In a lot of cat friendly households, the gentle jingle of a bell can only mean one thing–there’s a feline on the prowl. When the cat jumps on the counter looking for snacks or sprints down the hallway at 3 AM, their bell blows their cover. Collars with bells are a popular accessory among cat lovers of the world, but there is still some controversy associated with attaching a noisy bauble around a cat’s neck. Does the near-constant noise damage a cat’s hearing? Is it a safety precaution that all cats need?
The decision to put a bell on your cat’s collar will, of course, depend on a number of factors. It’s up to you to decide what’s best for your feline friend, but we’re here to share facts and experiences to help aid in your decision.
What Are the Reasons to Put a Bell on Your Cat’s Collar?
Give Wildlife a Fighting Chance
One of the common complaints surrounding outdoor cats is that these feline predators can wreak real havoc on an area’s natural wildlife. Mice, chipmunks, snakes, birds, I even know a cat that managed to kill a large groundhog. Their predatory nature is often considered an asset when you want to keep mice out of your house or barn, but their habits can also have negative effects on the environment.
For this reason, many cat owners who want to give their pets the freedom to go outside adorn their kitties’ collars with bells. The jingle of the bell acts as an alarm system to tell unsuspecting birds and other animals that there’s a predator nearby.
A study conducted in England shows a bell has the potential to reduce a cat’s mammal and bird kills by 35-50%. That’s a lot of wildlife that could be saved by something as simple as a bell.
Cattitude Daily owner, Modi Ramos, saw first-hand how a bell could protect the birds that liked to frequent her yard. She had a bell on her cute ginger boy’s collar for two years. When she took it off for one day, her stealthy feline managed to kill three birds.
Easily Locate Your Cat
I recently took in an adorable gray kitten (that we named Tacoma, Taco for short). After giving the terrified baby a few weeks to decompress, I faced the question of whether or not I should get the little guy a bell. My reasoning doesn’t have anything to do with his predatory instincts (he’s an inside kitty for now), but now that he’s getting brave, I want to know where in the house he is.
My dog, Bailey, is still getting used to the idea of sharing the house with a cat. I don’t want Taco sneaking up on Bailey and causing a bad reaction, but I obviously can’t have eyes on them both 24 hours a day. A bell seemed like the best solution, and so far, it’s working wonderfully.
With a bell around Taco’s collar, I know when he works up the courage to come downstairs to where Bailey usually hangs out. When I hear that sound, I can locate Bailey and make sure that if Taco does decide to approach her, the interaction remains civil. Until the day they’re completely comfortable in each other’s company, this gives me so much more peace of mind.
Other cat people have equipped their cats, both indoor and outdoor, with bells for similar reasons. Our house panthers are small and sneaky, and they have a habit of disapearing the moment you need to find them. The bell makes them easier to keep track of.
The sound of a bell also helps people with vision impairments. Not only does a bell help a person find the cat, it can also help ensure that the cat isn’t accidentally stepped on.
Is Putting a Bell On Your Cat’s Collar Cruel?
While bells have potential to keep both your cat and unsuspecting wildlife safe, there are some concerns that they do more harm than good. One of those concerns is that the constant clang and clatter can negatively affect a cat’s hearing. It’s a valid consideration, but studies show us there’s nothing to worry about.
McGill Office for Science and Society reports the average cat bell produces sound at 50-60 dB. This is similar to a quiet conversation at home. Studies show cats are unaffected by sounds under 80 dB, which puts the sound of a bell firmly in the safe zone.
There’s still the question, however, of whether the sound is irritating to your individual cat. Some cats with high anxiety might react poorly to not being able to escape the sound. Most cats, however, get used to the sound quickly. They eventually learn to tune it out and don’t show any outward signs of annoyance.
Taco had a miniature freakout when I first attached the bell to his new collar. But after a few minutes, he was back to prancing around the house without a care in the world.
When it comes to cats and collars, whether or not you include a bell seems to be a matter of preference. If your cat’s predatory instincts are putting your local wildlife at risk, a bell might help prevent future casualties. And if you could use an assist in locating your sneaky feline, a bell could be a useful safety precaution. As long as you’re using a breakaway collar that is the perfect fit for your cat, a bell should have zero negative affects on their health or well-being.
Did you learn anything new about the best ways to care for our feline friends? Be sure to share this article with your fellow cat lovers!