Last Updated: 2 months ago

Are you wondering why do cat collars have bells?

Do you want to get a bell for your cat but worry if it will hurt their little ears?

Please keep reading to find out more about bells, their uses, drawbacks, and possible alternatives.

4 Reasons Why do Cat Collars Have Bells

Why Do Cat Collars Have Bells? 4 Reasons Explained

Yep, they actually serve a purpose other than just being cute! Let’s explore the most common reasons.

1. Alert the Birds and Other Wildlife

If your cat brings home dead animals, then you need to install a bell. Cats excel at hunting.

But the problem is that they’ll do it just for fun and bring the animal to you as a “gift.”

To give you an idea of how destructive this habit can be, cats kill 2.4 billion birds annually in the US alone.

Even though wild cats make some of the kills, domestic cats play a significant role.

While they have good intentions, you also have to preserve the animals around your home.

A bell will help warn these animals when the predator is approaching, giving them time to escape.

2. Track the Cat’s Movements

Cats often lose themselves in their own adventures.

They could be in strange places in your house, such as the ceiling, closet, basement, or somewhere in your backyard.

A bell helps cat owners know where their feline friends are at all times.

If you have newly born kittens, you know they love to come between your legs as you walk. The sounds can prevent you from crashing them.

3. Alert Other Cats

If you have several cats in your house, some of them may be aggressive and bully other cats.

A bell gives away the bully’s whereabouts at all times.

This gives the meeker cats time to prowl, and there’ll be fewer catfights in your household.

4. Decorative Purposes

You can choose a decorative collar and add a bell to make it “cooler.”

Some cats will appreciate the bell and tolerate the sounds as long as they make them stand out.

Also, choose a color or design that matches his or her personality. And if your cat doesn’t appreciate it, all that matters is that they look attractive to you.

Drawbacks of Having the Bell

cat with collar and bell

Bells have just as many drawbacks as benefits, especially for outdoor cats.

1. It Alerts Predators

Cats can be very stealthy when treading outdoors.

But the sounds of the bell will always give them away to predators such as dogs, wild cats, or any other animal that may be lurking around in your backyard.

If you’re aware of such dangers in your area, it’s best to keep your cat indoors most of the time or build safe places for them to hide.

2. It’s a Choking Hazard

The sound of the bell can be quite annoying. Imagine having to hang a bell around your neck and walk around with it.

When cats can’t stand the sound anymore, they’ll start contemplating how to get rid of it. One way to do it is to chew it off.

Pieces of the bell may become stuck in the cat’s teeth, posing a danger. They may also choke on the bell’s ball when they accidentally swallow it.

3. It Interferes With Their Usual Activities

Cats are naturally playful.

But with a bell making unpleasant noises around their necks, they will have to minimize their movement.

Since the bell will betray them, it also interferes with their role in getting rid of rodents.

CatBib: An Alternatives to the Bell

  • EASY TO CLEAN. Made of thin neoprene backed with nylon. To clean, wipe...

If you’re still worried about using a collar bell, CatBib is an alternative to consider.

This is a tool that prevents your cat from hunting birds. You attach it to the cat’s collar, and it intercepts when the cat is pouncing on the bird.

It’s bright, making it easier for the bird to detect the cat from a distance. It doesn’t interfere with any other cat’s activities.

You can also track the cat’s movement since the CatBib is bright enough to stand out in a bush.

Types of Collars for Cats

cat with collar

The cat-collar controversy has been going on for a very long time.

Before discussing the importance of bells, let’s explore the various types of collars and their respective best uses.

We’ll give examples for each one.

1. Traditional Buckle Collars

This is the oldest type of collar. They use a simple mechanism called buckling to lock.

They are best for indoor cats, but they may be risky for cats that love to go outside.

Even if the cat gets stuck, this lock will not release or stretch, potentially leading to choking.

2. Breakaway Cat Collars

Unlike buckle collars, breakaway collars will release or snap if they are caught by an object.

They are the best for cats that go outdoors often since they ensure the cat returns home safely from his or her escapades.

You can also opt for reflective or light-up collars for cats that love to roam when it’s dark.

The lighting mechanism also prevents your cat from being hit by a car if he or she decides to cross the street at night.

3. Stretch Collars

These are simple elastic collars that don’t really hold on to anything, and it’s challenging to find one that fits your cat.

When a cat gets stuck, it simply stretches. Your best bet is a breakaway collar with an added ID tag. This is to make sure that if the cat escapes, whoever finds him or her will get your contact information.

Since the breakaway collars will come off occasionally, you can also consider microchipping him or her. This chip will also bear your contact information.

NOTE: To restrain or walk your cat on a leash, avoid using a breakaway collar. For that purpose, a harness is more appropriate.


Do bells on collars bother cats?

Usually, no especially if you introduce it when they’re young. However, if your cat seems to dislike them, you can use alternatives such as CatBibs.

Do indoor cats need a collar?

Yes. And the collar should bear your contact information. Since they may escape outside sometimes, it will be easier to find them if they get lost.

Do bells on collars damage cat hearing?

A bell’s sound ranges from 50 to 60 dB. But according to this study, a cat can handle noise levels of up to 80 dB. So, no, a bell is less likely to damage your cat’s hearing.

Final Words

The debate on using a bell on a collar isn’t ending anytime soon. But I think the benefits outweigh the negatives.

You get to locate your cat, conserve wildlife, and prevent catfights in your house.

But if they don’t like it to the point where they hurt themselves trying to remove it, consider alternatives such as CatBibs.

Please share your thoughts on why cat collars have bells below!

Grey cat with red collar with a bell hanging from it
Ben Roberts
Ben Roberts

Ben is an animal lover, blogger, and all around geek. He divides his love equally between his family, his animals, and his video games. In his spare time he is attempting to get a blog off the ground. Boy, are they heavy!

Last update on 2024-05-10 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API