If your cat adventures outdoors, a breakaway collar is a must. It’s designed to unclasp if your cat gets stuck on something, and can prevent injury. That’s why a breakaway collar is the first item we recommend buying for a new kitten.
“Breakaway collars are the only types of collars that should be considered for cats,” Dr. Chyrle Bonk, DVM, veterinarian and writer in Orofino, Idaho, told The Spruce Pets. “Choose one with a breakaway clasp rather than a piece of elastic to ensure that they are safe and will actually come off if needed. Choose one with a reflective stripe and a way to secure proper I.D. to make them even more safe.”
Most cat collars range in size from 0.38 to 0.5 inches in width and come in a wide range of lengths. Many are adjustable with a sliding buckle. We looked for breakaway cat collars that are easy to fit, functional, and made from quality materials.
Our favorite breakaway collar is the LupinePet Safety Cat Collar, which comes in 50+ colorful designs and is backed by an “even if chewed” lifetime guarantee.
LupinePet Safety Cat Collar
More than 50 colorful designs
Eco, reflective, and holiday options, too
Nylon webbing collars are prone to fraying
LupinePet’s durable, woven nylon breakaway collar is protected by an “even if chewed” (or scratched!) lifetime guarantee. Several buyers noted that this guarantee has meant they’ve only bought one collar for the lifetime of their pet (the guarantee doesn’t include lost collars).
Each half-inch width collar comes with or without a bell, and is adjustable from eight inches to 12 inches in length. The breakaway buckle is designed to release with approximately five pounds of pressure, so you won’t have to worry about your cat getting tangled or injured. A steel D-ring holds your important identification tags.
LupinePet provides substantial support to animal charities in the company’s state of New Hampshire, including the Conway Area Humane Society, Tin Mountain Conservation Center, and the Jen’s Friends Cancer Foundation. Rescues, shelters, service dog training centers, military working dog groups, search and rescue, prison dog programs, and other animal education centers across the U.S. have received hundreds of donated collars, harnesses and other LupinePet gear.
Perhaps the hardest part will be choosing which of the cute, creative colors and patterns is right for your cat’s unique personality. They offer solids, colorful prints, holiday-themed collars and even an eco-brand made of recycled plastic bottles.
Price at time of publish: $10-11
GoTags Personalized Engraved Reflective Breakaway Cat Collar
Removable color-coordinated bell
Relatively quick shipping
Some come off so easily they are often lost
Reflective strip wears off over time
“These collars check all the boxes that you should look for in breakaway cat collars,” notes Dr. Bonk. “First of all, they are breakaway and adjustable to ensure safety and a proper fit. They also have a reflective stripe, should your cat be out at night, and a bell to help alert you and wildlife to your cat’s whereabouts. They are also engraved with your cat’s name and phone number, which is better than having a removable tag to get tangled.”
Your text (up to 21 characters including spaces) will be permanently engraved on this reflective collar available in five solid colors. The durable yet soft, snag-proof nylon material and breakaway safety buckle are designed to keep your cat safe in case the collar gets caught.
Some customers have noted that when on the smallest adjusted size, some of the engraved characters may be obscured. GoTags also offers a similar, non-reflective embroidered collar of comparable quality, popularity and customer satisfaction, too.
Price at time of publish: $14
Extodry Reflective Adjustable Breakaway Collars
Twelve collars and two ID tags
Each includes a removable bell
Reflective 360 degrees
Comes off easily enough that you can expect to go through more than one
Reflective band wears off
These collars come as a 12-pack of 12 different high-visibility, solid colors so you and your cat can and coordinate your outfits. Each also has a reflective band that runs the full length of the collar and a color-coordinated bell to protect wildlife.
The cat-shaped breakaway collar buckle has rounded ears for your cat’s comfort. Two I.D. tag vessels can attach to the metal D-ring. They hold your contact information written on paper.
While less than a dollar each, the Extodry breakaway collars fall off reliably when too much pressure is put on them, but are otherwise sturdy nylon.
Price at time of publish: $8
Supakit Breakaway Leather Cat Collar
Ethically sourced genuine leather
Mailed in a tasteful reusable tin
Wish it also came in silver hardware
Whether you’re a traditionalist who loves the smell and durability or you’re choosing leather for its sophisticated style, you’ll appreciate this collar’s eight colors with gold metal accents and bell. Winner of Best Cat Collar in the Cosmopolitan Pet Awards, your cat will like the light weight and slender fit.
Supakit focused their design to reduce the risks of collar loss. The collar was designed to be soft and a sleek fit to optimize comfort and reduce the chance your cat will get snagged or try to pull it off. Their plastic breakaway buckle has just the right tension, lighter for kittens and small cats or a bit stronger for adventurous adults. You can also get the matching harness and leash.
