When I was a kid, I never saw a cat with a collar. It just wasn’t a thing. After all, cats were wild and free, and maybe it didn’t occur to anyone that cats could benefit from wearing “necklaces.” But according to a 2010 study, most cats take quite well to wearing collars. Here are three reasons why it’s important to put a collar on your cat.
1. It can reunite you and your cat
No matter how vigilant you are, there’s a good chance that your cat will find herself outside at some point. Even if your cat is microchipped, it’s a good idea for your kitty to wear a collar. Most people don’t have microchip scanners handy, and a collar immediately says, “This cat has a home.” If you put a tag with your phone number on your cat’s collar, it will greatly increase the chances you’ll be reunited with her if she gets lost.
2. It helps you to tell identical-looking cats apart
You may think I’m joking, but I’m not. After living with a pair of black-kitty sisters for years, I can tell you that it’s very helpful to know who you’re talking to. In addition, if one of your identical-looking cats is having strange health symptoms, you’ll be able to tell who it is at just a glance and get the right kitty to the vet. Even if you can easily tell your twin kitties apart, collars will help your cat sitter or other temporary caretaker to know who’s who.
3. It can serve as a kitty medical-alert bracelet
When I got a tag for my baby Bella’s collar, I had the pet store inscribe the word “Diabetic” on the back, along with my phone number. If your cat has a chronic illness, I strongly suggest you do the same. If your cat gets out and a neighbor, good Samaritan, or animal-control official finds your cat, he’ll know that your cat needs special veterinary care. (As a bonus, most people who find friendly cats and want to take them in without knowing their history will be hesitant to take on a cat with an illness, so the odds you’ll get your furry friend back rise quite a bit!)
There are many types of collars available, but I strongly recommend the quick-release type. If your cat gets hung up on something, either while playing indoors or while lost outside, a reasonable amount of pressure will cause the collar to come apart and prevent injury or death. Even if your cat loses her collar outdoors, just finding it on the ground will give you a clue as to her whereabouts.
Adjust your cat’s collar so that you can slip two fingers between the collar and her neck. Any larger and she’ll be able to pluck it off or slip out of it; any smaller and it may cause rubbing and irritation. If you’re thinking about getting your furry friend a necklace, Dr. Karen Becker has some great tips on selecting a collar and getting a cat used to wearing it.
Does your cat wear a collar? Has it made a difference in your cat’s life? Please share in the comments!