Do I need to put a bell on my cat’s collar?

ginger cat on window ledge wearing collar with a bell
Ginger Cat House does not aim to replace your Veterinarian. Ginger Cat House offers practical advice but will always advise you to seek Veterinary attention for further information if your cat is unwell.

Who would have thought something as simple as a cat’s collar would cause so much debate? Not me but there are many things to consider when choosing a collar for your cat, one of them is whether you need to put a bell on your cat’s collar. In this article, we way up the pros and cons of both to help you make your decision, as well as other important things to factor.

ginger cat on window ledge wearing collar with a bell

Firstly we want to point out, whether you decide to place a bell on the cat collar or not, the only type of collar you should be using for your cat is a quick-release collar. A quick-release collar (also known as a breakaway collar) has a safety mechanism which allows the collar to release if your cat gets stuck – this could save their life.

Buckle collars and slip-over collars do not have this safety mechanism, therefore these collars are not safe for use in cats.

Only purchase a quick-release collar for your cat. 

Right, moving on.

Do I need to put a bell on my cat’s collar?

What are the reasons for placing a bell on a cat’s collar?

To help locate them

One of the main reasons people place bells on cat collars is to help locate them. We all know cats have their own minds and they decide whether they come or not. Having a jingle bell will help you to locate their location on their more definite days – both indoors and outdoors.

This is why some people opt to also purchase GPS Cat collars. We personally choose the Tractive GPS Collar for our outdoor cat as it has an option to flash when looking for your cat as well as an accurate GPS function.

To protect wildlife

Another reason for cat collars with little bells is to protect wildlife. As much as we dislike it, our cute balls of fur are often little lean killing machines when outside.

A bell of a cat’s collar gives their wildlife prey a fair shot. It alerts the little bird or mouse to danger when it jingles and gives them the chance to move away.

Our wildlife needs to be protected in order to survive, which is the main reason we believe you should place a bell on your cat’s collar.

Yes, there is an argument that Cats are natural predators, but research shows that over half of their kills are merely just for fun; only one-third are actually consumed. Plus, our cats with collars are eating just fine at home, meaning they have no need to hunt for their food and we do not want them picking up parasites from their kills.

Multi-cat households

If you have a multi-cat household where all of the cats get on – lucky you! However, as solitary animals, cats still need their private time and do not like being snuck upon, especially when sleeping. Placing bell collars on all your cats will quickly alert a sleeping cat that they are about to be approached by a fellow cat and will hopefully alleviate any scraps which may occur from surprise.

What are the reasons for not placing a bell on a cat’s collar?


One of the absolute main reasons in annoyance for your cat. Our cat Rue will not wear any form of a collar, let alone a collar with a bell. We have tried (with supervision) ever since she was a kitten but she gets extremely stressed and spends the whole time trying to get it off.

Some cats just find having a bell on their collar really upsetting, especially if they are already quite noise-phobic or have anxiety issues – in this case, your cat’s feelings have to come first.

If you do want to place a bell on your cat’s collar, try to get them used to it for a young age – preferably from when you first get them, hopefully, they will get used to it for that point onwards. If they do not, then remove it.


Some people opt not to as they believe it may pose a danger to their cat. This links in with annoyance, if your cat spends all their time trying to get the collar off, they may end up biting at the bell then choking or swallowing it.

Firstly, ensure you purchase a good quality collar with a strong bell clasp to prevent them from pulling the bell in their mouths.

Secondly, when a collar is first placed on your cat they should always be observed and not left unattended when getting used to it.

Thirdly, only use quick release collars for your cats. – as you can see we are pretty passionate about this one.

So the pros and cons of putting a bell on your cat’s collar

Pros – Ease of finding your cat outside plus protection of wildlife (critters being brought into your home)

Cons –  Annoyance to your cat and small hazard risk.

cat with a bell on its collar

So, should you place a bell on your cat’s collar?

Ultimately, as an owner, the decision is all yours. There are no legalities ensuring you have to but our personal preference is if your cat will tolerate one, then to place one – mainly for the protection of our wildlife.  As always, all cats should be assessed as individuals with their feelings put first.