I was on Facebook and saw this image, and I'm wondering if the statement is true or not. From Google translator:

Collar with a bell? Better not use!

Your kitten has rattle on a leash? Due to the sensitive hearing, it can be stressed with the constant noise. We will help you to live safe and comfortable? Get rid of the bell!

My question is, is it true it harms cats to use this kind of item? I have bells on my cats so I can know where they are.

Image of a kitten wearing a collar with the caption "Coleira com guizo? Melhor nao usar!" and a Whiskas logo

  • I seriously doubt that this is actually a Whiskas ad. It looks much more like someone stealing their logo for use in a meme, to try to make it appear more legitimate
    – keshlam
    Nov 19, 2016 at 21:40
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    Its really whiskas ad from my country, Brazil, got it on their facebook official page.
    – fsi
    Nov 21, 2016 at 10:20
  • Cats have very sensitive hearing and even though are predators, are also prey and so share some of that mind set of wanting to hide a lot, so I'd say the bell COULD be stressful as it inhibits their ability to effectively hide as well as making it harder to hear those predators coming up to get them. But if your cats are all indoors and had the bells since kittens and so are used to it, I'd say its probably fine.
    – user25771
    Jul 8, 2023 at 19:01

3 Answers 3


No, a cat won't be stressed with a bell. However that being said if your cat is outdoors I wouldn't put one on mostly because if it's trying to hide from a predator it will be much more difficult. On the bright side your cat won't be killing our wildlife either (point is keep kitties indoors or in an outdoor cat pen where they cannot harm or be harmed).

If you're worried about your cat escaping and getting lost, microchip! Kitties can become snagged in things if they have a collar on, if they have the quick release well then a tag would be useless as it could be lost.

  • 1
    A cat may be annoyed by a bell that interferes with its hunting... Though many cats learn how to hunt despite the bell. Personally, I would say that if you can't accept that your cat wants to hunt, you might not want to let it outside -- cats can live long, happy, and healthy lives without the risks of leaving the house.
    – keshlam
    Oct 21, 2016 at 1:20

It might depend on the cat.

Cats have very diverse characters so it is impossible to know the response of individual cats. Moreover, it also depends on the individual collar and bell.

There are signs you can look if your cat is disturbed.

  • A disturbed cat will not let you re-attach the collar. If he keeps relatively still while you are re-attaching it, it means he doesn't mind the collar and the bell.

  • A disturbed cat will make weird noises. Gagging sounds, weird and usually high pitched meowing may be signs of distress in cats.

  • A disturbed cat may start panting. Panting is a sign of extreme stress. If your cat starts panting when the collar is attached, you have to remove it right away.

This list is in no way comprehensive. Just look for signs that your cat would not normally do when he is content. Cats are complicated creatures and they all show their love or distress differently.

One more thing, bells are necessary to keep the wildlife safe. In my opinion cat companions have a responsibility to protect the wildlife. So, if you have a wandering cat, you can attach the collar and the bell whenever your cat wanders out of your house.

Collar and a nametag may help you more in case your cat is lost. Also, you have to microchip your cat. If he is lost, any vet can contact you. Bells themselves will tell you when your cat is around but they will not help if your cat is lost.

My cat has collar, bell, nametag and microchip. Whenever I re-attach the collar, he stays very still, stiller than any cat I have ever seen.

  • Uh... afaik bells have only very limited success when it comes to protecting birds.
    – Stephie
    Oct 9, 2020 at 20:52
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    @Stephie The acclaimed success rate by manufacturers is 23% for all wildlife and 40% for birds. Obviously birds have better hearing than mice and rats. Also, you can increase the number of bells if a single bell is not enough. Prior to his bell and nametag (together they rattle better than just bells), Sonny hunted down five mice and three birds that I know in three months. After the bell and nametag, he didn't have any successful hunt in three months.
    – ck1987pd
    Oct 10, 2020 at 5:02
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    Many cats learn to adapt quickly and hunt successfully again despite the bell within a short time frame. One such specialist lives next door. I can always tell where she is, yet she brings home a lot of birds. There are studies that suggest bells can be counter-productive with fledglings, which usually would hide motionless and are promoted to attempt to flee by the bells and then catch the cats’ attention. I am not saying “don’t use a bell”, just that the efficiency is often overestimated. And your answer about comfort or discomfort is fine.
    – Stephie
    Oct 10, 2020 at 5:14
  • @C.Koca Actually, I am pretty sure mice and rats have better hearing than birds. Even humans at the height of our hearing have a larger frequency range than birds. The price we mammals pay is any hearing loss we incur is permanent and does not heal.
    – DKNguyen
    Jul 14, 2023 at 0:41

Many belled cats learn to silence the bells, adapting their stance or hunting styles.

A cat collar should be loose enough that the cat can slip out of it should it get caught on a branch. Some cats might simply shed the collar and bell before hunting.

I don't think a bell will harm the cat, but I'm not convinced it's helpful.

If you don't want to accept that cats see small animals as animated toys with the bonus of being made out of meat, keep the cat enclosed, indoors and/or in a screened "catio". Or choose another pet.

  • I've even had a cat "silence" her bell by somehow crushing it to prevent it from making noise anymore. If a cat doesn't want to have a bell ringing when they move, they'll find a way to stop it.
    – Allison C
    Jul 11, 2023 at 14:05

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