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How to Put on a Cat Collar – 5 EasyTips

Rachael Gerkensmeyer

By Rachael Gerkensmeyer

black cat wearing breakaway collar

Cats do what they want, and they don’t seem to care what others around them think about it. When it comes to putting a collar on your cat, the process may not be easy. If your cat is resisting the process, your inclination might be to just give up. However, it’s important to put a collar (with an ID tag) on your cat because:

  • It can help reunite you if your cat gets lost.
  • It can help ensure that your cat is never identified as a stray.
  • It can help make your cat comfortable with harnesses, leashes, and other clothing.

You just need to find a way to get that collar on your cat! Here are five tips that can help you do so with more ease and less stress.

How to Put on a Cat Collar

1. Measure Your Cat’s Neck

Before you try putting your cat’s new collar on, it’s a good idea to measure their neck to ensure that the collar is set at the right length. If it’s too tight when you put it on, it will make your kitty uncomfortable, and they will likely resist when you adjust the collar and try to put it back on again. If it’s too loose, your cat will figure out how to take it off.

A perfect fit will offer comfort and help ensure that your cat can’t get the collar off. Use a fabric tape measurer (any kind will do for a rough estimate), and lightly wrap it around your cat’s neck to determine the length that the collar should be. It’s a good idea to add about half an inch to the measurement reading to ensure a comfortable yet snug fit.

cat with tape measure
Image Credit: AssiaPix, Shutterstock

2. Let the Investigation Begin

Place your cat’s new collar on the floor or somewhere they enjoy spending time so they can investigate the collar on their own terms. Allow the collar to stay there for a day or two so it can pick up the scents of your family members and your cat can get used to its smell, texture, and overall presence.

Once your cat seems to feel comfortable around the collar, it is time to put the collar on. If they resist, keep the collar around for a few days longer, but make a point to ensure that your kitty interacts with it during that time. Keep trying to put the collar on until you can manage to do so without much resistance.

3. Create a Relaxed Atmosphere

There is nothing more important than making sure your cat is relaxed and feeling safe before you try putting a collar on them. If they feel threatened or offended in any way, they will be more likely to resist, and you could end up with scratch marks by the end of the interaction. Turn the lights down low, and play soft music or make sure it’s silent in the room that you’re in.

From there, encourage your cat to cuddle with you and stroke them to assure their safety. Talk to them in a whisper, and remind them that you only have their best interest in mind. Be meaningful and focused. Once your cat is calm, relaxed, and trusting, it’s time to slowly take out the collar and gently put it on.

Cat relaxing in woman arms
Image Credit: Yuriy Seleznev, Shutterstock

4. Build Up to Long-Term Wear

Your kitty doesn’t always need to wear their collar while they are getting used to it. Strictly indoor cats may only need to wear it when guests are coming over or movers, repair people, or contractors are coming inside to work.

Start by putting your cat’s new collar on them for about 10 minutes at a time until they no longer seem bothered by it. Then, increase the time until your cat can wear the collar for 24 hours without issue. From there, you can decide whether your cat should always wear their collar or if it should be a part-time affair.


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5. Reinforce the Positive Behavior

When your cat lets you put their new collar on and wears it without protest, it’s a good idea to reinforce the positive behavior with treats and reassuring petting and snuggles. Doing so will help your cat understand that you’re happy with their acceptance of the collar and that they are safe even with the collar settled around their neck.

You don’t have to reward your kitty every day that they successfully wear their collar. Just do so whenever they let you put it on with little to no protest. Once the collar is successfully being worn, rewards should be stopped. Your cat should then be happy to wear their collar — or at least act like they are.

Hand feeding hungry seal point siamese cat with treats stick
Image Credit: Nils Jacobi, Shutterstock


Whether you own one cat or a dozen, these tips and tricks should help make the process of getting a cat used to a collar easier and more effective overall. You may only need to use one tip, or a multitude of them might have to come into play before you find success. Either way, don’t give up!

Featured Image Credit: Graziegranata, Shutterstock

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