When a cat dislikes their collar, they’ll stop at nothing to get it off. However, finding the right collar can make it a much more enjoyable experience for both you and your feline. To learn more about the best collars for cats who hate collars, I reached out to Dr. Laura Robinson, DVM associate veterinarian at Antonio Animal Hospital in Southern California and a consulting vet for Canidae Pet Food. “Cats are very particular,” she wrote in an email to Bustle. Some “may prefer the feel of elastic collars” while others might prefer another material such as leather or nylon. A little trial and error might be involved, but there are some guiding principles to help in your search:
What To Consider When Choosing A Collar For Your Cat
When searching for the right material for your cat's collar, start with their preferences. Materials such as soft leather and smooth silicone allow your cat’s fur to move freely while lightweight options such as nylon make it easy for your cat to forget the collar is even there. Additionally, add-ons such as reflective strips can also be nice safety features to consider. However, if your cat already dislikes collars, it might be best to stay away from clunky bows, large embellishments, or bird-warning bells, as they may be a distraction and make it difficult for the cat to forget they have a collar on. Many collars also feature removable bells, so you can see what you and your kitty prefer.
In addition to material, the type of collar you choose is also important. One popular type of cat collar is the “breakaway” which uses a safety latch to free your cat from the collar if it were to get stuck. Outdoor cats can benefit greatly from a breakaway collar, and while these collars are meant to free your cat in certain situations, it requires a great deal of force to release the latch — a plus if your kitty is constantly trying to get it off. Another popular option is an elastic collar which can stretch if necessary but doesn’t release the buckle as a breakaway collar does.
Finally, getting a collar that fits correctly is essential for the comfort of your cat. Most collars are adjustable and some come in multiple sizes, but it is also a good idea to measure the circumference of your cat's neck with a soft measuring tape to ensure you’re ordering the right size.
Finally, Robinson recommends experimenting with different types of collars to see what the cat likes. Below, you’ll find the most popular collars for cats who hate collars and they’re all available on Amazon. Plus, some extra tips from Robinson on how to get your cat used to wearing it.
1. A Cat Collar With A Stretchy Elastic Strap
Why it’s great:
- Elastic strap for comfort and safety
- Durable leather construction
- Comes in two sizes and 12 color options
This adjustable cat collar is made of double-stitched leather and features an elastic safety strap, removable bell, and sleek metal buckle. There are two sizes to choose from (one for necks 9 to 11 inches in circumference and a smaller option for necks 6 to 7 inches in circumference), and the thin 3/8-inch width makes it easy for your cat to forget about. It boasts over 12,000 Amazon reviews and comes in a dozen vivid colors, including mint green, orange, and light blue.
Style: Elastic and buckle | Material: Leather | Colors: 12 | Neck circumference: 9 to 11 inches, 6 to 7 inches
One reviewer wrote: “This is a great collar! We needed one that could be buckled tight enough so our cat couldn’t get it stuck on his teeth trying to get it off, but still not choking him and this is perfect! If you have a cat that hates his collar I highly recommend this one! I can put two fingers between his neck and the collar, but it’s tight enough he can’t get it off or it stuck on his mouth and I feel confident if he was in danger he could pull enough and the elastic would help get it off!”
2. This Comfortable Breakaway Collar
Why it’s great:
- Made of waterproof silicone
- Quick-release breakaway clasps
- Six-month warranty
This breakaway collar is made with smooth waterproof silicone that not only repels water but is also lightweight. Its quick-release breakaway clasps are designed to pull apart under intense pressure and free your cat from potential hazards. Other pluses include a removable bell, six-month warranty, and two sizes available.
Style: Breakaway | Material: Silicone | Colors: 10 | Neck circumference: 7.7 inches to 10.4 inches (Adult), 5.7 inches to 7.3 inches (Kitten)
One reviewer wrote: “My cat is a very touchy, persnickety lady, and she has exactly zero issues with this collar (she has always hated bells but I took it off for her). The bell is easily removable for sneaky/noise-sensitive cats. Adjusting the size can be tough with a hyper kitty, but patience pays off. The best part about this collar is that my kitty (a notorious collar destroyer) can't tear it up the way she does woven collars! I think she likes the smooth texture better as well, because I haven't seen her fiddling with it at all.”
3. A Reflective Elastic Collar
Why it’s great:
- The metal buckle can be fastened anywhere along the collar for ultimate adjustability
- Reflective threads are woven into the collar
This fully elastic collar is designed to expand if your cat gets stuck on something, but it stays snug enough so it’s difficult for them to get off on their own. It features a reflective material that’s been woven right into the elastic and a metal buckle that can be poked through and fastened anywhere along the length of the collar. It’s adjustable up to 10 inches and, according to the manufacturer, the reflective charm can be removed from the tag ring with a pair of pliers if desired.
