Cat Collar Training & Fitting - The Supakit Guide to Collar Bliss!
Welcome to the Supakit Guide to Collar Bliss! If you've ordered a Supakit collar for your cat, this guide to cat collar training and fitting is here to make your experience with your cat's new collar a carefree and successful experience. If you haven't got your cat a Supakit collar yet, it's not too late - you can check out our pioneering cat collar range here!
Watch the guide on our YouTube, or scroll down to read...
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- How to open the Supakit cat collar tin
- Getting the perfect fit
- Opening the collar
- Changing the collar size
- Cat collar training
How to open the Supakit cat collar tin
The first thing you'll notice when you get your Supakit collar is that it comes in an adorable little tin (which doubles as a great treat store afterwards!). To open the tin, simply press the edge of the tin where it says 'push to open' and the tin will pop open to reveal the collar inside!
Getting the perfect fit
Next we want to think about the perfect fit for your cat's collar, because it is very important:
The Perfect Fit - make sure that when your cat's collar is on, you can slide one fingertip between their collar and their body (with fur compressed).
You don't want the collar to be any tighter than this because it will be uncomfortable for your cat. But it's also really important that you're not tempted to leave it any looser. The reason is that a loose collar can present a lot of problems:
It's more likely to get snagged on things as your cat explores. And if it gets snagged, it will trigger the safety breakaway mechanism and come off. Loose collars are a common cause of collar losses.
A loose collar is less comfortable for your cat. It's a bit like having your watch strap really loose and it dangling around your wrist all day. It's the same for your cat with a loose collar. A loose dangling collar will rub against their fur and can be irritating and distracting.
- It's a safety hazard. Last but most importantly, it's crucial that we don't leave our cat's collars too loose, because loose collars can get caught in a cat's mouth or allow them to slip a limb through the band of the collar. By achieving the perfect fit, we make sure this can't happen.
Opening the collar
If you look at the collar, the black buckle with the logo on is the breakaway buckle, which pops open. To open the collar up, all you need to do is grasp either side of the breakaway buckle and pull apart, to pop the breakaway buckle open.
Changing the collar size
Changing the length of your Supakit cat collar is simple! First, you'll want to open the collar up.
Then to change the size of the collar, locate the brass adjuster on the collar band. If you pull the brass adjuster towards the end of the collar where the buckle teeth are, that will make the collar longer. If you pull the brass adjuster towards the logo end of the collar, that will make the collar shorter.
Cat collar training
Step 1 - Remove accessories at first
When we're introducing our cat to their new collar, we want to start off with just the plain collar at first - just the collar band, without any accessories.
You can remove the collar bell by twisting it off the collar in the same way that you'd remove a key from a keyring. We'd also advise removing any other accessories like ID tags or trackers at this stage. Once your cat has fallen in love with their new collar, you can then introduce any additional accessories one by one!
Step 2 - Find a treat your cat loves
Cats have a natural mistrust of anything new, and this is going to be the case for their new collar!
We're going to need to help them overcome that hurdle, and the best way of doing that is by pairing the collar with a food based treat. Have a little think about which food based treats your cat absolutely loves and bring them with you for the collar introduction training.
Related: Homemade Tuna Cat Treats Your Cat Will Go Crazy For
Step 3 - Get familiar with your cat's body language
During cat collar training, we always want to be working within our cat's comfort zone, building happy positive associations with their new collar.
To do this, it's really handy to have a good sense of our cat's body language when they're happy and relaxed vs. when they're feeling unsure, so that we can make sure we're always on the happy side of that equation! It can be helpful to think of it as a traffic light system:
Green: A cat showing happy and relaxed body language signs
Amber: A cat showing signs of being a bit unsure or stressed
- Red: A zone we never want to get into during training, a cat that is showing signs of experiencing outright fear
If you need any pointers on reading your cat's body language during training, you can download our guide here!
Step 4 - First encounters with the collar
For your cat collar training, you'll want to set aside just 2-3 minutes a day, because our cats have short attention spans and we want to keep things in the fun zone! We're going to start by just introducing our cats to the sight and the smell of their collar.
To do this, open the collar up and present it to your cat, a small distance away.
How did it go?
