Why Your Cat Doesn’t Like Wearing A Collar

You’ve chosen to get your cat a collar to make sure it comes home safely from its adventures. However, no matter what you do, your fur baby refuses to like wearing it!

If you’re exasperated trying to keep your cat from trying to take off its collar, then you’re not alone.

However, if your feline friend rebels whenever it wears one, then there may be an underlying reason why.

There are several reasons why your cat does not like wearing a collar. The fit of a collar, the length of time a cat has worn a collar, the cat’s temperament, and the consistency of training reinforcement can all affect a cat’s acceptance or refusal to wear a collar.

Proper training, attention, and care can coax almost any collar-averse cat into wearing their collar long-term.

However, until they are comfortable wearing it, be on the lookout for these reasons why your cat may be throwing a fit every time you attempt to put their collar on them.

Our own cats hated wearing a collar at first but have become accustomed to wearing one and now know that they get to go outside if they have one on.

It Isn’t A Cat Collar

It is a simple fact that cats and dogs are not the same. They have different anatomical constructions that each require unique fits and accommodations for the collars they wear.

This means that if your cat refuses to stop pawing at their collar or has any other dramatic reactions beyond the initial, expected discomfort, they may not be wearing the right collar for their build.

There are numerous styles of dog collars that might seem to fit a cat, as some breeds of dogs at full size can be even smaller than a typical house cat. So, you might have just picked up a dog collar by accident.

The Collar Isn’t The Right Size

As kittens grow into their full size, ensure that their collar grows with them.

Just like a human baby needs progressively bigger clothing, a cat’s growth can be quick and may require several purchases of new collars so that they remain safe, able to breathe, and comfortable.

Remember that one size does not fit all: loosening the collar can only go so far if the collar itself is just too small.

[The American Humane Society advises being able to slide up to three fingers comfortably in your cat’s collar while they are wearing it. If you cannot do this, then your cat’s adverse reaction may be trying to tell you that its collar is too tight.]

If the collar is too big, then it becomes much easier for the collar to snag on objects as your cat walks by them, and your cat is more able to slip out of the collar.

A collar that is too big can also keep your cat from liking its collar.

Your Cat Is Experiencing An Allergic Reaction

Cats can have allergic reactions to the material or chemicals used to make collars, so if your cat not only refuses to wear its collar but is actively combative when putting it on or seems to be in genuine pain, looking into whether your cat has an allergy may be worthwhile.

Collar Materials

The materials used to make cat collars can be a source of irritation for some felines, causing itchiness, redness, and other symptoms of allergic reaction.

Looking for signs of allergic reaction around the site of the collar’s contact, or even taking your cat to the vet for a check-up, could be a good idea if your cat just can’t stop scratching.

Try purchasing collars made of different materials than the one your cat is reacting negatively toward. It may not be that your cat doesn’t like collars at all; rather, it might just be telling you that a specific collar is not the one for them.

Medicated Collars

Sometimes it isn’t the collar itself that is causing the allergies but the chemicals in the collar. If your cat is reacting negatively to a flea collar, it could be the medicine that is causing allergies in your cat.

If this is the case, taking a trip to the vet to determine whether your feline has allergies to a specific medicine can go a long way in making sure they are comfortable and safe while wearing a medicated collar.

This also goes for collars that use particular scents or sprays to induce feelings of relaxation in anxious kitties. If you are noticing your cat scratching a lot at and around their collar, be sure to check and see if it isn’t the additives causing the problem.

Collar Training Is Inconsistent

Sometimes all a kitty needs to feel comfortable wearing their collar is consistency.

It can be tempting to take off your cat’s collar as soon as they show the slightest sign of distress but try to refrain.

[A Huffington Post article advises taking off a cat’s collar at night to help them adjust to the new normal of wearing it during the day.

However, doing this too often or taking off the collar as soon as your cat shows it does not wish to wear it might reinforce bad collar etiquette in your cat.]

Try distracting your cat with toys and playtime or with treats to help it forget about the collar altogether.

That way, eventually, you won’t even need to take the collar off before every cat nap.

Your Cat Has Not Had Time To Adjust

If your cat is still very new to wearing collars, it may be that they just need to spend more time with it.

Some discomfort at the beginning of training is to be expected, but that doesn’t mean it will last forever.

Resist the urge to do away with collars altogether and just give the cat some time to understand that while the collar may not be going away soon, that it is not a threat and can be forgotten about.

Your Cat Just Doesn’t Like Collars

It might be the case that your cat is just in the minority of felines that refuses to wear a collar.

If you notice that your cat continues to throw fits, scratch it, or get its paws stuck in it in an attempt to take the collar off, it may be time to consider alternatives for your furry friend.

For the furry friend that simply refuses to wear their collar, there are other options as well to make sure they remain safe, whether indoors or outdoors. For example, microchipping is an especially popular alternative to ensuring that a lost kitty will be immediately found and identified as your pet, without the pesky collar to get in the way or to get lost itself.


Many cat owners have struggled to train a cat to wear a collar, and many more wonder if a collar is necessary at all.

The American Humane Society advocates in favor of cats wearing collars; however, they still acknowledge that ill-fitting collars can quickly become a health hazard if not closely monitored, adjusted, or replaced as needed.

So, if your cat shows signs that it doesn’t like its collar and continues to rebel, there may be a reason for that.

Look into the possible reasons we’ve discussed in this article. It may be that all you need to do to help your feline get rid of the jitters about their collar is to address the underlying cause of the jitters themselves.