Shock Collars for Cats: Are They Actually Safe?
As much as we love our furry friends, they sure know how to push our buttons, and can at times be a real pain inside and outside the house.
From their irritating mood swings to their constant urge to explore every corner and hideout in the house, cats can bring trouble when you least expect it.
An often-debatable method of modifying your cat`s behavior is the use of the shock collars for cats and invisible fences for cats . Most pet owners tend to argue whether these devices are safe, and their effectiveness in setting boundaries inside and outside your home for your felines.
What We Think About Cat Shock Collars
Personally here at ThePetly.com we don’t recommend the use of cat shock collars due to the potential side effects of injury to your cat, or the possibility of changing your cat’s personality due to painful negative reinforcement.
We think there are better ways to control your cats behavior that doesn’t involve shocking them.
If you believe this is the only way for you after trying other methods then we encourage you to choose a model that has a ‘buzz’ vibration mode, and to try that first.
We’ve listed some available models below, however if you are interested in less-intense methods of cat behavior control, then keep reading to see some alternative methods.
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What to Consider when Buying Cat Shock Collars
When looking to buy the best shock collar for cats, there are certain things you should consider to ensure the safety of your cat. They include:
Control The Level Of Electric Shock
Some shock collars have high levels of electric shock that may traumatize, injure and even cause death to your furry baby if you have no control over the level of shock.
Look for shock collars with the option of low to mild electric shocks that will not harm your cat, and that you will be able to control, as well as switch on and off whenever possible.
Two Or More Forms Of Training
When buying shock collars, go for brands that have more than one training form such as vibration, warning beep, and electric shock.
This means that you can use the vibration or beep sound to warn the cat before activating the electric shock option.
If the cat learns to observe the beep and vibration warnings, you won’t have to activate the electric shock to scare your cat.
Comfortable On The Cat’s Neck
Another thing that cat owners should consider when buying a shock collar is the comfort of the device on the cat’s neck.
You should go for a collar that fits the cat’s neck comfortably and that the cat can wear longer term without getting injured or choked.
It should also be lightweight to make it easy for the cat to carry around.
Specifically Made For Cats
Some pet owners who have both dogs and cats at home may be tempted to use shock collars meant for dogs on their cats, and this is wrong.
Dogs are generally larger and stronger than cats and can withstand higher levels of shock.
Cat Behavior Control Ideas (Non Shock Collar)
As I stated earlier, I don’t like the idea of putting shock collars on cats, and personally I’ve never resorted to putting them on my kitties – I love them too much for that! (hopefully you do too).
So what other options are available for controlling undesired behaviors of your all-so-innocent looking cat?
1. Use a Simple Water Spray Bottle
Yes it can be that simple, just use a hand-held spray bottle with plain water and give your cat a spritz of water when they are somewhere you don’t want them to be, or doing something you find undesirable.
Some pet owners like to make their own sprays instead of using plain water, but regardless of what you use, this is an economical and often very effective method of letting little fluffball know that your not happy with a particular behavior.
2. Use A Cat Deterrent Spray
There are a few commercially available types of sprays that contain non-harmful substances.
Retail versions contain substances like pheromones, essential oils, or harmless water-based proprietary blends.
They can be manually operated cat deterrent sprays for furniture and counters, or cat deterrent motion sensor types that can be left anywhere.
See some options below.
PetSafe SSSCAT Spray Pet Deterrent, Motion Activated Pet Proofing Repellent for Cats and Dogs, Environmentally Friendly.
This is gas propelled, and is motion activated to catch kitty out when you’re not there!
3-in-1 Cat & Kitten Training Aid with Bitter | 8 oz Cat Repellent Spray for Indoor and Outdoor Use | Anti Scratch Furniture Protector | Establish Boundaries & Keep Cat Off.
This is hand operated – so you’ll need to spray it on surfaces or items that you want to keep your cat away from.
Customers seem 50-50 on this one though, it might work for your pet depending on their adversion to bitter tasting things.
3. Cat Essential Oil Diffusers
These are an extremely popular choice for pet owners.