Style: Elastic with buckle | Material: Elastic | Colors: 5 | Neck circumference: Up to 10 inches
One reviewer wrote: “Really nice collar for kitties who always get out of/or loose their collar easily. It can be adjusted for any cat neck size. This is the second one I have bought; this one for the finicky kitty who hates collars. She actually tolerates this one just fine. I highly recommend it.”
4. A Breakaway Collar Made Of Soft Leather
Why it’s great:
- Made of soft, genuine leather
- Has a removable bell
If you’re looking to find a balance between luxury and durability, this soft leather collar is a strong contender. It features a breakaway clasp for safety and a brightly colored bell that can be removed if desired. It’s also designed to fit necks with a circumference of 8 to 12 inches — a plus if you’re looking for a comfortable collar for a larger cat.
Style: Breakaway | Material: Leather | Colors: 9 | Neck circumference: 8 to 12 inches
One reviewer wrote: “this is the perfect collar! it is durable enough that cat teeth can't break through it but soft enough that it doesn't irritate their skin! my cat use to try to take his off every second, but he doesn't even notice this collar.”
5. A Lightweight Rubber Cat Collar
Why it’s great:
- Waterproof and hypoallergenic rubber material
- Easy to clean
- Won’t fray
If your cat spends time outdoors, their collar is bound to get a little dirty every now and then. As an alternative to fabric options, this rubber cat collar is super easy to clean, completely waterproof, and won’t carry allergens. Plus, there aren’t any fibers or threads to come loose and fray over time. With a breakaway buckle, adjustable length, and a buckle loop for an ID tag (not included), this collar is a great choice for your outdoor cat.
Style: Breakaway | Material: Rubber | Colors: 5 | Neck circumference: 7.5 to 10.5 inches
One reviewer wrote: “My cat normally just shreds any collar I put on her-scratching at it to try and get it off. When I put this collar on, no scratching! She didn’t even seem to notice like it doesn’t bother her at all.”
6. A Glow-In-The-Dark Collar
Why it’s great:
- Lightweight nylon material
If your cat loves exploring in the dark, consider this cool glow-in-the-dark cat collar. Not only does it give cars and other animals more of a heads up that something’s there, but it also helps you find your feline in the dark, too. This collar features a breakaway safety clasp, is made of lightweight nylon material, and comes with a removable bell. With eight colors to choose from, your cat will be glowing in no time.
Style: Breakaway | Material: Nylon | Colors: 8 | Neck circumference: 8 to 12 inches
One reviewer wrote: “THIS is the only collar my cat will wear...all others, he gets off...I don't understand why, but this is his fave collar!”
7. A Customizable Breakaway Collar
Why it’s great:
- Customizable colors and embroidery
- Smooth and lightweight nylon material
If you want to communicate essential information without a dangling tag, consider this embroidered cat collar. It’s customizable with six collar color options and 12 embroidery thread colors to choose from. The durable nylon material is lightweight and the removable bell makes it so your cat can easily forget it’s even there.
Style: Breakaway | Material: Nylon | Colors: 6 collar colors, 12 embroidery colors | Neck circumference: 8 to 12 inches
One reviewer wrote: “This collar is fantastic! My cat who hates collars loves it. It's super soft and lightweight. Easy to adjust and easy to fasten. Shipping was much faster than expected as well. Would definitely recommend!”
8. A Leather Collar With Cute Studs
Why it’s great:
- Durable leather material
- Cute stud accents
For the fashionable cat with loads of personality (and who doesn’t mind a little extra weight), this leather collar with little metal studs is a fun choice. It’s water-resistant, features an elastic strap for safety, and uses a stainless steel buckle that can be fastened along five pre-cut holes. In addition, the leather has been colored using only vegetable dyes to reduce the chances of irritation.
Style: Elastic | Material: Leather | Colors: 6 | Neck circumference, according to the brand website: 6.5 to 8.5 inches (10-inch size), 9 inches to 10.75 inches (12-inch size)
One reviewer wrote: “This is the 1st collar that I have loved. It is made very well and has lasted longer than any of the other collars over the years due to our cat having claws. She hasn’t bothered this one at all. We can tell she likes it too.”
How To Train Your Cat To Wear A Collar
Once you’ve selected a collar, Robinson suggests making the collar a positive experience for the cat. She recommends putting the collar on for just a few minutes at a time to start (making sure you can fit two fingers underneath so it’s not too tight) and rewarding the cat with affection, playtime, and special treats. Then, slowly increase the amount of time they wear it, and if they begin to seem bothered, decrease the time again and work your way back up. She also says that applying a calming pheromone product, such as Feliway, to your cat's collar can reduce stress and help them relax.
Dr. Laura Robinson, DVM Associate Veterinarian at Antonio Animal Hospital in Southern California and consulting vet for Canidae Pet Food