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How Tight Should a Cat Collar Be? (With Pictures)

Choosing the right collar for your cat is vital to keep them safe, but once you’ve got their shiny new collar, how tight should it be? This is a question that many cat owners ask. In brief, you should be able to fit one to two fingers between your cat and their collar. Let’s find out why!

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Does my cat need a collar?

cat with a collar bell_flo_info, Pixabay
Image Credit: flo_info, Pixabay

There are a few different reasons that you might want to put a collar on your cat, including the following.

1. Use for identification

If your cat goes outside, it’s sensible to make sure they’re wearing a collar with an ID tag. You should put your phone number, address, and last name. Some owners also put their cat’s name on the ID tag. If you’re concerned about pet theft, though, it’s best to leave your cat’s name off the tag. Even if your cat wears a collar, you should also have them microchipped and include an “I’m chipped” note on the tag. If you have space, adding another phone number is always a good idea.

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2. Activate cat flaps and feeders

If your cat needs a tag to activate a cat flap or an automatic cat feeder, you’ll need to make sure they’re wearing a collar with the tag attached.

orange and white tabby cat with collar_Sydneymills_shutterstock
Image Credit: Sydneymills, Shutterstock
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3. Control fleas

You may choose to use a flea collar to deter these little pests.

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4. Decrease hunting

Collars with bells or wide colorful covers that slip over your cat’s collar can scare away wildlife and reduce the number of birds or small rodents that your cat can catch.

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What type of collar should you choose?

cat collar with bell_19eli14_Pixabay
Image Credit: 19eli14, Pixabay

The safest type of collar for a cat is one with a breakaway buckle. These are designed to “snap” open if your cat gets their collar caught on something and they try to pull away. If your cat is particularly active, then they may occasionally come home without their collar, but that’s far better than your cat getting stuck somewhere. If your cat’s collar had an ID tag on it, someone may find it and return it to you!

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How tight should my cat’s collar be?

cat with collar_Pixabay
Image Credit: Pixabay

Most cat collars come in one size, designed to fit a neck size of between 8-12 inches. Each collar will have a sliding adjuster that allows you to adapt the size to fit your cat. Start with the collar as long as it will go, and try it around your cat’s neck.

If it’s too big, gradually decrease the size by around ½ inch each time, trying it on your cat as you go. You want to get to the point that you can fit one to two fingers between the collar and your cat’s neck. This might seem quite tight, but any looser and your cat may be able to get a leg between the collar and their neck. This is uncomfortable, as well as dangerous if your cat gets stuck like this.

For the first few times wearing a collar, your cat may tense their neck, so be sure to check the fit once they’ve relaxed and adjust it if you need to.

If you’ve bought a collar for your kitten, check the fit regularly to make sure it hasn’t become too tight. It’s not a good idea to leave kittens unattended wearing their collars, as they’re more likely to get into difficulty than an adult cat. Kittens also aren’t usually heavy enough to trigger the breakaway buckle to snap open.

Now you know how tight your cat’s collar should be and more importantly, why. If your cat has a collar on, go check if it’s fitted correctly!

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Image Credit: Piqsels