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Why You Should Not Put A Bell On Your Cat

By Max. D Gray. Updated: March 30, 2017
Why You Should Not Put A Bell On Your Cat

To us, the image of a cat wearing a bell is almost natural. Although for many years it has been seen as a nice accessory and, in a way, necessary for a cat that is out and about in the wilderness, there is a growing argument against putting this noisy article on your cat's neck. At OneHowTo.com, we explain why you should not put a bell on your cat, as it is not as good an idea as you thought.

You may also be interested in: Is it Safe to Put a Collar on a Cat?
Steps to follow:
1

Firstly, the main reason is the noise. And not just because it is repetitive and annoying for you, but because it is harmful to your cat's health. The bell is too close to their ears and in the long-term, this powerful and constant noise will impair your cat's sharp hearing. It could even turn your cat deaf if the bell were a big enough size.

2

The bell's ring can alter your cat's mood. Of course, having a perpetual ringing sound coming from their neck will make your feline very nervous. Think of the calm and silent stealth that cats, by nature, ooze. Moving skilfully, with indifference, and above all, are the image of relaxation and Zen. With a bell, you are putting your cat and yourself on edge, leading to a stressed cat.

3

A collar with a bell ringing is all but convenient. Indeed, many cats try to get it off, or even try to bite it to stop the ringing. There have been many cases of injured cats, as many catch their bottom jaw with the bell when trying to get it off.

It is possible that your cat has grown used to it, but nothing is at all natural about carrying this around its neck.

4

The reasons in favor of putting a bell on your cat include that the cat will catch less wildlife, as the sound of the bell will warn possible prey. However, studies by Barrette from the Mammal Society have proven that cats with a bell catch as much prey (or even more) than those without one. Take a look at everything you need to know on the actual figures in AnimalWised's article Cats killing birds: separating fact from myth.

Birds and other wildlife will be aware of a cat's presence not by the noise of the bell, but because of physical viewing, so a bell will not make a difference in this sense. Another reason that makes a bell useless in this sense is that, over time, cats have learnt how to walk without the bell ringing.

If this is the reason you want to put a bell on your cat, then a Cat Bib may be an alternative your cat could adapt to instead.

Why You Should Not Put A Bell On Your Cat - Step 4
5

If despite all this, you cannot resist from putting a bell on your cat, try to only put it on from time to time or at least, buy a small one. We know that collars serve many purposes: identifying, flee-removal, being aesthetic-pleasing, a tracking device, etc. While wearing a collar might be necessary, it does not need to have a bell. Put yourself in your little furry friend's position, just because it seems funny or cute does not mean you should go a step further and ruin your cat's hearing and peace. For more useful advice on raising cats, we recommend consulting our cat section on OneHowTo.com

If you want to read similar articles to Why You Should Not Put A Bell On Your Cat, we recommend you visit our Pets category.

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34 comments
Catherine
Bought my Gently a breakaway collar (which came with a bell on it). He ripped. it off three times. The third time he hid it so well that I didn't find it until we replaced the hot water heater this year. So I gave up, and kept him inside until we built him a catzebo. He has now ripped two holes in the chicken wire so he can get out and terrorize the neighborhood, when he's not timing it exactly right to dart out the door with the dogs.
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Melissa
I hate bells on cats, for all the reasons listed above. But I have a 1 year old, new to the house. Putting the bell on lets me keep track of the cat as it explores all the nooks and crannies that my older cats have long neglected, or haven't found interest in. Also, my cat is pitch black, and impossible to see in any shadows - if I need to find him, the bell helps. Lastly, my eldest cat is 16, and the bell helps give her warning that the cat is coming near. She's not in love with the idea of a new cat in the house, and she's a tiny thing with arthritis. Until she comes around, or at least gets accustomed to the new scents and movement (I'm giving her 6 months to a year. I'm under NO illusions) the bell is necessary to give her warning so we can stress her out a little less. The bell doesn't ring with every movement, so it's not quite as obnoxious as other bells I've heard or seen. Thank you for the pointer about the cat's hearing... on that end, I am more concerned with the constant hums and buzzing from various plugged in machinery around my house. There is no real "quiet."
Randa Boisclair
I wonder if a bell on a cat's collar serves as a warning to potential prey, doesn't it also endanger a cat as a way for predator's to more easily track them?
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Eugene L Wenceslao
My cat has a bell. They dont go deaf idiot leftist. They mostly lay around napping. What if i play my guitar too loud or play some music., or decide to watch a movie on my big screen tv with surround sound. Lawn mowers, garbage trucks, motorcycles, my wind chime, everyday sound. If you forgot noise pollution is everywhere. How about my barking dog will he go deaf if he barks too loud cuz he does.
OneHowTo Editor
Hi Eugene,

We always appreciate input from our community, but we would respectfully request you don't resort to personal attacks or making assumptions about a person's belief system. It does not promote the kind of supportive community we want to have here and, honestly, reflects badly on you. We know there are many issues regarding animals which are politically fraught, but we politely ask our commentators to not create any further unnecessary division.
Emma
My cat is so small we have to give her a kitten collar (we make sure it is big enough to not hurt her) but she always manages to get out of it, bell or no bell. We gave up on collars and got her chipped.

If a cat is showing signs they don't like the bell keep them inside if they are okay with it let them outside because cats are natural hunters and have hunted many small creatures to extinction. Don't get me wrong I love cats but I also love every animal so please take responsibility for it.
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great article, insightful...
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Dave
It's this simple. Shoot all the cats in your neighborhood, or put a bell on them. I feed birds and squirrels...and feral cats. One species does not have the right to wipe out the other species. Guess which is happening? I used to have a yard full of happy birds and squirrels stuffing themselves... then cats... feral and wild... started using my back yard as a hunting ground. I had choices... I chose to try to keep ALL of the species alive and well. And yes, I feed the cats. One lives in my house most of the time. It is time consuming. The easy answer is to transport the cats or get them to an ASPCA or some such incarnation... but the local one is FULL of cats and kittens, and turned mine away. So... let them rampage my exotic birds, squirrels, and some cats terrorize other cats... or BELL them. Nuff said.
melissa
Have you looked into trap and release, so the feral cats don't reproduce as often, or at all? That will slow down the feral cat population, and help save the birds and squirrels. Awesome for you looking out for all creatures.
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Mary Sadler
I agree 100% with the article. Cats are invaluable in keeping pests under control, can you imagine the numbers of mice and rats if there were no cats to catch them? Ask the ancient Egyptians! I think mice are cute, but I don't want them partying in my pantry, thank you very much. To bell the cat as an alarm is inhumane and against everything nature stands for. If you don't want your pet to catch prey, get a stuffed one.
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Leslie Carol
It's worth a little discomfort to save the lives on countless wild birds. Many birds are endangered because of domestic cats! The common house cat is NOT! #1 DO NOT let your cat outdoors. But if you do, they MUST wear a bell to warn wild birds. Thank you!! :)
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Chloe
if cats aren't allowed to be belled you claim they could go deaf from the bells. so how is it any different if they were playing with a toy with a bell on it?
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the difference is that they aren’t attached to the toy!!

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