Understanding how tight your cat’s collar should be is not only important for comfort, but it also ensures that your cat is safe and the features of the collar, such as a breakaway buckle, can perform properly.
In general, your cat’s collar should be tight enough to ensure that it does not hang loosely away from their body but not so tight that it causes discomfort. Why?
A collar that is too loose presents a number of issues. The gap created between your cat’s collar and their body can allow it to get snagged on things as your cat explores. This will trigger the breakaway safety mechanism and lead to their collar getting lost. A collar that is too loose can also be caught in a kitty’s mouth. Finally, a loose collar is more likely to irritate your cat, as it will rub against their fur as they move rather than nestling in one place.
On the other hand, it’s important not to over-tighten a collar. A collar that is too tight can make your cat uncomfortable and put pressure on their delicate neck area.
Here at Supakit, we recommend that you adjust your cat’s collar so that you can fit one fingertip between their collar and their body when it is on. It’s the perfect balance between tight-enough and not-too-tight - ensuring your cat’s collar is safe and stays on, whilst remaining super comfy at all times.
How to tighten a cat collar?
The best way to tighten a cat collar is whilst it is off your cat’s neck. Getting the perfect size first time can take a bit of practice so it’s best to adjust the collar before you put it on. This stops your cat getting frustrated at you whilst you fiddle around with size and ask them to patiently stand still!
If your cat is switching over from another collar, you can measure up off that one. If not, you can roughly gauge the collar length you need by placing it around your cat’s neck without closing it. Then, using this as a guide, adjust the length of the collar and try again.
It’s important to regularly re-check and adjust the fit of your cat’s collar as it may change as they gain or lose weight, or due to seasonal changes in the thickness of their coat.
Related post: 'How To Fit Your Supakit Collar'
How to tell if a cat collar is too small?
You can tell if your cat’s collar is too small by sliding a fingertip between your cat’s neck (with fur flattened) and their collar. If this is difficult to do, it’s a sign that their collar is too tight and you should remove and loosen it. Another indication that the size is incorrect, is that you may have trouble closing the collar comfortably without pinching your cat’s neck.
The correct fit should allow you to fit one fingertip (to the first knuckle) between the collar and your cat’s neck. A collar should also be able to move around the cat’s neck ever so slightly without resistance.
How tight should a flea collar be on a cat?
Much like a regular collar, a flea collar should be tight enough that the fit is snug as this is important for safety. You can check this by using the ‘one fingertip’ method mentioned previously.
If you struggle to get your fingertip in between, this suggests that the collar is too tight and should be loosened. If there is more than a fingertip’s space between the neck of your cat and the collar, you should adjust it slightly tighter. A snug fit is the safest and most comfortable fit for your cat.
As flea collar types and styles vary, it is important to also check the collar instructions for fit or consult your local veterinary clinic for support.
Are collars uncomfortable for cats?
Cat collars should not be uncomfortable for cats if they are fitted correctly and introduced gradually. Cats are creatures who like routine and familiarity. Introducing something new can be unsettling for them initially, but by breaking an introduction down into steps, you can make this transition easier for your kitty.
Related post: 'How To Put A Collar On Your Cat'
Another way to ensure comfort is to fit the collar correctly. You want the fit to be nice and snug. It can be tempting to leave your cat's collar loose in the interests of their comfort, but the looser a cat's collar is the more uncomfortable it can feel for a cat. Think of it like wearing a watch - having a watch hanging off of your wrist would be irritating and uncomfortable, not to mention it would be prone to getting caught on things – super annoying! This is much like a loose collar for your cat. A loose collar will tend to slide across their fur as they move around (rather than sitting snugly in one place), and this sensation can be unsettling for a cat. This extra room can also invite them to try and paw or bite the collar off!
Should I take my cat's collar off at night?
No, you do not need to take your cat’s collar off at night. If you have achieved the perfect fit and your cat is happy in their collar, they should feel as one! This means that your cat is happy to wear its collar every hour of the day and should feel comfortable enough to sleep in it too.
There may be occasions when taking a cat’s collar off is necessary such as cleaning, veterinary appointments, or treatments. Some collars have specific care instructions and should be removed prior to a flea/worming treatment being applied to your cat’s nape. You also may be advised to remove your cat’s collar if they are having a vaccination done in the surrounding area, or if your kitty is water lover but their collar isn’t water-resistant or waterproof.