Should I Put a Bell on my Cat's Collar?

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We have mentioned in a previous post that we believe there are some benefits of putting a bell on your cat's collar. However, we are aware that there has been some debate about whether or not it is cruel to put a bell on your furry friend's collar so we wanted to provide some information in relation to this topic so that you can make up your own mind. We recognise that it is your choice whether or not to put a bell on your cat's collar and whilst all of our luxury handmade breakaway safety cat collars feature a solid brass bell as standard, we can remove this if you prefer - you just need to let us know in the comments when you order.


There are two main reasons why you might want to put a bell on your furry friend's collar. The first, and most common, reason is to act as a warning for any small prey animals, such as birds, that your cat may try and catch when he or she is out and about on his or her travels in the great outdoors. We all know that cats are instinctive hunters who, despite being more than adequately fed at home, can't resist the urge to stalk and catch birds and other small animals when given the chance. Hearing the jingle of the bell as your cat approaches will allow the bird or mouse to fly or run off to live another day. The other useful benefit of a bell is that it helps you locate your furry friend if he or she slips between your legs and off into the garden just as you were closing the door! Noggins and Binkles, who both both grew up with access to a tropical garden (albeit on their harnesses) have always enjoyed stalking birds and lizards in the garden but thanks to the bells on their collars, they have had the fun of the chase without actually harming any of the local wildlife.

A study published in the Journal of Zoology shows that bells are effective in warning birds and other small animals from the clutches of an incoming cat. Not only does this mean that your local wildlife will be safer if your cat wears a bell on his or her collar, but you also won't need to deal with any of those lovely 'presents' that those with outdoor cats will be familiar with.

Now that we know that a bell on your cat's collar is effective at warning off birds and small animals, we need to look at whether there are likely to be any adverse effects on your furry friend from wearing a bell. The most commonly cited effect of a bell relates to your cat's hearing. Whilst some suggest that a bell can damage your cat's hearing, studies have shown that a cat bell generates a noise which is considerably lower than the 80 decibels believed to be required to damage your cat's hearing.  Of course, you may find that your cat gets stressed by the sound of a bell, even if that sound is not enough to cause damage to their ears. Our personal experience with Noggins and Binkles is that they are not at all bothered by the bells on their collars but if you believe that your cat may be affected by the sound of a bell and don't believe that he or she will get used to the new noise, you might choose not to put a bell on your cat's collar.

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