What are breakaway cat collars and how do they work?

Nov 03, 2023

What are breakaway cat collars and how do they work?

At Cheshire & Wain, your cat’s safety is of the utmost importance to us. That’s why all our luxury leather collars are designed with our signature breakaway catch, to keep your cat safe no matter what mischief they might get up to. 

How do I choose a safe collar for my cat?

As recommended by veterinarians, it is really important to always choose a collar with a breakaway catch. Forgo elasticated cat collars (which can cause nasty leg injuries) and never fit a collar that is meant for a small dog. There are many options when it comes to fabric cat collars but not so much choice for leather collars. Cheshire & Wain specialise in leather cat collars but we also have a range made from vegan friendly materials. 

All Cheshire & Wain cat collars incorporate a discreet breakaway catch for your cat’s protection and your peace of mind. This tiny piece of hardware is singularly the most important part of our unique cat collar design.

Shop our luxury collar collections here: 


What is a breakaway cat collar and how does it work?

Cats are naturally curious creatures, and their playful antics can sometimes lead to their collar getting caught on objects or branches, which could be potentially dangerous. If your cat is wearing a collar with a breakaway catch, the collar will break open if they find themselves in a sticky situation. It’s important that your cat has the ability to free themselves as this will prevent harm and distress.

Our signature breakaway catch is a discreet clasp on the side of each collar. The catch is set to a tensile strength of 2.5kg, meaning that it is designed to break open if the collar is being tugged or pulled under force - when it matters most.

Remember, not all safety hardware is created equal - many catches are mass-produced with varying quality control and testing levels. All Cheshire & Wain safety cat collars feature a clasp that we designed in-house from scratch and it’s made and tested right here in the UK. 

How do you open a breakaway cat collar?

Breakaway-style safety buckles open under pressure when force is applied to them. You can open them up by pulling the strap apart on either side of the safety catch. The catch will open automatically if your cat gets caught or entangled because force will be applied to the collar strap, which will cause the clip to break open. Plastic buckles, which are opened by pressing the sides inwards, are not safe because they require human intervention to open them up. Always buy a collar with a breakaway style buckle, like Cheshire & Wain’s range of safe cat collars.

Click here to see our full range of cat collars 

How do I fit a breakaway collar? 

When fitting your cat's collar, make sure it isn't too tight or too loose – enough to be comfortable without being too restrictive. As a general guide, there should be room to fit 2 fingers (2.5cm/1inch) between the collar and your cat's neck for a snug but comfortable fit. Take a look at our detailed fitting guide.

Click here to see our fitting guide

When is it safe for a kitten to wear a collar? 

You shouldn’t fit a collar on a very young kitten as they will be too small and have developing neck muscles. Breeders often put little velcro fabric collars on kittens to tell them apart, and this is safe but they will need to grow a little more before they can wear a proper collar. Our recommendation is to wait until they are over 16 weeks old or weigh over 2.5kg. Kittens will need our ‘petite’ size and a suede-lined collar is excellent for a young cat getting used to wearing a collar as they are nice and soft against their neck. 

 Penelope when she was five months old

How do I lengthen a breakaway cat collar?

Cheshire & Wain breakaway cat collars are made to incorporate two different types of buckle. A traditional metal buckle for adjusting the size of the strap and a second plastic breakaway buckle which makes the collar safe for your cat to wear. Our unique design marries form and function, making the collar safe and comfortable for your kitty and aesthetically pleasing at the same time. 

Can I personalise your breakaway cat collars?

Cheshire & Wain has some ranges of collars that can be personalised directly on the strap. You can add your cat’s name or your phone number for quick identification. Or, if you prefer, choose from our full collar range and add an engraved ID tag instead.



Shop our ranges of collars that can be personalised on the strap here: 
Shop our range of engraved ID tags: 

Click here to learn about how we personalise each collar by hand


Does my outdoor cat need to wear a collar? 

Letting your cat go outside freely can be nerve-wracking, especially if they are late coming in for their dinner. There is always a risk they could come to harm on their outdoor adventures, so ensuring they have a good quality, safe collar complete with identification and/or a tracking device is essential. A collar indicates to others that your cat is not a stray and has a loving home to return to. A collar with an ID tag or your phone number on the strap is the most effective way to ensure you can be reunited with your cat as soon as possible if they get lost or injured. Whilst your cat is likely to have a microchip with your information on it, this can only be read using a special scanner at a vet or rescue centre.

Click here to read more tips on how to keep your outdoor cat safe

What is the best breakaway cat collar for outdoor cats? 

We recommend choosing a reflective collar if your cat goes outdoors. Cheshire & Wain’s Lumino Lux range was designed specially for feline adventurers to ensure they are as visible as possible during their escapades into their surrounding territories. Combine this collar with an engraved ID tag with your emergency contact details and consider securing an Apple AirTag to your cat’s collar with our matching AirTag Case.

Click here to find out more about using an AirTag to track your cat


Do indoor cats need to wear collars?

Many indoor cats wear collars either for aesthetic reasons or, more importantly for safety reasons. There is always a risk that your indoor cat might escape the home and find themselves somewhere unfamiliar and scary. They don’t have the street-smarts of outdoor cats, so they will be in greater danger and might exhibit erratic behaviour, which could put them at risk of harm. Many of our customers with indoor kitties, choose an ID tag or personalised collar with their phone number and INDOOR CAT on it so someone can help if they find their cat and can immediately see that it should not be outside.