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Putting a bell on your outdoor cat’s collar provides warning to birds and other wildlife so they can make a swift exit as your cat approaches. Indoors, a bell on the collar helps you monitor your cat’s location.
Cat collars come in every style and color—many with a removable bell. Durable weather-proof materials are ideal for outdoor cats, while indoor cats may prefer something soft and lightweight. The good news is there’s a cat collar out there for every need and preference.
Whether you want to protect wildlife from your outdoor cat or keep tabs on a stealthy indoor friend, a collar with a bell might do the trick. We consulted veterinary experts to learn what cat parents should know about putting a bell on their cat’s collar.
Best for Outdoor Cats: Frisco Solid Nylon Cat Collar
Durability is a must in a collar for outdoor cats, but safety is also key. Dr. Alejandro Caos, a veterinarian with The Vets, recommends collars with “a safety feature such as a breakaway or quick-release buckle.” This enables your cat to escape if the collar snags on something—a risk which may be higher for outdoor than indoor cats.
This budget-friendly collar from Frisco is simple but dependable. It’s made from solid nylon materials in a 3/8-inch width, so it will hold up in rough weather. The’s adjustable for neck sizes 8 to 12 inches and comes with a silver bell. Choose from four different sizes, all equipped with black plastic hardware and a breakaway buckle.
- Made from durable nylon materials
- Adjustable for neck sizes 8 to 12 inches
- Breakaway buckle for safety
- Four color options with silver bell
Best for Indoor Cats: CollarDirect Leather Cat Collar
Dr. Emma Fulton, DVM, Veterinary Advisor for WhiskerWitty, says “while an outdoor cat might benefit from a collar with a bell, an indoor cat could do with a comfortable, non-irritating collar.” Leather is a soft but durable material and this CollarDirect model comes with a small bell, just in case.
Made from genuine leather with heavy-duty metal hardware, this collar comes in a dozen bright colors. There are two sizes to choose from as well. The smaller size is ideal for kittens with 6-to-7-inch necks while the medium is adjustable for neck sizes 9 to 11 inches.
Rather than a breakaway buckle, this collar features a matching elastic band. If your cat gets stuck on something, the collar stretches so they can slip free.
- Made from genuine leather materials
- Heavy-duty metal hardware
- Two sizes and a dozen color choices
- Only adjustable for necks up to 11 inches
Though bells serve an important purpose, Dr. Caos notes that “some cats may find the sound irritating or uncomfortable.” It’s important to monitor your cat’s behavior as they adjust to the collar. Should they seem to be bothered by the bell, consider removing it.
If you’re not sure whether your cat will like a collar with a bell, it may be best to start with a less noisy option. This nylon breakaway collar from Red Dingo comes with a matching bell but it’s small enough to remain fairly quiet. The bell is attached with a small ring, so it hangs close to the collar. This keeps it from making too much noise with subtler movements.
Available in five colors, this collar is adjustable for neck sizes 8 to 12.5 inches. The fish-shaped breakaway clip releases under tension to keep your cat safe.
- Small bell is fairly quiet
- Made from durable nylon webbing
- Fish-shaped breakaway safety clip
- Adjustable for neck sizes 8 to 12.5 inches
Best Reflective: Pawtitas Glow-in-the-Dark Cat Collar with Bell
While bells can help you pinpoint your cat’s location, reflective materials come in handy in low-light situations. This Pawtitas collar features tough ripstop nylon with lightweight neoprene padding. The sewn-in reflective ribbon bounces light from the environment, but the collar also glows in the dark. To optimize this feature, charge the collar under lamplight, flashlight, or sunshine for 20 minutes.
A breakaway buckle prevents your cat from getting trapped by furniture or outdoor obstacles. The collar is adjustable for neck sizes 8 to 12 inches. It comes in eight colors with a cute print and a removable silver bell.
- Reflective and glows in the dark
- Adjustable for neck sizes 8 to 12 inches
- Durable ripstop nylon with light padding
- Eight color options with silver bell
Best for Identification: GoTags Personalized Cat Collar with Bell
If your cat gets lost, an ID tag will help them make their way back to you. The problem with ID tags, says Dr. Caos, is that “over time, the tags may become worn or damaged.” A tag doesn’t do any good if it isn’t legible. Instead, consider putting your cat’s identification information directly on their collar.