If your cat is exhibiting anxious, aggressive, or unusual behavior, then you could try using essential oil diffusers to emit calming scents, and many pet owners rate these highly.
Sometimes cats with antisocial behavior toward other cats can be calmed with this method, and over time alter their behavior.
Relaxivet Natural Cat Calming Pheromone Diffuser Kit – Improved No-Stress Formula – Anti-Anxiety Treatment for Cats and Dogs with a Long-Lasting Calming Effect.
This plugs into a wall outlet to emit the scent through the general area.
This is also available in a collar form: Relaxivet Calming Pheromone Collar for Cats and Small Dogs – Reduces Anxiety Your Pets
4. Garden Cat Repellents
After all that work in the garden kitty just shows no respect, and just loves digging up all that mulch to use as a litter tray.
In this case you’re probably trying to keep neighborhood cats away as much as your own.
There are a few methods that have been said to work such as regularly sprinkling cayene pepper around, using small spikey pine cones, and using gravel or river rocks to prevent them digging.
There are also a few varieties of plants that cats generally avoid such as Marigolds, Lavender, Curry Plant, and Geranium. Try planting them in areas you want cats to avoid.
You can also place chicken wire on the garden bed, as plants grow through it easily, but cats cannot dig through it.
5. Ultrasonic Cat Deterrents
An effective way to stop cats digging in your garden is to place a motion sensor ultrasonic device in there.
These devices can scare away cats in the area you place them, and causes no harm.
These devices are great low-cost value, and work when you’re not there. A bonus is that they will keep other small animals out of your garden too.
PETBROO Dog Cat Repellent, 2020 Ultrasonic Pest Repellent with Motion Sensor and Flashing Lights Outdoor Solar Powered Waterproof Farm Garden Yard Repellent, Cats, Dogs, Fox.
Clever sprouts Dog Cat Repellent, Ultrasonic Animal Repellent with Motion Sensor and Flashing Lights Outdoor Solar Powered Waterproof Farm Garden Yard Repellent, Cats, Dogs, Foxes, Birds, Skunks, Rodents.
PREDATORGUARD PestAway Ultrasonic Outdoor Animal & Cat Repeller with Motion Sensor Stops Pest Animals Destroying Your Gardens & Yard.
6. Read A Book About Pet Behavior
Bet you didn’t expect this recommendation!
Yes, sometimes your own knowledge can lead you to find the best solution for your wayward kitty’s behavior.
Check out this popular title written by a qualified vet for National Geographic:
National Geographic Complete Guide to Pet Health, Behavior, and Happiness: The Veterinarian’s Approach to At-Home Animal Care
So there are quite a few options to control your cats behaviour without needing to resort to a shock collar.
Are Cat Shock Collars Safe for Cats?
While there are different views on the safety of shock collars for cats, most cat owners prefer using these gadgets on problematic pets only.
Arguments for Using Cat Shock Collars
One of the reasons for using cat shock collars is to protect cats from danger.
Cats that have been used to indoor life and then taken outside the house may get scared and attempt to run to the nearest bush to hide.
This exposes them to the risk of being injured or killed by predators like your neighbors large imposing dog.
Using cat shock collars can warn the cat from going too far from the house, and exposing them to danger.
When the beep sound or mild shock is released, the cat is warned to return to their normal area where safety is guaranteed.
Cat shock collars can be used by cat owners as a training aid for cats that are difficult to train, however most cats are trainable and can understand the meaning of “Yes” and “No” when doing something wrong. They respond very well to the tone of voice you use.
However, some notorious cats may have difficulties understanding verbal warnings and hand signals and will continue to engage in bad behaviors in your presence.
In such cases, a cat shock collar can be used as a last-resort training aid, but with precaution not to injure your cat.
As discussed earlier in this post, there are many other methods you could try first.
Another argument that cat owners present for using shock collars is to prevent the cat from getting to certain areas of the house such as furniture, fridge, and kitchen.
This mostly happens when the cat has become a frequent visitor to these areas and causes damage after every visit.
