Is putting a bell on a cat cruel?

If your cat seems anxious and annoied by the bell, you should probably remove it and replace it with a name tag. If your cat does not react at all it is not cruel to put a bell on it.

Does your furry feline bring you dead animals? Although this common feline behavior is kind of yucky, it is also kind of endearing since your cat is giving you what he believes to be a good gift. However, despite your cat’s generous intentions, hunting by cats is affecting the wildlife and pushing some animals to extinction. The best solution you should consider to keep your furry pal from catching wildlife is to keep your cat inside your home or to attach a bell or other deterrent to his collar.

Taking a closer look at the possible options

Of course, the most convenient method to prevent your kitty from killing rodents and birds is to keep him indoors all the time. In your home’s safety, the exposure of your cat to prey animals would be limited to any mice that may happen to get inside your home. If you are not willing to curb the wanderlust of your kitty, then the alternative is to attach a deterrent, like a bell, to his collar to alert wildlife of his approach. But the question is, is this an effective and safe option?

The advantages and disadvantages of cat bells

A number of researchers have studied at whether or not cat bells help prey escape from felines, and the general result is yes! Collar bells for cats help reduce caught prey by about half that could be enough to minimize threats to our ecosystem.

Effectiveness aside, most cat parents worry that this method will hurt or annoy their cats. According to experts, the sound produced by the collar bells won’t cause anxiety to cause and it’s likely that most cats simply won’t care. 

Aside from that, some cat owners also worry that a bell attached to their cats would possibly alert large predators. While it is possible, given the fact that most bigger predators have acute hearing, it is unlikely that the bell’s quiet noise would make a difference between a feline getting detected or not. Also, if you’re living in a location where your feline friend is at a higher risk of being attacked by big animals, the best solution is to keep your cat indoors or supervise his outdoor activities. Make sure he doesn’t go outside all by himself.

Bell alternatives

If you are not willing to put a bell collar on your cat, you still have cat bibs as another option. These bibs are brightly colored in order to alert potential prey to your kitty’s presence before they can pounce. And while your cat may look a bit silly when he’s wearing a brightly colored rainbow bib, the scientific explanation on these products show that they reduce the rates of predation by roughly by closely the same amount as bell collars.

If your cat likes to venture outdoors, most especially if you’re living in a place with many endangered species, you can do your part to help wildlife conservation efforts through outfitting your cat with an anti-hunting device. 

Common questions about putting a bell on your cat

Should cats have bells on their collars?

In a household with multiple cats, if one cat bullies the others, the bell attached on his collar could help alert meeker kitties that he is coming and give them enough time to leave the spot as well as get away from him. Also, when your cat goes outdoors, putting a bell on his collar can warn wildlife, most especially birds, that there’s a predator around.

Does a bell bother a cat?

Some cats find bells stressful or annoying. Bells on your cat’s collar can create annoying, repetitive noises for your cat. However, most cats do not react to it and not get bothered at all. But if your kitty has anxiety, it might not be a great idea to put a bell on him or you may want to consult your vet before doing so to assess how it can affect your cat’s behavior.

Do cats eat birds or just kill them?

Cats prefer rodents and mice but will also eat birds if there’s food scarcity. Sometimes, cats also hunt birds just to hone their instinct as a predator. For cats, a bird is just an instinctual prey, both domesticated and wild. Cats are basically serial kills and would kill birds primarily for food or just for fun. 


Deciding to whether or not put a bell on the collar of your cat is actually a decision that needs some consideration and it’s ultimately up to you as a cat parent. Along with your cat, it is only you who can choose what is best for your cat.

There’s really no clear resolution in terms of putting a bell on your cat’s collar. Thus, making an intelligent and informed decision basing on the specific situation of your cat is the most important thing you can do for your furry feline.

cat with bell.

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