A collar is a good way to tell other people that your cat has an owner, especially when he manages to escape your home. Unfortunately, getting your furry little pal to wear a collar can be particularly challenging. Before you give up, try these tips on how to get a cat to wear a collar.
How to get a cat to wear a collar
The best time to train a cat to wear a collar is when he is still a kitten. Once he gets accustomed to wearing one, he will be less likely to wriggle his way out of it.
1. Look for the perfect timing
The longer your cat lives with you, the more you will recognize and understand his rhythm. You will know when he is most active and when laidback and relaxed. This will vary from one cat to another.
When you are planning to train your feline to wear a collar, choose a time when he is least active. This will make it easier for you and your cat will be more receptive to the idea of wearing a collar.
Alternatively, you can distract him with his favorite treat or a toy as you attempt to put a collar on him.
2. Let your cat become familiar with his new collar
Cats are notorious for their wariness of things that are unfamiliar to them. To counter that, do not put his new collar on.
Instead, allow him to become familiar with it. Set the collar down in one of your cat’s favorite spots and let him investigate it. It helps if you rub a familiar scent on it by spraying some of your perfume on it or rubbing it on your clothes. You can also rub the collar on your cat’s fur.
This step can take a few days, depending on your pet’s temperament. The crucial thing to remember is to avoid rushing things. Allow your cat to move at his own pace.
3. Start slowly
Once your cat has become familiar with the sight and smell of his collar, it is now to put it on him. Again, pick a time of day when your cat is laidback.
Start by calling your cat to you and make him sit either on your lap or next to you. Before putting the collar, comfort him with reassuring words and even pets. You may also want to have his favorite treats within easy reach.
Ideally, your cat should be facing you when you put on the collar. This will help prevent your cat from being caught by surprise.
Next, open the collar. Be sure that you have removed any dangling part and ensure that you have adjusted it to fit your pet. Afterward, close the collar.
Once the collar is on your cat, give him treats as a reward for his good behavior. Take this as an opportunity to make adjustments to the collar’s fit. The collar should not be too tight that it chokes your cat. Neither should it be too loose that it creates friction and chafes your cat’s neck. Ideally, you should be able to insert two fingers under the collar.
After you are done checking the fit of the collar, remove it from your cat. Repeat the previous steps a few more times to let your cat get accustomed to wearing one.
What to do if your cat does not like wearing a collar
Even after following the aforementioned steps, it is still possible that your cat does not like wearing a collar. Here are a few tips to help you with a few issues that you might encounter.
1. Your cat does not investigate the collar
Even if your cat seems disinterested in checking out his collar, you can consider it a win. Just continue placing his collar near him until he becomes familiar with it.
Ideally, your cat should inspect and sniff his collar. If he does, you can attempt to put it on him.
2. Your cat runs away when you put on the collar
Some cats will run away when you attempt to put a collar on them.
If your cat does this, you can enlist the help of another person to hold your cat while you put his collar on. However, this will only work if your cat is fine with getting picked up. Just make sure that your cat is held up facing you.
3. Your cat is glaring at you
Before you can even put on the collar on your cat, he is glaring his eyes at you.
While this may seem like a warning for you to stop your attempt, do not be discouraged. If your cat gives you his best death stare, give him a treat before putting on his collar.
4. Your cat hates his collar
This is perfectly normal and you should not feel bad. Let your cat figure things out while you watch him from a good distance.
Soon after, he will calm down. Once he has simmered down, give him treats, not only to appease him, but more importantly, to create a positive association with wearing a collar.
Why some cats dislike wearing a collar
Researchers from the Ohio State University studied whether cats hate wearing collars. This study involved a total of 538 cats.
The researchers discovered that as much 72 percent of the participating cats kept wearing their collars for a total of six months.
Although cats have a reputation for disliking wearing a collar, this study disproves that notion, proving that felines can be trained.
Initially, your cat may hate wearing a collar, especially if he is an adult. Compared to kittens, adult cats are more resistant to wearing collars.
It is normal for your cat to show displeasure to wearing a collar, at least for the first few days. He might be feeling a bit restricted even if the collar’s fit is just right.
Allow your cat to get used to wearing a collar and continue monitoring him. Over time, he will forget that he is wearing one.
Collar safety tips for cats
While there are a few safety risks involved in letting your cat wear a collar, these risks can be minimized or totally eliminated if you follow a few precautionary measures.
1. Make sure that the collar fits your cat well
Your cat’s collar should neither be too tight nor too loose. Ideally, you should be able to slip two fingers under the collar while your cat is wearing it.
2. Monitor your cat
Until you are assured that your pet is totally comfortable with wearing a collar, you should monitor his behavior. Watch out for subtle behavioral changes like appetite loss or lethargy. These might indicate something with your cat.
3. Always check the collar
Before putting on the collar, check if all the safety features are working. And as much as possible, remove unnecessary dangling parts that can get caught, trapping or even choking your cat.
A collar is essential for cats
Even if you decide to keep your pet indoors exclusively, and even if he has been microchipped, it is a good idea to put a collar on him.
Statistically, the probability of getting your cat returned to you should he escape from your home is considerably low. But if he has a collar on him that contains a tag with your contact information, the more likely he will be returned to you.
Getting your cat to wear a collar can seem like an insurmountable challenge at first. But with patience, you can train your pet to wear one.
Image: istockphoto.com / Nykne van Holten