Using shock collars should be the last resort when other methods of modifying behaviors fail to work.
Arguments Against Shock Collars for Cats
Opponents of shock collars have various good reasons for objecting to the use of these gadgets.
One of these reasons is that cats learn more through positive reinforcement training techniques and less through punishment.
This means that the cat will have a difficult time learning why they are being punished, often reward for good behaviour is more effective.
Instead, cat parents should discourage bad behaviors by motivating the cat into learning good behavior and getting treats and verbal praises as a reward.
Another argument against shock collars is that they can affect the nervous and cardiovascular system of your pets.
Shock collars work by producing electric shocks to scare away your pet.
However, some collars may produce strong electric shocks that cats and small dogs cannot withstand, and this will affect their nervous system.
Continuous exposure to such strong shocks can injure the pet, and affect their normal bodily functions.
Lastly, using cat shock collars can expose your cat to extreme danger, especially when the cat owner is not experienced in using the gadget.
Hurting the cat over and over again can make the cat intolerant and aggressive to their human owner.
Using dog shock collars with cats exposes them to a high risk of being injured, or even death. When shopping for a shock collar for cats, only buy shock collars that are specifically designed and manufactured for cats.
Electric Cat Shock Collar Reviews
1. PetSafe Paws Away Pet Barrier
It teaches your cat to avoid areas inside your house like the counters, trash cans, furniture, and virtually any area in your house that you want to protect.
The collar comes with an adjustable range of 2-12 feet in diameter from the transmitter, once your cat reaches the pre-set maximum range, the collar releases a mild shock and beeping sound.
This sensation catches their attention and limits further movement.
What many pet owners like about this collar is that it comes with different static corrections, which allow you to experiment with your cat during training and see how it responds to each level.
This shock collar for cats also features an automatic shutoff of the static correction after 15 seconds. The shut-off feature ensures that it prevents injury that may occur due to prolonged exposure.
As a bonus, the collar comes with 2 batteries, but you will have to purchase 3 AA batteries for the transmitter.
- Lightweight collar
- Safe and comfortable for cats.
- Adjustable range of 2-10 feet in diameter.
- Automatic shut-off of the static corrections.
- Batteries purchased separately.
- No vibration mode, static shock only.
2. PetSafe Indoor Cat Barrier (Adjustable to 2 to 10 feet)
PetSafe Wireless Indoor Cat Barrier is a lightweight, durable and easy to set up cat collar that will limit your cat movement and restrict them from accessing forbidden places.
With this collar, you only need to place the small, disk-shaped transmitter near the place you want to protect. Then, you can set the adjustable range from as little as 2 feet to a maximum of 10 feet.
And when your pet wanders to the pre-set range, the receiver will beep, and when he continues to move towards the protected area, the collar releases a mild shock.
The good thing with this collar is that it features up to four levels of static correction, meaning you can increase or decrease the intensity of the shock to meet your cat`s training needs.
The best part of this corrector is that it`s versatile at the very least and can be used on multiple locations and even on more than one cat, though you will need an additional receiver/transmitter.
This cat shock collar is lightweight and waterproof, with a safety stretch section, and this means you do not have to worry about the collar getting destroyed by water.
Other auxiliary features on the collar you are going to like include the inclusion of an owner’s manuals, and the PetSafe RFA-188 batteries.
- A lightweight shock collar.
- Durable material that will last for long.
- Adjustable range.
- Waterproof receiver collar.
- Has warning sound alert.
- It is expensive.
- No vibration mode.
3. PetSafe Stay and Play Fence Receiver Collar
The PetSafe Stay and Play receiver collar works with the PetSafe Wireless Pet Containment System to keep your pets away from danger.
The good thing with this collar is that you can add all your pets to the system with an additional receiver.
This fence receiver collar works by creating a circular boundary (22 to 105 feet) in which you want to contain your pets.
The transmitter is set at the center of the pet play area and plugged into an electrical outlet for it to work. This allows it to send a constant radio signal in the circular boundary.
