How Safe Is a Cat Shock Collar?

Cat shock collars are not safe. Shock collars are outlawed in most of Europe and Australia because there are more effective ways to reduce problem behaviors in cats.

Physical Danger

Cats are more agile and active than dogs, which makes collars in general less safe when unsupervised. Cats like to climb, jump and wiggle into small places, which increases the risk that the collar will get stuck on something and choke the cat. If the cat is allowed outdoors, a collar can be especially life threatening.

In addition, most shock collars are designed for dogs. Even small dog shock collars use the same levels of shock that large dog collars do, just with a smaller sized collar. Imagine administering your cat with a jolt designed to be felt by a mastiff. Besides causing fear and pain, this might cause your cat to go into shock.

Emotional Danger

Cats can also be more sensitive and skittish than dogs, which means that a shock collar could cause irreparable damage to your cat's psyche. We don't understand exactly how animal's brains make connections, so your cat could make a connection between the shock and an unrelated item.

For example, if your cat walks near the door and gets shocked, he might associate it with the smell of something you're eating, the other household pet or even with a family member. This could create fear, or even aggression, toward the item that the cat deems scary.

If your cat can't determine the cause, it could cause a variety of health disorders that could be caused or made worse by stress. Chronic stress raises blood pressure and is taxing on the immune system, thus making your cat susceptible to many illnesses. It also greatly decreases your cat's quality of life.

Even high quality systems often malfunction, so if you aren't home, your cat could be shocked for minutes or hours with no cause, or he could be shocked at random, causing further problems and even death.

Danger of Common Uses

The most common use of shock collars on cats seems to be preventing them from running out of the house. The biggest danger with this is that these systems often malfunction. This could lead to your cat being able to run out but then get shocked when trying to cross the boundary to come back in.

If your cat is determined to get out, he might brave the shock to run out after prey and then be frightened by the shock, sending him to run off and hide somewhere outside where he can't be found.

Shock collars are often also used to solve a behavior problem such as playing rough with another cat. However, the pain caused by the shock could be attributed to the other cat, which could make the problem worse and cause the cat to get much more aggressive in hopes of stopping the pain by keeping other things away.

There are better ways to solve a problem than a shock collar. Creative solutions can be found that will solve the problem without the use of pain.