I'm seeing green body language signs: Most cats are curious enough to give the collar a little sniff at this point. When they do, or you see any other green body language signs of them reacting to the collar in a calm way, you can give them their food based reward! Repeat this process a few times before wrapping up this training session and then proceeding to the next step.
I'm seeing amber body language signs: This is no problem at all, simply wrap things up for this training session, and then the next day start the process with the collar a little further away.
- I'm seeing red body language signs: This is a sign that your cat may have some pre-existing fears around collars or something associated with the collar fitting process. Stop your training session, then check out this guide (Help! My Cat Hates Their Collar) for a slightly different training process.
Step 5 - Building confidence
Once your cat is showing green body language signs in the presence of their collar, then you can start to introduce them to the sensations that they'll feel as their collar is done up.
Begin by simply open the collar band up and putting it under their chin (as if you are about to put it on). No need to fasten it at this stage, we just want to get our cats happy and relaxed with the idea of having the collar band open under their chin.
How did it go?
Green body language signs: Great! Give that kitty of yours a tasty reward, and then repeat a few times - delivering a treat each time your cat stays happy and in the green zone with the collar under their chin.
Over your next few training sessions, you can start to lift the collar a little higher each time (as if you're going to do it up) - pairing the experience with a reward each time your cat stays happy and in the green zone.
Amber body language signs: No problem! Just wrap things up for this training session and when you start again next time, take things a step backwards and start from the point where your cat stays in the green zone.
- Red body language signs: That's OK - simply stop your training session and follow the process here instead.
Step 6 - Putting your cat's collar on
Once your cat is happy and relaxed with the practice runs of putting their collar on, then it's time to do it for real! Open the collar up, loop it under their chin and fasten it behind their neck.
How did it go?
Green body language signs: Super! Deliver your cat their fave food reward, then take their collar off straight away.
Amber body language signs: No worries! Simply take the collar off and wrap things up for this training session. Next session, take things a step backwards to the point where your cat stays in the green zone, and spend a little more time working on that stage of the process.
- Red body language signs: That's OK - simply stop this training session and follow the process here instead.
Step 7 - Building up time in the collar
For the first fitting, we recommend that you take the collar off straight away. To do this, simply slide your fingers under the collar, and pull either side of the buckle to release it.
Then, over your next training sessions, you can start to build up the amount of time that your cat has their collar on, and you can can also start to fine tune the fit and work on getting that perfect fit.
So, pop their collar on and start to leave it on for a little bit longer. Make sure that they're staying in the green zone, and give your cat their tasty rewards whilst their wearing their collar.
At this point, you can also start to throw in some other rewarding activities for your cat. For example, if they have a favorite toy, like a feather toy or wand toy, you can engage them in a little game whilst they're wearing their collar - this is a nice distracting way of building some extra positive associations with their collar.
As ever, if you see any signs of amber, it's not a problem. Simply wrap things up for that training session and when you resume, take things a step back to the last point where they were at the green zone and spend a little more time working there.
Step 8 - Mission accomplished!
What you should soon find is after a few experiences with wearing their collar for longer periods of time, your cat will just forget it's there. That's your sign that they have been correctly and successfully introduced to their collar, and then you can leave it on them full time!
Bonus Step - Introducing collar accessories
Once your cat is happy and comfortable wearing their collar full-time, you can introduce any collar accessories (like ID tags, bells or trackers) using the same process as above. Simply pair the sight & smell of those items with rewards, and build your cat's exposure to them gradually over time.
Related: Browse collar accessories at Supakit
Things to remember
There are two last things to remember with your cat's Supakit collar:
Re-check the fit from time to time: Remember to re-check the fit of your cat's collar periodically over time, to make sure that you're still achieving that perfect one fingertip fit.
- Remove after topical spot on treatments: If you put any topical treatments on your cat's fur (e.g. flea spot-ons), remove your cat's collar before treatment and leave it off for 48 hours afterwards.
Stay in touch!
We hope your cat loves their new Supakit collar. If you share photos of them on social media, be sure to tag us @supakitstore, we can't wait to see them!
Related posts: 'How Should I Care For My Supakit Collar' and 'Should Your Put A Collar On Your Kitten?'