“ Brand: Pets At Home / Type: Cat Collar „
It was time to invest in collars with bells when my two cats started to bring me the results of their hunting exploits - something I was pretty troubled by. I had tried to get them to wear collars when I started letting them out so that they could have a contact number in case they got lost, but within 10 seconds of seeing them frantically trying to get them off and being really irritated, I gave up.
When the hunting started though, it was time for a rethink and after thinking long and hard about having them wearing bells, whether it would drive them mad etc, I decided I had to give it a go, and headed along to Pets at Home.
They stock a wide variety of these collars, which are complete with bells, priced at £3. They have some with fabric/felt feel or those which are more solid - a kind of leather-feel but obviously not leather at £3 each! They have all patterns and colours, I chose one red one for my black cat and a brown/black one for my dark torty.
The biggest worry when buying cat collars are that they will release easily if they get them caught. At the same time, it can't be too easy to release them or they will be constantly getting lost! Instore these collars are merchandised on cardboard strips, not wrapped, so you can freely try out the clip fastenings and also feel the fabric or texture of the material, and how lightweight they are. With these, you need to apply a bit of force to open them, but not so much that they wouldn't release if the cat is stuck. The clips are plastic, coloured to match or contrast with the collar. They have two 'prongs' which clip inside the solid outer casing of the clip with a reassuring 'click'.
When you get the collars off the cardboard backing, they are easy to adjust with a plastic slide, and you need to get them tight enough so the cats can't reach them with their mouths but slack enough obviously not to hurt them - being able to fit two fingers behind the collar is what they recommend. Adjusting and readjusting is very easy, and once in place they don't slip or slacken.
At first, unsurprisingly enough, both cats were less than impressed with the collars. I can't pretend the bell didn't bother them, because it's very sensitive, and jingles with any move. But what did surprise me was that literally within 10 minutes they were moving around and acting like they had forgotten they were there. Don't get me wrong, they still from time to time were taken aback by the bell, or felt the collar and had a few moments of trying to get at it with their mouths, but a swift distraction with the nearest (stuffed!) mouse and they were amazingly fine.
I really was concerned that the bell may distress the cats, but I know my cats, and they definitely do not. They've been wearing these collars for about 4 months now. One of the girls has lost 3 of them, the other has lost just one. For peace of mind knowing that they release when caught, I think that represents a fair enough result. At £3 I usually keep 2 or 3 spares in the cupboard just in case they lose one, and at that price, I don't mind doing that at all. For what they are, £3 is good value and quality, the cat who's only lost one had worn the same one for 3 months and the black pattern did fade off it, but in terms of the collar itself it showed no sign of wearing out.
The best thing of all though, is that since wearing these collars the hunting success rate has been cut to the point where there has only been one "incident" the whole time they've been wearing them. The bells do jingle with every move they make, so any prey is always given a fighting chance. On the occasions one has come off in the house, they even sit still whilst I put them back on, something there would be no danger of happening if they were in any way upsetting.
For value for money and effectiveness, these collars are an excellent buy.
I've had both of my dogs microchipped and whilst I'm fully aware the day may come where I will be extremely thankful that I did this, I also feel extremely guilty for doing so. Both times I stood watching as two little puppies had a gigantic needle shoved in the back of their neck and I can still hear the cries and yelps of pain to this day. I keep saying I will get my three cats microchipped too but in all honestly, I don't think I will. I don't think I could handle that needle going into a much smaller kitty!
To be on the safe side though each of my cats wear a name tag with their name and my phone number engraved. In fact, thanks to very cheap prices on ebay, I have a whole stash of them just in case they ever get lost! For my cats to wear these though they obviously require a collar and all three of my lovely felines wear Pets At Home Cat Collar's.
The collars come in a wide range of different colours and patterns from the frankly ridiculous looking bright pink with diamantes to the more sensible plain black collar. I like to buy collars which 'go' with my cat's fur. Ollie, the big fluffy light ginger tabby, wears a pale yellow one with a white trim. Yuki, the dark grey tabby wears a black and white criss/cross type patterned collar whilst Meg, the black/white/ginger tortoise shell girl wears the collar displayed in the Dooyoo picture, a nice red and white gingham laced one. You'll also find these collars in every colour and pattern inbetween too so whatever style you wish for your cat to wear, you'll probably find it here.
The collars vary in price depending on style. The plain and simple collars, such as Ollies yellow one, are priced at £2. The ones with a nice pattern like Meg and Yuki's cost £3 and the (what I see as) awful ones completed with big plastic diamonds and the likes, are priced at £5. Currently these collars are on a three for two offer on the Pets at Home website too.
The collars come backed on a very pale yellow coloured sheet of cardboard. The Pets at Home logo is displayed on the top along with the name of the product and a little drawing of a partially unrolled ball of wall at the top for added decoration. Two holes, on midway down and one at the very bottom of the cardboard, are punched out which allows the collar to be attached. This open typed packaging allows you to fully see the collar before buying which I like.
The collars measure at 1cm thick and have an adjustable length of 21-34cm which I find to be a decent size range. All three of my cats are very different sizes with Meg being rather small, Yuki being around 'average' size for an adult male cat and Ollie being just huge (but not overweight I should point out)! The collar may be on the large size for small kittens but I think it'd fit most by the time they were big and old enough to be going outside anyway.
Adjusting the collars length is easily done simply by sliding back and forth the bra strap like plastic buckle. I find it doesn't provide too much resistance so you're not struggle to loosen or tighten the collar but it's strong enough for my cats not to be able to adjust the size just through wearing the collar.
As with (I hope anyway) all cat collars these are fitted with a safety fastener. Two bits of plastic which snap open should your cats get their collars caught. I find this fastener does pop open easily when forced but, again, isn't so weak that the collar does pop right off as soon as my cats get up or anything. Ollie and Meg have only ever had two of these each and that's simply because I replaced them through general wear and tear so they obviously stay on if the collar doesn't get caught. Yuki on the other hand likes to prove that these do come off if they get caught though as he's come home without his about five times now! However he does often try and get through the tiny bathroom window when it's only slightly open so he's obviously got a habit of going through spaces too small for him.
Each collar has a little silver bell attached to it which is another feature I like, there's definitely been a significant drop in the number of birds and rodents my cats bring back between them since they had a little warning bell attached! The bell is attached to the collar via a little loop which allows me to easily swivel it around if needed although rarely makes its way to the back of my cat's neck or anything. This little loop is also where I attach my cats name tag so these collars are perfectly fine for that purpose too.
The collars are really easy to fit, Meg always kicks up the most fuss when I put a collar on her and even she only takes about a minute to be fitted with her new collar which makes my life easier! Just remember to check the size of the collar! You should be able to fit two fingers between the collar and your cats neck and it should be checked regularly, obviously even more so if you have a growing kitten. These collars also come with a warning that they should be removed when using liquid flea treatments so the chemicals can't react with the material and/or buckle.
I personally find these to be really nice collars for my cats. They're reasonably cheap and, in my experience at least, last about a year and a half to two years before they need replacing through general wear and tear. There's plenty of designs to pick from they're generally of a decent quality with some nice and useful features. I can't fault them really!