat collars, and things actually got pretty heated. The main argument was that cats’ hearing is so sensitive and having a bell right there by their faces was too much for them to handle.
The verdict among the cat community now is simple: Yes, it is okay for cats to have bells on their collars. Bells make noise at around 50dB which is well below your cat’s hearing sensitivity.