To put or not to put, that is the question. In our last article, we discuss whether or not you should put a collar on your cat. In this article, we reach a little further to talk about putting a bell on your cat’s collar. Should I put a bell on my cat’s collar, you ask? Fluffy Kitty has the answers you’re looking for.
First comes the collar, and then the bell. Once you make the decision to put a collar on your cat, you may decide to add a bell to it. Bells on collars can either be very efficient or simply quite annoying (for you or your cat). Below we discuss the pros and cons of putting a bell on your cat’s collar.
In this article:
- Why Put a Bell on a Cat’s Collar?
- Why NOT Put a Bell on a Cat’s Collar
- Pros and Cons of Cat Bells
- Final Thoughts: Should I Put a Bell on My Cat’s Collar?
Why Should I Put a Bell on My Cat’s Collar?
Historically, bells are of great importance. When the school bell rings, it signals all the children to go to their class. Church bells ring out to signal worshipers that the service is about to start, to mark the hours of the day, or to come together in times of celebration or grief. They alarm us, bring us together, and represent joy, freedom, and peace.
A bell on your cat’s collar, though perhaps less grandiose, also serves many functions.
Here are a few reasons why it may be a good idea to put a bell on your cat’s collar.
A Cat Bell Can Alert Critters
By putting a bell on your cat’s collar, you make sure that your cat won’t be as lucky when hunting little birdies.
Did you know that outdoor cats are responsible for the extinction of approximately 33 species of modern birds, reptiles, and mammals?
Cats are natural predators, but research shows that over half of their kills are merely just for fun; only one-third are actually consumed.
This is why we think it is important for outdoor cats to have bells on their collars. Your cat will not be able to sneak-up as quietly on preying birds and small critters with the jingling of the bell.
It’s always recommended to minimize the time your cat is left outdoors, especially overnight as this is when cats are most active and prefer to hunt.
A Cat Bell Helps Locate Your Cat
Our kitties are mischievous creatures, don’t you agree? They often find themselves (or actually we find them) in strange places, whether they’re sleeping or hiding out. Cats are (sometimes) silent pets, unlike their canine counterparts.
Sometimes we don’t even notice Yoda in the morning until he’s sat squarely in front of our faces, staring at us intensely until we finally decide to roll out of bed.
Whether in a large country house, or a small city apartment, you probably already know your cat’s good at playing hide and seek.
Putting a bell on your cat’s collar not only reduces the impact on wildlife, but it also helps you know the whereabouts of your cat even if your in the next room or out gardening.
Our experience with Yoda
Our Yoda is an indoor cat, so he doesn’t need a bell to alarm critters cause he doesn’t hunt (except the laser or the occasional catnip mouse). We once put a bell on his collar because when he was younger he used to jump up on the table, scratch the furniture (before we got a scratching post), and just generally be crazy and all over the place.
With the bell on his collar, we could hear from the other room the sound the bell made each time he jumped on the counter. It was a distinct noise that we otherwise wouldn’t have heard if it weren’t for the bell on the collar. Now, we don’t put a bell on Yoda because he’s learnt not to jump up on tables or counters, or scratch at his pawent’s furniture. 😉
While we think it is generally a good idea to put a bell on a cat’s collar, especially for outdoor cats, it is not for every cat or cat owner. It’s important to note that what works for others may not work for you or your fluffy feline. The most important thing to remember is that you should always decide what’s best for you and your cat.
Why Should I NOT Put a Bell on My Cat’s Collar?
Opinions are divided when it comes to putting a bell on a cat’s collar. While many owners say yes it’s a good idea, others say different. Each side offers their own valuable points of view. Below are some common reasons why you should not put a bell on your cat’s collar.
A Cat Bell Can Be Annoying or Stressful
Bells on cats’ collars can create repetitive, annoying noises for both you and your cat. Sometimes cats do not react well to this jingly little bell that sits just under their chin. If your cat already has anxiety, it may not be a good idea to add a bell to his collar. It’s the same for cats who stress easily.
Bells Can Pose as Hazards
Bells can also become a hazard for cats. Cats, if motivated or annoyed enough, may sometimes try to chew off their collar or more specifically, the bell that dangles on it.
It’s possible that your cat could get his little teeth or jaw stuck while trying to remove the bell. On the other hand, if your cat plays enough with the bell, either by bunny-kicking or chewing at it, the little ball inside could get dislodged and may become a choking hazard for your cat.
Pros & Cons of Putting a Bell on a Cat’s Collar
We’ve seen both sides of the story now, so here’s a brief summary of both the pros and cons of putting a bell on your cat.
- Warns prey of impending doom
- Helps locate your wandering kitty
- And could help others identify your cat if ever he gets lost
- Aesthetically pleasing
- Though there are other cute (and quieter) ways! Bow tie? Bandanna?
- Slightly annoying to both cat and human ears
- Could be stressful for your cat
- May become a hazard
Final Thoughts: Should I Put a Bell on My Cat’s Collar?
