Walk into any pet store and you can’t miss the hundreds of cat collars on display.  They come in every color and with a wide variety of cool prints, sequins, and bows.  Most include breakaway latches and little bells that don’t really scare away birds. Many are reflective or have glow in the dark designs. Curiously, many of the cat owners I encounter don’t buy a collar for their furry friend. They site perfectly logical reasons. But do the risks outweigh the rewards of putting a collar on your cat?

My Cat Won’t Wear a Collar

So your cat is finicky and your are convinced that if you put a collar around his neck he will balk. You have come to the irrefutable conclusion that your cat simply does not need to wear a collar. It is true that cats are temperamental creatures.  It is also true, that like most of us, cats are willing to accept new things when introduced to them with patience and persistence. Dr. Linda Lord of Ohio State University published a 2010 study in the American Veterinary Medical Association, about the effectiveness of collars for identification purposes.  She found that 3 out of 4 cats easily tolerated a cat collar for the duration of her six month study. After the study period, 90% of cat owners decided to keep the collars on their cats.

My Cat Stays Inside & Doesn’t Need a Collar

Even a cat that lives indoors may have her curiosity peaked by a suddenly open door or window and slip outside for a mini adventure.  Once outside, that indoor cat will be very interested about this new world until something spooks her and then she will run to the nearest hiding spot and stay there.  Her primal fear instinct will cause her to ignore you when you call out her name. According to the ASPCA, 3.4 million cats make it to shelters, but less than 5% of these cats make it back to their families. Which means that if your cat escapes the safety of her home and does not have a collar and ID tag, it is nearly impossible to connect that lost cat with you, her owner.

My Cat Will Hang Himself With a Collar

Cats love to jump up onto fences, hide under bushes and climb trees, so they are at risk of hurting themselves if their collar gets hung up on something. Get a cat collar with a breakaway clasp, that will easily come open if it catches on a fence post or a tree branch. This ensures your cat does not get hung up while he is adventuring in his territory.

There are several styles of breakaway clasp, such as this style by GoTags.  This is similar to the more traditional style of clasp seen in dog collars and human backpacks.  The main difference is in the shape of the prong end.  The prongs are more rounded and will pull apart easily if snagged on a branch

This breakaway collar by Coastal Pet, sports a clasp whose ends nest on top of each other. The ends of the clasp are also rounded, unlike the prong clasp shown in the collars above.

Be sure that the collar itself is made of snag proof nylon, so that it will not get caught on branches or other jagged objects. Unfortunately, the breakaway collar is more likely to get lost, which brings us to the last point about cat collars.

My Cat Will Lose The Collar

A cat wearing a breakaway collar is likely to come home without her collar sometimes. Don’t let this deter you.  If your cat goes outside, she will be much safer with a collar than without one.  Most breakaway styles are pretty cheap, so you can always stock up on a few and introduce a new one when your cat loses the first one. Many times the collar will be sitting in your own yard and you will simply stumble upon it one day.

Newer smart cat collars with GPS and mapping on an app, like Scollar, will help you locate the collar by showing you where your cat hangs out.  This gives you a clue where you should search when she comes home without her collar. The added benefit of a smart collar is that it helps you know where to search for your cat if she doesn’t come home at all.



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