This popular personalized reflective collar isn’t just for outdoor cats. It’s not uncommon for indoor cats to dart out of the house and get lost. With the GoTags collar, not only will your cat be more visible, but they’ll be wearing your contact information. It also comes with a wildlife protection bell.
Choose from five colors and personalize with up to 21 characters. Some customers comment that this is an excellent lightweight collar for less active cats, but it may be less durable than a thicker nylon collar.
- Lightweight and comfortable
- Personalize with up to 21 characters
- Reflective ribbon for low-light visibility
- Comes with a matching bell
Most Fashionable: Necoichi Lucky Charm Bowtie Cat Collar
While fashion is certainly a feature to consider, Dr. Fulton “can’t stress enough the importance of investing in a high-quality, comfortable collar.” This Necoichi collar offers the ideal combination of style and comfort.
Made from kimono-grade rayon fabric with a cute bowtie design, this collar comes with a gold bell and a cute lucky cat charm. The collar features a standard breakaway buckle with plastic hardware. It’s adjustable for neck sizes 8.2 to 13.7 inches. Choose from two colors: red or black.
- Made from kimono-grade rayon fabric
- Cute bowtie design with lucky cat charm
- Adjustable for neck sizes 8.2-13.7 inches
- Includes breakaway safety buckle
Best for Kittens: Kittyrama Breakaway Adjustable Cat Collar
While they’re first getting used to wearing a collar, your kitten may appreciate something unassuming. This simple silicone collar is lightweight and gentle on sensitive skin. It’s brightly colored for cuteness’ sake and comes with a small silver bell.
The Kittyrama collar features a breakaway release clasp for your kitten’s safety. What makes it ideal for kittens, however, is the sizing. The collar is adjustable for neck sizes from 7.7 to 10.4 inches. Plus, the materials are hypoallergenic and waterproof.
- Narrow and lightweight design
- Made from soft silicone materials
- Adjustable for neck sizes 5.7 to 7.3 inches
- Includes a quick-release breakaway buckle
Best for Bird Safety: BirdsBeSafe Cat Collar
Dr. Abel Gonzalez, DVM, a veterinarian for Dutch.com, notes that bells on cat collars may not always work. “Animals can become desensitized to the sound over time,” he says, “just like we can get used to loud noises like trains passing by our house.” In some cases, a visual warning might be more effective.
The BirdsBeSafe cat collar is not your standard collar. It’s actually a fabric cover that slips over your cat’s collar—its bright colors and floppy fabric serve as a visual warning to wildlife. Because it’s a little bulky, you may need to use a longer collar than your cat would normally wear.
Our test kitties didn’t seem to mind wearing the BirdsBeSafe. It comes in a variety of patterns and is easy to put on before your cat goes outside.
- Provides a visual warning to wildlife
- Slides over a standard cat collar
- Made from 100% cotton materials
- Reflective trim for low-light visibility
Loudest: Beau’s Bells for Cat Collars
Not only can wildlife become accustomed to the sound of bells, but Dr. Gonzalez suggests that “some cats may learn to walk more slowly to avoid ringing the bell, rendering it less effective.” The smaller the bell, the easier it is for your cat to accomplish this goal. Beau’s Bells are designed to be extra loud, making it that much more challenging for your cat to be stealthy.
Though not sold with a collar, Beau’s Bells are easy to attach to your cat’s existing collar since they’re hung on a sturdy keyring. The bells are handmade from pure copper with loud stainless-steel clappers. Choose from three different sizes, all sold in sets of two.
- Handmade from pure copper
- Loud stainless-steel clappers
- Attach to any collar
- Audible from 50 feet away
How We Chose
We selected the products featured here based on a combination of our own hands-on testing, comprehensive analysis of customer reviews across a wide variety of retail platforms, and interviews with veterinary experts.
We prioritized cat collars with durable but comfortable materials, breakaway safety features, and removable bells. Our picks are also influenced by the experience of living and playing alongside our own much-loved and strongly opinionated kitties, who are never stingy with their feedback.