Everything you need to know about putting a bell on your cat’s collar

Apr 26, 2024

Everything you need to know about putting a bell on your cat’s collar

Putting a bell on your cat’s collar can be a divisive topic. Some people strongly support it, and others strongly oppose it, so we thought we would discuss some pros and cons to aid your decision when choosing your kitty’s next collar. Selecting a bell collar depends significantly on your cat’s home environment, temperament, behaviour and even the country you live in. 

Bells are optional on all Cheshire & Wain collars because we know they aren’t for every cat. In this handy guide, we answer some commonly asked questions about this topic, so please read on to learn more.

Why put a bell on a cat collar? 

The main reason for adding a bell to your cat’s collar is to protect wildlife. Cats are natural hunters and can be pretty skilled in this occupation. Cats pose a threat to birds and other small animals - the sound of a bell alerts wildlife when a cat sneaks up on them so they have a better chance of escaping. 

The global statistics are pretty shocking regarding cats' impact on bird populations. In the United Kingdom, cats kill approximately 27 million birds each spring and summer, in the United States it’s an estimated 1.3–4.0 billion birds

Will cats stop hunting if they wear a bell?

A recent RSPB study found that a bell can reduce the number of birds cats catch by 41% and mammals such as mice and voles by 34%. A bell will never be able to stop your cat from hunting, but it can make them less successful on their outdoor expeditions, so that’s a big ‘pro’ for bells in this regard. 

Cats are clever however, and can become rather skilled at moving without ringing their bell until it’s time to pounce so you may want to test if adding a bell to your cat’s collar equals less animal ‘offerings’ at your doorstep. Some customers have asked us to add two bells to our collars, and we are happy to do so. Larger bells are also available from pet shops but always monitor how your cat behaves if you decide to fit a louder bell to their collar. 

Cat's have a deep rooted prey drive, and while it's important to remember that we can't (and shouldn't) try to stop a cat's natural hunting instincts, we can try and satisfy their natural desire to hunt through varied and stimulating play. 

Our leather teaser toys are designed to mimic the movement and shape of potential prey. Kitties love chasing and pouncing upon the tentacles, and the boinging motion of the toy on the elastic is irresistible to your cat.

Check out our range of teaser toys

Does the sound of the bell hurt my cat’s ears? 

Our bells are lightweight and will produce a sound of around 45-50 dB. For comparison, a whisper is around 30dB, and normal conversation is around 60 dB. The gentle tinkling sound of a bell is not loud enough to affect your cat’s hearing, and most cats will get used to the sound very quickly. 

That said, however, if your cat is particularly anxious or sensitive to noise, then it’s best to proceed with caution and monitor their behaviour with a bell. It’s normal for them to be unsure at first, but if they seem overly distressed by the sound then it’s best to remove it or seek advice from your vet. 

Does my indoor cat need a bell?

Putting a bell on an indoor cat’s collar is down to personal preference. If your cat isn’t allowed outside, the benefits for birds and other wildlife won’t be relevant. However, many of our customers still fit a bell so they can hear where their kitty is in their house. 

What if I order a Cheshire & Wain collar with a bell and my cat doesn’t like it?

If you can see that your cat doesn’t like the bell on their collar, then it’s straightforward to remove. Simply hold the bell and twist it to bend the loop ring, and voila! The bell is off. If you would like the option to reattach the bell at a later date, please email us after placing your order, and we can include some spare bell rings. 

Can a collar bell help with locating my cat?

The sound of the bell on your cat’s collar can let you know that they’re approaching or somewhere nearby, which can be comforting if your cat is prone to wandering off. 

Kittens are notorious for getting into strange places while exploring and playing at home, so a bell can help locate them if they don’t appear when called. 

If you have an elderly, deaf, or disabled cat who is slow or unsteady on their feet, a bell can be handy so you can be more aware of their presence if they tend to get underfoot. 

The sound of a bell can alert you if your kitty is nearby, but if you need to know where your cat is if they wander further afield, consider using an Apple AirTag as a cat tracker.

Our range of lightweight reflective AirTag holders can attach to your cat’s collar and help you keep tabs on their whereabouts. 

Ultimately, whether to put a bell on your cat's collar depends on your cat's personality, behaviour, and environment. It's a good idea to monitor your cat's reaction to the bell and adjust accordingly.