Cat Collar Safety Tips
05 February 2017
Cat Collar Safety
The safety and security of our pets is always of paramount importance. Every year thousands of cats and dogs go missing or are stolen across the UK, and one of the options available to pet owners is that of having their animal collared and tagged.
Unfortunately, for some cats this can be a very costly error. More and more frequently the Cats Protection are receiving reports of cats entangling themselves in their own collars. Some are getting front legs caught through unsafe collars when attempting to remove them, usually because the collar has been incorrectly fitted and come loose, and if left the animals become wounded which can then become infected. Furthermore, when pets are out and about unsafe collars can become caught or trapped on fences, gate posts or branches, leaving the cat incapable of escape, choking and potentially dying.
Nowadays, collars come in a range of fashionable designs and colours, but in reality safety is what should be paramount. Listed here are some steps to ensure that the collar your cat is wearing is safe:
- Firstly - Check that your cat’s collar is fitted correctly. So long as there is enough give to slide two fingers underneath the collar, it is not too tight to be uncomfortable, but any looser and your pet risks becoming the victim of a collar-related injury.
- Secondly - Continually check your cat’s collar, especially with younger cats, as your pet will grow. Keeping an eye on the tightness of your pet’s collar means that it will not become too small and uncomfortable, and your pet will be less likely to try and remove it.
- Thirdly - An option to consider is a 'quick release' collar. These are collars fitted with a catch that releases when the collar is pulled on with enough force. This allows your pets to break free if they become trapped. Best to test these collars first, as they are built to withstand different levels of pressure applied to the catch. The best are those which will withstand a moderate force, as any less could end in your cat constantly losing their collar and any more could mean your cat is unable to break free.
- Fourthly - Check what is attached to your cat’s collar. Bells and tags are good for identification and to warn wildlife, but cats claws can become trapped in the attachment rings. If you are choosing a collar with a bell or tag, make sure the grove in the attachment ring is wide to prevent your cat’s claw from becoming trapped.
Things to avoid when choosing cat collars are as follows:
- Avoid collars with elasticated inserts as these are far more likely to result in cat-collar accidents.
- Avoid bad quality collars, with loose threads sharp edges and weak, sharp buckles.
- Avoid using flea collars. Apart from a number of reports stating that flea collars can give bad reactions to cats and dogs alike, flea collars often tend to be left on long after they have become useful, and are not well suited for prolonged use. Instead, try and use veterinary 'spot-on' products, which are very effective and safe to use.
- Finally, avoid unnecessary tags, bells and other things that dangle from your cat’s collar. These tags and bells should be strong – weak tags can become bent and trap their claws – make sure they have wide, non-tapered grooves so they cannot trap a claw.
However, the advice we would give is that if your cat’s collar is used for identification purposes only, getting them micro-chipped is a far safer method than risking using an unsafe collar. The micro-chipping process is simply inserting a electronic chip about the size of a grain of rice under your pets skin in-between the shoulder blades. It then remains there for life, and if your cat becomes lost and found by someone else, they can take the animal to a veterinary practice where the vet will be able to scan the chip. The chip has a unique number which is registered to the owner only; once the number has been identified, the vet can contact the microchip company and ask them to get in touch with the owner.
Please take care if your cat does wear a collar to ensure that it is properly fitted and safe. Following these pointers should limit the chances of cat-collar accidents occurring to your pet and after all, as stated before, the safety of your animals should always be of the utmost importance.