You’ll feel good about your purchase too. Hand crafted in Spain and shipped from Columbus, Ohio, they also offer a cork collar, which has all of the benefits of leather, but is vegan and sustainable and a line of collars made from recycled plastic in three colors. For every order placed, they donate two meals to help the Blind Cat Rescue & Sanctuary.
Price at time of publish: $34-41
Pettsie Cotton Breakaway Cat Collar and Matching Friendship Bracelet
Soft 100% woven cotton
Makes a great gift
Only available in two colors
Does not include a bell
There are so many things to like about this breakaway cat collar, and not just because it comes with an adjustable matching friendship bracelet for you. The 100% woven cotton is beautiful and easy to wash.
Customers like that it is light weight, comfortable and durable. The collar is well stitched, and the flowers and green leaves are attractive and timeless. The plastic breakaway buckle has just the right tension, staying put until true force is applied.
This collar includes a waterproof silver metal barrel pendant that holds your contact information. It’s all packaged in a box appropriate for gifting.
Price at time of publish: $18-20
Rogz Catz Small Reflective Cat Collar
Includes color-coordinated bell
Not sized for kittens or smaller cats
Needs to be exposed to light to glow
If your cat loves to be outside from dusk ‘til dawn, you’ll want to ensure they’re wearing this collar that truly glows even in total darkness without a battery. Made from glow-in-the-dark materials and a break-away buckle that snaps open if the buckle feels too much strain, potentially saving your cat if their collar is caught on something during their explorations.
This is the only collar with three different breakaway settings in a single collar. Using an adjustable slider on the back of the buckle, the factory default is the lowest setting, best for cats from 6.6 to 11 pounds. It should be adjusted to your cat based on weight, with the medium setting for cats 11 to 19 pounds and the high setting for over 19 pounds.
Price at time of publish: $12-14
Taglory Reflective Breakaway Cat Collars
Great value for the money
Pleasant bell sound
Clasp is glued, not sewn
Reflective parts fade over time
Each collar in the pair is the same color, but one has a reflective strip while the other has reflective paw prints. Both have a removable color-coordinated bell that is just loud enough to give the birds a head’s up without being obnoxious.
Your cat's body weight is enough break it away, but it should not come off from just scratching. Customers like that he collar is lightweight and has no sharp edges of rough spots on the insides to chafe the cats neck. These collars are well made and easy to adjust.
Customers like that the bell let’s them know where their cat or kitten is while also protecting wildlife. The small size fits kittens particularly well.
Price at time of publish: $7
Best for Kittens
Made By Cleo Cat Collar
Optional free bell
Strong yet lightweight
Made in the United States
Options available through PetSmart are frequently out of stock
Not all brands will make a breakaway for kittens because their weight is so light. But Made By Cleo has mastered the balance. Unlike most of the other collars in this list, this one knows exactly how much force is needed for the collar to break away, in this case, about 11 pounds of tensile force.
This rainbow collar is a delight, but you can also choose from scores of other breakaways in colorful styles including velvet, holiday, plaids, poka dots and prints. Customers note the quality workmanship and materials of these collars that are shipped from Austin, Texas.
This collar is also available in non-breakaway options in sizes adult and extra large cat and tiny, mini and small dog sizes. You can choose flower corsages, matching bow ties, charms and decorative bells sold separately. They also offer optional beautiful yet practical engraved ID tags. Non-breakaway buckles cane upgraded to silver or gold metal.
Price at time of publish: $17
Joytale Plaid Bow Tie Breakaway Cat Collars
More than 14,000 positive amazon reviews
Good value for the money
Woven so can snag
There’s nothing like cotton flannel for softness and comfort and there’s nothing like plaid for sophisticated style. Available as a single collar or a pair, you can choose from 12 colors of plaid, including seven variations appropriate for the winter holidays and orange for Halloween. These well-rated collars include a plastic breakaway buckle. The removable bow is tied to the collar with an elastic loop.
Customers especially love the cuteness factor of a bow tie so these will make your holiday photos fun, memorable and selfie worthy.
Price at time of publish: $7-10
Our top pick is the LupinePet Safety Cat Collar because they come in 50+ colorful, quality designs with a lifetime guarantee from a company that gives back. For the holidays, choose from seven sophisticated Joytale Plaid Bow Tie Breakaway Cat Collars in tasteful plaids because they’re highly rated, flannel soft and affordable.
What to Look for in Breakaway Cat Collars
Fit is essential. “Make sure it fits your cat comfortably,” recommends Dr. Bonk. “Collars should be snug enough that you can slip two fingers underneath them. You don’t want them any tighter or looser. Measure your cat’s neck and get the corresponding size.”
Getting the fit right prevents the collar from fall off and get lost during play or causing discomfort or injury when too tight. In most cases, choose a collar that is made to be adjusted for length, often with a sliding buckle or with multiple punched holes to choose from.
