Should I Put a Bell on My Cat’s Collar? Pros and Cons

Last updated: Dec 10, 2018 @ 6:22 pm

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.

should my cat wear a bell

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.

should my cat wear a bell on his 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.

Pros

  • 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?

Cons

  • 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!

24 Comments

  1. Judy Shapiro said:

    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.

    May 3, 2019
    Reply
  2. Judy Shapiro said:

    My great red hunter has brought home mice, frogs, rats, a snake etc, all alive except for a poor bird. It is horrible when I have to live with these creatures till I can trap them. I’ve recently put a bell on him and twice he came home with scratches and bites. Could the bell be attracting an other animal to him? It’s happened two times within the past week. I know it might be a new animal that has come to the neighborhood but I am concerned that the bell could be causing a problem. Has anyone had experienced this. Thanks, Maxx’s Mom

    May 2, 2019
    Reply
    • Aw, thanks for sharing, Maxx’s meowmy – Judy! I use to have a cat when I was a kid who brought all sorts of animals home, too. I cannot tell you for sure whether or not the bell could have attracted other cats or dogs to your baby. Do they look like cat scratches/bites? It very well could be a new feral in the neighborhood. I would personally say it’s a coincidence, but how to really tell? I will look up more information on this and if I find anything, I’ll definitely let you know. Thanks for writing Judy and best of luck.

      May 2, 2019
      Reply
  3. Tom said:

    Study’s have shown that bell colors do not effect a cats ability to hunt.

    March 31, 2019
    Reply
    • Sure, they don’t affect a cat’s ability to hunt, their ability is still on point. But bells do help to reduce the number of successful catches!

      March 31, 2019
      Reply
  4. Anna said:

    We are moving to a neighborhood that requires outdoor cats to wear bells to prevent damage to wild bird populations. We’ve been able to keep a collar on our cat for 2 months at the most before he loses it. When we attach a bell, the collar doesn’t last three days. We assume he’s hanging his claws in the bell ring and pulling until the collar releases. Has anyone had success with any belled collars on outdoor cats?

    March 30, 2019
    Reply
    • Hi Anna, thanks for sharing! Your tomcat must be pretty sneaky. We use a seresto collar for fleas, you could maybe try putting a bell on that (if you use one) so he can’t remove it. Otherwise, I was thinking you could try to use thread to attach the bell to a normal break-free collar so he can’t put his little toe bean in the bell ring and pull it off. Just some ideas! I hope you can find a collar or solution that works for you!

      March 31, 2019
      Reply
  5. Robyn said:

    So I just looked up articles to send to a friend who insists on putting bells on her cats collar. I worked at Humane Society for many years and have seen so many cats that are mauled by dogs and that have been hit by cars or hurt because they can’t hear when something is coming as easily as if they had no bell on their color every second of the day. Very tragic bad thing to do in my opinion but we all have opinions.

    February 2, 2019
    Reply
    • Thanks Robyn for sharing your insights! It’s a tough choice which is why I think everyone should consider both sides and be more aware of issues like the ones you raised here! Thanks again for your input, and for sharing our article with your friend! 🙂

      February 3, 2019
      Reply
  6. Velinah Jemison said:

    Wow,that’s a great news for pet lovers.Awesome I am definitely buying one for my doggo. He feels like he is a free bird when he goes out and tracking him is major challenge .This gadgets will be really helpful .Thanks for this article.

    November 13, 2018
    Reply
  7. Brenda L. López said:

    Very interesting your blog, for all of us, the worldwide cat lovers community .

    Thanks for it and your love for the cats!. Please promote the adoption first and the volunteering to help our lovely cats!. Blessings.

    Sincerely,
    Prof. Brenda L. López

    August 8, 2018
    Reply
    • Wow, THANK YOU so much for your sweet comment Brenda!!! You are welcome anytime on our site hehe 🙂 Thanks again!! Have a splendid day xo

      August 10, 2018
      Reply
  8. JoAnn Verga said:

    I have had cats all my life, and cannot imagine putting a collar or a collar with a bell on it, how sad for the cat to have to listen to the constants of a bell in its ears, try wearing a bell on your necklace and see how insane it will drive you, just saying!

    April 15, 2018
    Reply
    • Yep, as we mentioned there are both pros and cons to putting a bell on a cat’s collar! Luckily though, most bells don’t jingle until a cat jumps or pounces, hence the idea to add one to protect local wildlife (in case of an outdoor cat). Our Yoda doesn’t wear a collar except for his Seresto collar! But he’s a spoiled indoor cat so no catching birdies for him haha!

      April 24, 2018
      Reply
  9. Kaylee said:

    We just moved apartments and in the past my cat has hated collars but now that he has so kuch space hes hard to find! Definitely helped me feel better about putting a bell on the crazy boy. Funny enough his name is also Yoda!

    March 1, 2018
    Reply
    • Aww haha, thanks for sharing Kaylee! That’s great your Yoda is taking on to the collar now. Nice meeting you and best of luck in your new place 🙂

      March 1, 2018
      Reply
  10. dave said:

    I agree with everything you have said. Well thought out and useful. I think a cat under a lot of supervision… mostly indoor cats sometimes outside cats benefit from them. I think putting bells on feral outdoor only cats is dangerous for them… and would make it hard to check up on them daily. I find the sound charming… and am beside myself about my adopted cat attacking birds and squirrels… for sport and food. The last terrorized squirrel I took over to an animal lover’s house for R and R, was the last straw. The Liberty Bell goes on his neck today! Still looking for a giant bell with a crack in it. LOL

    October 9, 2017
    Reply
    • Brittany said:

      Hey Dave! Thanks a bunch for your comment. We love to hear from our readers! Hehehe, best of luck to find that cat collar inspired Liberty Bell! 😉 See you again soon on FK 🙂

      October 11, 2017
      Reply
  11. Mels said:

    I have a neighbor that lets her cat outside, who has a bell on his collar. We live in the woods and the nights are very quiet. I actually removed the bell from his collar as in my opinion, it would only attract potential predators while he’s walking through the woods at night.

    May 22, 2017
    Reply
    • Brittany said:

      Hi Mels!
      Thanks for your message! Does the neighbor know you removed the bell from her cat’s collar? Though there are both pros and cons with collars and bells, the ultimate choice to have a bell on a cat’s collar is up to the owner. We understand your point of view, and we would recommend taking your concerns up with the neighbor to see what she has to say! Otherwise she’s going to be wondering what happened to the bell on the collar, right? 😉

      May 29, 2017
      Reply
  12. Gemma said:

    This was so helpful. Mine seems to be doing fine after about only 3 minutes of crazily trying to bite at it unsuccessful. She doesn’t seem to pay it any mind so far. If she continues to be this accepting I’ll keep it because I feel so bad for these innocent creatures outside.

    April 30, 2017
    Reply
    • Brittany said:

      Thank you so much, Gemma! We really appreciate your feedback. Yoda always tries to chew his collar or bow tie off at the start too, but then he gets used to it pretty quickly, just like your kitty seems to be doing! 🙂

      May 1, 2017
      Reply

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