Hepper is reader-supported. When you buy via links on our site, we may earn an affiliate commission at no cost to you. Learn more.

How to Open a Breakaway Cat Collar in 1 Easy Step

Kathryn Copeland

By Kathryn Copeland

Breakaway Red Collar Cat

When it comes to purchasing a new collar for our cats, there are almost too many to choose from! One type of collar that you’ve probably encountered is a breakaway collar, otherwise known as a quick-release collar.

Collars can be considered necessary, particularly for an outdoor cat’s safety, and with the addition of a bell, they can also help warn birds. If this is your first foray into cat collar country, and if you want more information, here, we cover how you open breakaway collars. We also give you additional information about why this part of a cat’s “wardrobe” is vital!

What Is a Breakaway Collar?

This type of collar is designed to snap open when enough force is applied. This way, if something snags the collar unexpectedly, like a tree branch, the collar should pop open, saving the cat from strangulation.

Traditional collars typically have a buckle and holes for adjusting, like a belt. Unless they are put around the cat’s neck loosely, the only way to get them off is by unfastening them. This is where cats can get into trouble.

Breakaway collars are fairly straightforward to open, although they might be trickier if you have any issues with hand strength. How easily a breakaway collar opens is also entirely dependent on the product itself.

We all know how curious cats can be! Keep your cat safe with our Hepper Breakaway Collar, made of 100% natural hemp. This collar's quick-release mechanism will make sure your cat never gets stuck, and the metal slip-locks will ensure a tight fit for any breed. Plus, the included jingle bell will protect your local wildlife.

Hepper Hemp Safety Breakaway Cat Collar with Bells
25 Reviews
Hepper Hemp Safety Breakaway Cat Collar with Bells
  • Hemp-Hemp Hooray - hemp breakaway cat collars are long-lasting and resistant to UV rays – The...
  • What the neck?! - Our cat breakaway collar has adjustable sizing with metal slip-locks, and softens...

black cat wearing breakaway collar
Image by: Graziegranata, Shutterstock

How to Open a Breakaway Cat Collar: Just tug firmly

It’s as simple as that! A good breakaway collar should snap open when you grasp it on either side of the buckle and firmly pull it apart. If it doesn’t snap open easily, find yourself a different brand!

That said, you don’t want it to pop open too effortlessly. Cats can figure out how to open it on their own if that’s the case. After they’ve done it once, they’ll continue to do so, and the whole wearing-a-collar thing becomes pointless.

Do Indoor Cats Need a Breakaway Collar?

Absolutely! Cats are good at exploring, jumping on things, and crawling through small spaces. This means they can snag their collar on something, which could lead to injury or worse, particularly if you’re not around when it happens.

It’s also a good idea to put collars on indoor cats because they might sneak outside. A collar will tell anyone who finds your cat that they belong to someone, and if you have your address and phone number on a tag, your cat can be returned to you.

Microchipping is a good idea for indoor and outdoor cats for the same reason. Additionally, a bell on the collar can help warn away any potential prey — and let you know when your cat is coming up for a sneak attack on your ankles!

What to Avoid in a Collar

Finding the right collar for your cat is essential! Here are a few things to keep in mind about what you should avoid in a collar:

  • Elastic inserts could have a cat getting a leg or their jaw caught in the collar.
  • Bells and tags are usually okay, but there’s always the potential of dangling features getting caught in something.
  • Collars that aren’t good quality could prove hazardous. The stitching could become loose and prove to be a choking risk.

Stick with a breakaway collar that’s been well-made. If it’s a good one and fits your cat right, it should keep your cat safer.

Fitting a Collar

You must find the right fit for your cat! A collar that’s too tight is dangerous and uncomfortable, and a collar that is too loose can lead to injuries. A loose collar will act the same way as one with elastic inserts, in that a cat could get their jaw or leg trapped.

Measure your cat’s neck to ensure that you get the right size. Use a flexible measuring tape or string, and wrap it carefully around your cat’s neck. You’ll need to measure the area where the collar will sit and keep the measuring device resting on the fur rather than pulling it tight against the skin.

Small cats generally have 6- to 10-inch necks, and larger cats have 9- to 13-inch necks. The average is about 6 inches for kittens and 12 inches for adults.

Once you have the collar, place it on your cat — you should be able to put one to two fingers between the neck and the collar. Your cat might initially resent the collar, but they’ll adapt to it over time.

In Conclusion

It’s probably a good idea to purchase multiple breakaway collars, as there is a good chance that your cat will lose it. While you’ll want to invest in one that is good quality, you don’t need to get something tremendously expensive.

If you have an outdoor cat, try a breakaway collar that is also reflective. This will help any drivers see your cat at night.

The actual appearance of the collar isn’t nearly as important as a cat’s safety, so the color and pattern should only be a secondary consideration. It might take a while to figure out what works for your cat, but you’ll be glad that you’re keeping your feline friend safe and sound.

Featured Image Credit: Daniel Rajszczak, Shutterstock

Related Articles

Further Reading

Vet Articles

Latest Vet Answers

The latest veterinarians' answers to questions from our database