If your cat veers off the pet area, they receive a warning beep from the collar. If they still continue exiting the boundary area, the transmitter produces a static correction to warn her to return to the pet area.
PetSafe Stay and Play fence receiver collar offers five safe static corrections and a tone-only option.
It starts by producing a warning tone and releases the static corrections when the cat does not heed the first warning. It comes with a built-in rechargeable battery attached to the receiver.
Apart from using it a home, this fence receiver collar can be used at the recreation park, in the RV and even when you are on vacation with your pets.
- Two training methods: tone-only and static corrections.
- Waterproof cat shock collar.
- Covers a large area (22-105 feet circular boundary).
- Rechargeable battery.
- Small ergonomically designed cat collar.
- Great for hard-to-train pets.
- It is expensive.
4. PetSafe In-Ground Cat Fence
The PetSafe In-Ground Cat Fence covers up to 1/3 of an acre and can be expanded to cover 25 acres using additional wires and lags.
It comes with 4 levels of static intensity adjustment for the perfect training regime. This level allows you to set the ideal intensity according to your cat`s training needs.
This PetSafe cat fence provides your cat with the freedom of getting outside but within the pre-set boundaries you customize.
The tool uses a radio signal, which is transmitted through a buried wire.
The buried wire marks the boundaries you wish to set for your cat. The fence is sealed and waterproof, and there is no risk of electrocution.
Your cat wears a collar with contact points on the neck, and when they approach the boundary, the receiver detects signals at the boundary and issues a warning tone through a beep. If your cat proceeds further, the collar transmits a startling but safe static correction.
Though harmless, it dissuades your cat from making any further movements and encourages her to stay within the established location.
The shock receiver collar can fit cats with neck sizes from 6 to 11.5 inches.
It also comes with a stretch section to prevent choking. The collar is adjustable according to the cat’s temperament i.e. tone-only warning and 4 shock levels. It uses a replaceable battery.
- Adjustable collar to fit 6 to 11 ½ inches.
- Low battery indicator.
- Two forms of training: tone-only and static corrections.
- Collar strap has a stretch section for cat’s safety.
- Replacement batteries purchased separately.
5. Aetertek AT-211 Rechargeable Shock Collar (Large cats only)
Aetertek AT-211 cat shock collar is a handy shock collar that is small but effective to use with small pets such as cats weighing between 8 lbs. to 50 lbs. It is lightweight, and it is comfortable for cats to wear on their necks.
This shock collar offers three training methods i.e. electric shock, vibration, and a beeping sound.
This means that pet parents can use the vibration and beeping sound first to scare off their pets to prevent them from going to unwanted areas, or when they are not restrained using a cat harness no-escape.
The electric shock has 9 levels of progressive shock and can be used when the other two training methods don’t seem to work, or when your cat is already used to them.
Most owners are satisfied with the first two training methods and rarely use the electric shock method.
One of the things that cat owners like about this shock collar for cats is the rechargeable batteries.
Both the receiver and the remote control operate using rechargeable batteries and this means that it saves you the cost you would have incurred to purchase new batteries.
The only disadvantage with this is that the batteries lose charge fast, and may need to be recharged after every one to two days.
- Designed for small pets.
- Rechargeable batteries.
- Rechargeable batteries.
- Comes with a remote control for easy operation.
- Three training methods: vibration, warning beep, and static corrections.
- Batteries require to be to be recharged quite often (one to two days).
Shock collars can be used as a training aid for notoriously difficult cats, and are used to correct their behavior.
Even though the idea of using shock collars for cats is debatable, we advise owners to use these devices only when absolutely necessary, and when all other methods such as verbal praises, rewards, and non-harmful deterrents fail to modify bad behavior.
Quite often a simple spray bottle with water is enough deterrent to stop your kitty doing something you don’t like, such as scratching your expensive furniture or jumping up onto the dining table.
If you feel you must look for a shock collar, go for a collar that is lightweight, comfortable, has several training forms (especially vibration, and sound modes) and are specially manufactured for cats.