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Why You Should Not Put A Bell On Your Cat

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, 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:

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.


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.


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.


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.


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

This article is merely informative, oneHOWTO does not have the authority to prescribe any veterinary treatments or create a diagnosis. We invite you to take your pet to a vet if it has any type of condition or pain.

If you'd like to read similar articles to Why You Should Not Put A Bell On Your Cat, we recommend you browse around our Pets category.

Comments (17)

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great article, insightful...
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.
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.
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!! :)
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?
the difference is that they aren’t attached to the toy!!
If you think that the reason people have bells on their cats is because it's "cute" then you're willfully ignorant. Have you ever actually asked someone why they have a bell on their cat? I, along with most people, put bells on my cats so I can hear them getting into trouble, trying to sneak outside, trying to get up on the counters trying to get food that might be dangerous to them, or if they do manage to get outside (which thankfully they haven't, they are indoors ONLY), I would be able to easily find them if I can hear their bells.
I('m not getting my cats chipped. I can't afford it with as many as I have).
They may have a natural instinct to be stealthy or whatever, but it's also natural for them to be outside in the wild and by that logic should I let my cats outside in the wild so they are at the mercy of wildlife and traffic and lunatic animal abusers who would love to do god knows what to them?
I need a bell on my kitten to know if she is near my motorized chair, so I don't run over her. She is an indoor only cat. Please don't discourage everyone not to use bells. I am open to suggestions if u have an alternative. TY
1st of all , plz dont put a bell on any cat, it is harassment for the cats, i hve 2 indoor cats , none of them like anything around their neck.... will u like to put a belt with bell around ur neck, and roam all day ? if not ,then plz, plz dont do it to ur cat...enough said .
As others have mentioned, please cite your references. You mention work published by Cornell that states bells do not not decrease wildlife killed by domestic cats. It would be really appreciated if you could put an actual citation with a link or the title/author to make it easier for us readers to judge the primary evidence. Which brings me to my biggest concern: your assertion that bells are actually harmful and can cause deafness. This is a significant claim and were this true, backed by evidence, I think I would likely not use hunting bells. So far I have not found any evidence to support this, but I really urge the author to include their references if they have them. Cheers
Cats eat birds and mice it's natural, they have evolved nicely on this diet, their wellbeing depends on it.
Don't keep cats indoors, it a prison.
Signs of autumn
I have a solution. Don't let your cat outside.
I love all animals and I've rescued cats dumped on my street and found wonderful homes for them, but they do kill lots of wildlife . It's instinct and fun for them . I thought by feeding the left behind cats in my area would prevent the killing of wildlife, but it doesn't . A bell is not going to cause deafness in a cat. It's just going to annoy it. Too bad. If my neighbors don't keep their cats in. They need to collar and bell them. Bells do save wildlife. I'm a wildlife rescuer and I observe wildlife and the cats in my neighborhood . The bell raises the rabbits , squirrels or birds attention immediately and they learn when they hear the bell. It's a cat coming .RUN!
Sadly the baby rabbits don't learn quick enough and they're torn apart left to slowly die on my lawn. As are the baby squirrels just coming out for the first time . Obviously wildlife is wild and free . We can't bring it in our house or pen it up, but cats can be kept in and if you care about your cat. You would keep it in for several reasons. Owls, hawks, raccoons, foxes, rabies, fleas, ticks, and rotten people who target cats to hurt or kill them for fun. If you have a pet. Be responsible. Keep them indoors and safe. Take them for their vaccines and check ups.
Teach them to walk on a harness if you want them to enjoy the outdoors. It's not easy, but possible. Or have a cat pen outside for fresh air with a top on it. Just because your cat cries to go out or tries to get out. Doesn't mean you should let it. Once a cat is taught to stay in. It does. All my cats liked their house and never wanted to go out. They would panic if they followed me outside by accident They would crouch low and wait for me to carry them in. In the end it's lazy or irresponsible owners with an out dated belief cats belong outside. Unless cats are on a farm for catching mice and rats. They don't belong outdoors. PERIOD! Cats are not wildlife. They were man made if you research their history. We don't let our dogs run loose just because their ancestors were wolves.
Further more. There's 1000's of cats in shelters and rescues, because people let them roam free not spayed or neutered and there's not enough homes. They end up euthanized. If you truly love cats. Keep them indoors or you're lying to yourself about how much you really care about cats.
Dave cat
I'm calling BS dude or dudette. Cats are animals and I've had upward of 10 cats, each of them hated when I tried to keep them inside. You are just a pansy control freak lol

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Why You Should Not Put A Bell On Your Cat