Check the fit frequently, especially for kittens as they grow quickly in the early months of life. Glover recommends ensuring that you can fit two fingers between the collar and your cat when adjusting for length.
The majority of breakaway clasps are a buckle style, designed to pull apart with just the right amount of force. The best breakaway collars come off promptly when caught or snagged but stay on through typical grooming and regular daily activities.
There are a couple ways to make sure you get a collar with the right breakaway clasp for your cat. You can test them in person at your local pet store or stick to an online purchase that has lots of customer reviews confirming the quality and function of the breakaway clasp for a cat similar in size to your own.
Most are made of different types of flexible plastics. Most are mildly adjustable, meaning that if they come off too easily or with too much difficulty, the buckle prongs can be squeezed or spread by hand to adjust.
A handful have adjustable tension settings. Be sure to read the manufacturer’s instructions to get the breakaway function just right.
Cat collars are available in a wide range of materials, from woven cotton, hemp and wool to leather, faux leather, polyester, nylon and other synthetic options. Although too numerous to detail here, each has pros and cons when it comes to durability, flexibility, comfort, and adjustability.
“Avoid collars made of polypropylene webbing (a cheaper, inferior material used on a lot of imported cat collars),” says Leslie Gray Harmon, Founder and CEO of Made by Cleo, a U.S.-based pet collar and accessories brand specializing in the cat market. “A lightweight industrial grade nylon webbing base is going to last a lot longer and feel smoother on your cat’s neck.”
However, nylon webbing can fray, especially if your cat chews on it, or scratches at a collar. This could eventually alter the proper fit of the collar, so check your cat’s collar fit periodically.
For kittens and those still growing, a collar that’s easily washed and can be adjusted over a wide size range will have the longest life.
“Ideally, the collar you select is also washable as well—because even if cats know how to groom themselves, their collars don’t!” Harmon said.
Organic cotton and hemp are considered more sustainable for the environment than synthetic materials because they are natural materials that will fully biodegrade when the collar is used up. For some, leather and wool are not preferred because they are animal-based products.
What is a breakaway cat collar?
“A breakaway cat collar has a clasp that will unfasten if it’s pulled on,” Dr. Bonk told The Spruce Pets. “This means that should a cat get their collar hooked on a branch or stick, the collar will come undone and come off rather than choking them. Some other styles of safety collars for cats will have a section that is elastic with the idea that the whole collar will stretch when hooked so that a cat can slip out. To me, the breakaway collars have a better chance of coming off than other types of safety collars.”
How does a breakaway cat collar work?
“Breakaway collars have a special clasp that will hold together with regular wear and tear but will come apart when it is pulled or tugged with extra force,” says Dr. Bonk. “This means that if your cat gets their collar hooked on something, either outside or inside, they can pull on the collar and unfasten it so that they will be set free.”
Do cats need a breakaway collar?
“If your cat is going to wear a collar, whether for ID purposes or to have a bell, it should be a breakaway collar. Even if you never expect your cat to go outside, a breakaway collar is a good idea because some cats are wily and may break the rules and sneak outside,” says Dr. Bonk. “Wearing a collar is a great idea for indoor or outdoor cats because you can attach current ID information to help them get back home should they ever become lost.”
Are breakaway cat collars safe?
“Breakaway collars are the safest option of collar for cats to wear,” says Dr. Bonk. “One of the most common dangers associated with cats wearing collars is that the collar will get hooked on something and either choke the cat or trap them somewhere they won’t be found. A breakaway collar will come off when pulled on so that cats won’t choke and are able to get away when needed.”
Why Trust the Spruce Pets?
This piece was written by Lorraine Wilde who has had at least two cat and two dog companions in her home for the past 35 years. Two of her cats lived happily and healthily into their early 20s. She’s been buying collars for decades.
When researching these brands, Lorraine evaluated the type and quality of each product, customer and expert reviews, the company’s research and development, and their business ethics.
Lorraine also holds a Bachelor’s degree in biology and a Master’s degree in environmental science. She’s a firm believer that consumers can make healthy, informed and environmentally conscious choices that protect their pets and our planet.
Dr. Chyrle Bonk graduated from Oregon State University in 2010 with a Doctorate in Veterinary Medicine (DVM). She has practiced as a licensed veterinarian for Clearwater Valley Veterinary Clinic in Orofino, Idaho for over 10 years. In addition to treating pets and writing for various veterinary websites, including Senior Tail Waggers and Cat World, Dr. Bonk also owns several dogs, cats and a small cattle herd.
Leslie Gray Harmon is the Founder and CEO of Made by Cleo, a U.S.-based pet collar and accessories brand specializing in the cat market. Made By Cleo products have been proudly made in the USA since 2012 with a focus on quality materials and construction, fresh designs and lasting durability.