Belling your cat will alert animals and people to your cat's presence and make will make him easier to find. Your cat's bell will alert backyard birds and give them time to get away from your cat. This simple process takes very little time.
Here's how to bell a cat:
- Choose a collar. Nearly any cat collar can hold a bell. Your choices vary widely, from a simple nylon collar to one with rhinestones or embroidery. The latch styles differ, too - consider an easy-release collar if your cat often travels outdoors in areas where the collar may get tangled.
- Choose a bell. To bell a cat, you'll need two small bells, each attached to metal loops. Use two so that if your cat manages to lose one, the other bell will still be on the collar. Before selecting bells for your cat, ring them once to be sure you can live with the sound, which you'll hear frequently.
- Assemble the collar. Now, attach the bells to the cat's collar. Most collars have a small loop for attaching ID tags or bells. It's not a bad idea to attach an ID tag to the collar at the same time as you add the bells, if your cat isn't already wearing such a tag. Make sure that the loops are all the way through the hole on the collar, and then close the loops all the way. If there is a small gap in the ring, close it with a pair of pliers. If you don't, the bell may slip right off the collar.
- Place the collar around your cat's neck. Hopefully your cat enjoys being held, so this won't be too much of a struggle. Simply place the collar around your cat's neck and fasten it. It should be loose enough for you to fit one finger between the cat's neck and the collar, but not loose enough to allow two or more fingers. Speak calmly to your cat, and be prepared to try again later if your cat puts up a fight. It can help to have two people, one to hold the cat and one to fasten the collar.
- Check the collar periodically. Make sure that the bells' rings are still securely fastened to the collar, and the collar still fits properly and is not getting worn out. Some cats may manage to lose their collars entirely, especially if they spend hours outdoors each day.
Belling a cat is a simple yet often-overlooked step in preparing your cat for the great outdoors. With a bell, your cat will be heard long before he is seen by neighbors, other cats, and even backyard birds. If you're looking for your cat, just listen for the sound of the bell on his collar.