How to train your cat to wear a collar

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You may typically associate collars with dogs, but cats can also be trained to wear them. In addition to microchipping, a collar with identification tags can assist in getting the cat back home if it gets lost. 

To help you, here are some tips from our Shelter Health Pro website on training your cat to wear a collar.

Tips on choosing and fitting a collar
  • Choose a collar with an elastic insert (“stretch” collar) or quick release mechanism (pop-away collars), so that your cat can free itself should it become entangled in anything
  • The collar should be snug enough not to pull over the cat’s head easily, but loose enough for you to fit two fingers between the collar and the cat’s neck. Cut off long collar ends after fitting the collar.
Getting the cat used to the collar:

The cat might not appreciate a collar at first, but with patience and consistency you can teach them to accept a collar. Choose a calm time for your cat’s first introduction to the collar. If you try to put the collar on your cat when he or she is already stressed, you’re likely to encounter resistance.

  • First put the collar on the ground so the cat can investigate and play with it.
  • Spray with Feliway, which is a calming pheromone for the cat. 
  • Another technique is to rub a facecloth gently around the cat’s mouth and cheeks to get some of the cat’s own scent, then rub the collar with the cloth so the collar smells familiar. Rubbing the collar on the cat’s bedding may also prove effective.
  • Once the collar is on, use reassuring words and plenty of treats to reward the cat, and let him or her get used to it for a little while before taking it off.
  • You should aim to do this daily for gradually increasing lengths of time until it seems the cat is getting more and more comfortable with wearing the collar.

Short sessions, rewards, persistence and patience are crucial for success!

NOTE:

In the beginning, you may discover that the cat becomes clever at slipping the collar off. Whenever this happens, simply replace the collar and give rewards and play. Check that the collar is fitted properly. Eventually most cats will get used to wearing a collar.

Visit this resource on our website for more tips on choosing and fitting a collar, and getting the cat acclimatized to the collar.

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