Mechanophores (mechanoresponsive molecules) offer great promises for the development of smart force-responsive materials. The activity of a mechanophore can be tuned by altering its structure or the composition of the actuating polymer. Here we show that a catenane can act as a mechanical protecting group by diverting tensional forces away from a mechanically active functional group embedded in one of its rings. This property emerges from the mobility of the two rings of the catenane, which are able to rotate along each other until the tension equalizes over the entirety of the catenated framework. This approach provides a new way to control the mechanical activity of a mechanophore.