You've welcomed an adorable kitten into your life, and you've started thinking about collars. But navigating this new world for your fur-baby can be tricky. Should kittens wear collars? Are kitten collars safe? And when is a kitten old enough to wear a collar for the first time?
Don't worry! We've got your back. We've long been one of the few collar companies to offer a breakaway kitten collar range, so we've put together the ultimate guide to everything you need to know about kittens and collars!
SHOULD MY KITTEN WEAR A COLLAR?
Kittens are little bundles of energy, always exploring and testing boundaries. But unfortunately that means they're also likely to test the boundaries of your home and find themselves on an unplanned journey into the outside world!
Because of the high risk of escape, most vets recommend that you should get your kitten microchipped at the earliest opportunity - and you definitely should.
However, there's a common misconception that a microchip alone can bring a missing cat or kitten home. They're a crucial piece of the jigsaw, but microchips can only do their job if your kitten also has visible ID, in the form of a collar and ID tag, that a friendly passerby could notice and read:
“Microchips are a good back-up option for pet identification, but should never be the main one. Reading a microchip takes a special scanner, one that an animal control officer or shelter will have, but your neighbor down the street will not. And if [your pet] wanders off, it’s likely to be a private citizen who encounters him first. That’s why, in the event of accidental separation, identification tags are your pet’s first ticket home.”
IS IT SAFE TO PUT A COLLAR ON A KITTEN?
Putting a collar and ID tag on your kitten can make the world of difference in helping them make it home if they are ever lost. But is it safe to do so?
The answer is a definite 'yes!' - but you must make sure that you use a well-fitting, kitten-specific breakaway collar. Here's what you need to look for when you shop:
Good, snug fit: Look for collars with an adjustable band that will allow you to adjust the collar length as your kitten grows.
A kitten-specific breakaway buckle: We're big believers in breakaway safety buckles for all cat collars - they ensure a collar will break off safely if it is ever snaggled. But if you're buying for a kitten it's particularly important that you look for collars with breakaway buckles that will break apart under a kitten's weight, rather than an adult cat's weight. If in doubt, ask the seller or manufacturer what the minimum safe weight is for their collars.
- Light weight: Your kitten is small and light, so their collar should be too. Avoid large bulky collars (e.g. those with a traditional belt buckle design which adds bulk in the front).
HOW OLD DOES A KITTEN NEED TO BE TO WEAR A COLLAR?
As a general rule, the sooner you can introduce a collar and ID tag to your kitten, the easier it will be. Kittens are tiny sponges, building up a picture of the world around them, and if they're introduced to collars and tags early on, they just accept them and move on!
The main thing to pay attention to is your kitten's weight. You need to wait until your kitten is heavy enough to break the safety buckle of the collar that you've chosen.
For instance, our Supakit kitten collars have a minimum weight of 1kg / 2.2lbs, so you need to wait until your kitten is that weight or heavier (which for an average kitten will be when they are around 8 weeks old).
However, other brands will vary - so do make sure you check or ask the manufacturer about their collar breaking weight.