It’s pretty rare to see a dog without a collar, but the same cannot be said for cats. Why is this the case? For plenty of people, it’s just not something you think about. Since cats are not known for wearing collars, many new owners don’t even think about fitting their cat for a collar. For others, it’s a safety concern. There have been cats who have been injured when their collar gets accidentally caught on something. Others just don’t want to try and coax a cat into accepting the collar, as not all felines are fans of wearing something around their necks. If you’re thinking about putting a collar on your cat, there are a few things to keep in mind.
The Value of ID Tags
Firstly, the positives of a cat wearing a collar do outweigh the negatives, as long as it is done responsibly. The number of cats who go missing every year is an unacceptable tragedy, and a huge part of this problem is the inability to identify the cat. Unfortunately, cats are less likely than dogs to be microchipped or tattooed. However, even microchipped cats are not always returned to their rightful homes. Shelters know to check for a microchip, but strangers who find a cat might just consider her a stray and adopt her on the spot. A collar with an ID tag makes it immediately clear that the cat has a home, as well as precisely instructing where that home is located. If your cat has any severe and time-sensitive health issues, putting that on the tag could save her life. When someone sees an identifying name and phone number, it makes the effort of reuniting a cat with her owner much simpler. Not everyone will go to great lengths to return a cat, so making the process as painless as possible greatly improves your chances of seeing your pet again.
Hazards of Collars
As noted earlier, there have been incidences of cats becoming injured or even killed because of their collars. Cats are prone to all kinds of antics, including squeezing into tight places and jumping up and down different obstacles. Thanks to this energetic inclination, it’s possible for a cat’s collar to catch on something. This is particularly likely to happen if the cat spends time outdoors. Even a collar that is not fitted properly can cause discomfort or serious damage. It doesn’t always occur to people to replace or resize a cat’s collar as she grows older and thicker, which can create the same problem. Loose collars, meanwhile, pose a threat when the cat attempts to scratch her ear or face. Fashion-forward collars with bedazzles or other small pieces can loosen and become a choking hazard. Essentially, there are definitely unsafe collars and practices that should be avoided.
In order to bypass these dangers, look into obtaining a “break-away collar.” Sometimes referred to as “quick-release collars,” they are designed to open without human assistance. If your cat snags her collar on something and panics, the buckle should release and open on its own. Sometimes cats get into lively play-fights with each other, so collars like this will stop a cat from getting stuck in another cat’s collar. Instead of being trapped, the cat can merely walk away unscathed. The worst-case scenario here is that the collar might break. Replacing a collar is infinitely preferable to risking a harmed cat.
Additional Collar Features
Although no one wants to think of their cat wandering loose at night-time, sometimes this is a reality. Doors get left open and mistakes happen. Another clever feature to look for in a cat collar is a reflective, glow-in-the-dark strip. Should your cat be out in the dark, this will increase the chances of drivers spotting her. If the jingling sound of an ID tag irritates you, consider buying a plastic encasement for the tag. There are also flexible, rubber tags that will silence any repetitive sounds. Custom collars are popular with people who like to go the extra mile. You can have your cat’s name sewn into the collar, as well as choose your preferred color(s). It’s something that you can have fun with and let your creativity run wild.
Coaxing Your Cat into A Collar
A common complaint from cat owners is that their cat won’t tolerate the collar. Indeed, most cats don’t take an instant liking to having something unfamiliar around their necks. Some are extremely dramatic about the ordeal, especially older cats who have never worn them before. If you have a kitten, you’ll be able to make wearing a collar a typical part of her life from a young age. Older cats can be persuaded, though it may take more time. Allow yourself to move at your own pace if your cat is particularly resistant to wearing it. Start off by just having the collar around in daily life. Let her see it, smell it, and maybe even play with it. Once it is certainly not a threat, try buckling it around her neck. Make sure you’ve practiced it a couple times beforehand because excessive fiddling will increase her irritability. Offer her a few of her favorite treats and speak in a soothing tone of voice. Everything about the experience should be relaxed and positive. Repeat this for a couple of days, and if she stops her protests, just leave it on. If your cat is notably stubborn, it may take longer. One trick that can speed up the journey is to distract your cat with a favorite toy or activity once you put the collar on. Out of sight, out of mind?
Fitting the Collar
It’s important to regularly check the fit of your cat’s collar. You want to be able to fit two fingers underneath it, but not have it any looser than that. A collar that is too tight will, at best, make the cat resistant to wearing it. At worst, an overly snug collar will hamper breathing and do severe damage to the neck. If you have a growing kitten, you’ll need to check the collar often. Additionally, kittens should only wear kitten-specific break-away collars. Adult collars are designed to break open with the weight of an adult cat, not a kitten. Wait until your cat is heavy enough that it is safe to put on the break-away collar. Though there is not a specific, designated age, many people start around the five or six-month range.
Keeping Your Cat Safe
If your cat is strictly an indoor animal, you may think that a collar is an unnecessary hassle. While it’s inarguably more essential to collar a cat who spends time outdoors, you never know when an ID tag on your precious pet could come in handy. If you decide against a collar, making sure your cat is microchipped could make all the difference if she ever goes missing. Now that we have slick break-away collars, it’s never been safer to put an identifying one on your cat.