Deciding to put a bell on your cat’s collar is a decision that requires some consideration from both points of view. Whether you agree or not with putting a bell on a cat’s collar, the decision is ultimately up to the cat parent. Only you, along with your kitty, can choose what’s best for both of you.
We hope we could help you with your decision making! Thanks for reading Fluffy Kitty and please do let us know your thoughts and questions. As always, we love hearing from our followers!
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Wednesday 16th of June 2021
We put a bell on our kitty's collar to help us avoid tripping or stepping on him. Woobie moves silently and frequently appears right at our feet. In the kitchen, this is especially dangerous. Unfortunately, Woobie, like our other kitties before him, quickly learned how to move without the bell making a sound. He can even jump up on things without the bell making a sound. There is the occasional jingle, such as when he jumps down, so the bell does help.
The Fluffy Kitty
Wednesday 23rd of June 2021
Ahah, they are so sneaky!! Love the name Woobie.
Friday 12th of June 2020
I did put a bell on my cat after 10 years- he used to eat his little bunnies and birds outside or some place I did not see or hear and then he started bringing them into our bedroom at night and the sound of little bunny skulls being munched on and then having to clean up the blood and intestines in the morning was too much- he seems ok the bell so far- I would like to see a study on whether cats are killed more because of bells or not- all those wonderful pets may have had the same fate regardless of if they had a bell! I imagine my cat still gets the trill of the hunt and then can come home and eat his food and treats here.
I live in a rural area and do want to protect the birds as well
Wednesday 23rd of June 2021
Hi Julie! I just noticed that your post is now 1 yr old, so I'm not sure if you'll still see this. I decided to put a bell on my 7-toed, snow mitten cat for a couple reasons. I'm a wildlife rehabilitator, so I see far too many injuries and fatalities that could've possibly been avoided if humans were more aware of habitat and behavior. Yes, natural instinct will always dominate, but as caring humans, we can be more aware of such things as the placement of bird feeders and houses, as well as how to locate bird( including duck), bunny, squirrel nests, etc. Once we do this, there are ways to keep both prey and predator much safer from one other, while still allowing each species to have their freedom. Location...Location...Location.. Nothing is 100%, but there are things you can purchase or easily make yourself that will greatly reduce the chance of interaction, which reduces harm. You mentioned your cat bringing animals to your bed. Most of a cats hunting is done towards the evening and through the night. Best to bring him inside before that. Mealtime, playtime, and some interactive toys should keep him content until morning. *As a lover of all animals and someone who sees suffering every day, I chose to put a bell on my cat. NOT JUST ANY BELL. *Bells can be a choking hazard for cats! I use a larger bell for this reason. Looks a little ridiculous, but it's safe. Lol! *Some cats are annoyed with that high-pitched jingling so close to their ears. The larger bells have a lower pitch. Less likely to bother the cat and loud enough to warn birds and other animals. *It is also less likely to annoy dogs, who not only have very astute hearing, but are very sensitive to high pitches. *I chose to use a cat harness instead of a collar. Not a vest-like harness(personal choice,) I use a thin, strap harness, slightly wider than a cat collar. On a harness, the bell placement is lower than it is on a collar, so the "jingle" is further from your cats ears. I do not use an additional ring to attach the bell, since I don't feel they're safe(claws caught, etc). If a safe attachment is not on the harness, I sew the bell on or tie with twine(no loops.) I hope this helps you and anyone who may read this. Always for the animals, Stacey
The Fluffy Kitty
Tuesday 16th of June 2020
Oh I can imagine how that would be unpleasant! It's interesting - some say it really helps while others don't. We have learned that feeding after rigorous play or "hunting" is ideal for cats so they feel like they've "caught" their food (even if it's just in the bowl!) So we try to play with Yoda before feeding him. If anything, it makes him work up an appetite! x
Monday 30th of December 2019
Should you bell your cat or not. The answer lies in how do you see yourself and your cat. Do you see yourself as a cat parent with your cat/s as babies equivalent to your children. Or do you see yourself as cat owners with your cat/s as pets. All this when you have moved ahead of the angle of safe environment, tricky places etc etc. Again there is no right except the one you feel is right for you.
Tuesday 26th of November 2019
Hello, now for me..the most important thing is for my cat's safety. I totally disagree with a cat wearing a bell, because if you live in an area that has dogs (you hear about humans, including children being attacked all the time), then that could be dangerous for the cat, not being able to hide and scoot away, because of that #%%# bell, LOL
The Fluffy Kitty
Thursday 28th of November 2019
That's a good point, Mark! I specifically don't like the idea of a collar being used in case they get trapped, even though I know break-away collars are made for that. But it still worries me, lol.
Friday 3rd of May 2019
Thank you for your response. At close inspection Maxx's injuries are puncture injuries. I guess a claw could make a puncture wound but it could be a bite.
Brittany, Paul, & Yoda =^^=
Saturday 4th of May 2019
Aww, sorry to hear that. I hope he doesn't get into any more fights!