Is a Collar Safe for My Cat?

Cat wearing collar

Q. I worry that my cat will get his collar caught on something and be injured, and so I don’t like for him to wear one. What do you recommend instead?

A. Anyone working in an animal shelter will tell you: It is far more likely that your cat will be lost and never returned home than it is that he will be harmed by his collar. That’s why I recommend that you keep a collar and ID tag (and license, if cats are required to be licensed in your municipality) on your cat at all times. It’s important even if your cat lives entirely indoors, because you can’t guarantee there will never be an escape.

Choose a Cat-Safe Collar

Because cats do climb trees and scale fences, they are at some risk for getting their collars caught, but many collars designed for cats have the situation covered. That’s because they’re made to give way under pressure when caught, either by being made of stretchy material (like Beastie Bands) or having a breakaway clasp (like Safe Cat). Because hanging-down tags are more likely to be caught, you could also check into a slide-on collar tag, such as those from Boomerang Tags.

Note that if you want to walk your cat, you will need to attach the leash to a halter not a cat collar, because any pressure will release your cat from the collar.

Add a Microchip for Extra Safety

While I do recommend you keep a safe collar and ID on your cat at all times, having a collar that allows your cat to slip free means that your pet may quickly shed his life-saving ID when he's on the lam. That’s why you need to have a microchip as well as a collar and ID.

Microchips have reunited pets and their families hundreds of miles and many years apart. Your veterinarian can insert a chip in your cat in a swift procedure that some animals barely notice. Just make sure you keep your contact information current with your microchip registry — and on your cat's ID tag as well.

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