Reverse engineering a cat collar cover
February 12, 2021 4:35 PM   Subscribe

We are beginning to spend a small fortune on oversized cat collars from places like to stop our cat from killing birds and for him to be more visible when he is outside. I'd like to start making something at home that accomplishes the same thing because every month or so he will lose his collar somewhere (we can't find them and no one has returned them). Cat tax.

I have no real sewing skill (my wife has some, though). I definitely want to make sure to include a something highly reflective lining the fabric. I feel like they seem simple enough to emulate, but I certainly could be missing something. But I would like to make something nicer than cutting a hole in a sock and putting reflective tape on it...

For what it is worth, the collars really do seem to make a difference in his bird hunting numbers, and he doesn't seem to mind wearing it at all.
posted by Corduroy to Clothing, Beauty, & Fashion (10 answers total) 4 users marked this as a favorite
The FAQ says it’s a 20” tube that is 2” wide, so 4” plus seam allowance, with an owner-supplied breakaway collar inside. Seriously, you can hand sew this. The hardest part might be sourcing the fabric because it has to be a combination bright enough to be visible to birds (according to them).

I’d be leery of reflective tape (hair...ouch). Fluorescent acrylic/fabric paint might work on an old sheet.

But I want to ask, are bells not a thing anymore?
posted by TWinbrook8 at 5:26 PM on February 12, 2021 [4 favorites]

It looks like a large "scrunchie" which is just a large tube of fabric that is sewn to be a donut.Random tutorial. You can get reflective fabric or reflective piping from Seattle Outdoor Fabrics or etsy. Buy dollar store cat breakaway cat collars and you are set!
posted by tipsyBumblebee at 5:28 PM on February 12, 2021 [2 favorites]

As above, the collar is definitely just a big tube with a breakaway collar inside. You can absolutely sew this. (Also, I think the clown collar for bird killers is hilarious!)

There are many options for reflective fabric. I would advise not using sequins or anything heavy like that, but your typical reflective bike jersey material is available. You can also get 3M reflective tape to sew on. I have added reflective tape to backpacks and such and it sticks very well if you round the edges.
posted by blnkfrnk at 5:43 PM on February 12, 2021 [2 favorites]

Best answer: Kids’ tutorial for hand sewing this type of collar. Looks to be very easy to me and I’m not a sewist.

are bells not a thing anymore?

According to research, these types of cat collar covers are extremely effective. Bells do work too, but some cats actually learn how to silence the bells! I’ve had cats and they are pretty sneaky, so I can well believe that...
posted by hurdy gurdy girl at 5:53 PM on February 12, 2021 [1 favorite]

Popping back in to say, after seeing the photo of your cat, you can certainly make the width wider to be more visible.
posted by TWinbrook8 at 7:16 PM on February 12, 2021 [2 favorites]

Is humor allowed in an askme? Anyways, handsewing is easy, just remember to tie a good knot at the end. If you have a sewing machine, use a lock stitch, not a chain stitch.

After looking at the photo, any racoons, dogs, cattle, reported missing in your area? :)

(I used to work at Seattle Tarp, industrial sewing and welding).
posted by baegucb at 7:27 PM on February 12, 2021 [3 favorites]

My cats always have bells on their colors and they are death on four legs. Great when they find a nest of rats, not so much when they pick off the finches next door.
posted by purenitrous at 7:27 PM on February 12, 2021

Response by poster: Thank you everyone! I'm excited to try this. As has been astutely pointed out here, he is a big boy with long hair, so an added bonus is being able to make a bigger, brighter collar that is more visible and, hopefully, more clown-like.
posted by Corduroy at 8:02 PM on February 12, 2021 [3 favorites]

If I were going to do this, I would try to get reflective piping. I looked at the website and they use piping to make the fabric stand out, not get scrunched up; since you want reflection, that's as good a way as any to add it.
posted by Too-Ticky at 2:35 AM on February 13, 2021 [3 favorites]

I think you should also add bells to the piping on the outside, like a jester's collar. Your cat will hate me, but I find the idea hilarious.

The actual sewing looks easy enough, but would go significantly faster with a sewing machine, if you can borrow one or have a good friend.
posted by stillnocturnal at 9:00 AM on February 13, 2021 [2 favorites]

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