Devoted cat owners tend to be protective of their fur babies. They may insist on putting a collar on their cat so that they don’t get lost, and to protect them from wild animals. However, cat experts are unsure as to whether collars provide any safety. Read on for a discussion about whether cats should wear collars and safe alternatives that you may want to try for your cats.
Should cats wear collars?
No, cats should not wear collars; there are other means to protect and secure your cats. Pet care organizations such as Cats Protection, PDSA (or People’s Dispensary for Sick Animals) and International Cat Care are united in advocating against the use of cat collars.
These are some of the dangers of putting a collar on your cat:
It could harm your cat if it gets stuck on something.
Cats are active creatures that love to explore, climb and roam the outdoors. During such activities, their collar could get stuck on a branch, fence, or the overgrown roots of a tree. This could pose a great danger for your cat, as she could suffocate or injure her neck. If cats are trapped, they can hurt themselves in their struggle to get loose.
Tight or ill-fitted collars could rub against the cat’s skin.
An ill-fitting collar could inflict wounds on your cat’s skin. Aside from the sore skin and wounds, she may also lose fur from around her neck.
Your cat could get stuck on the collar itself.
If your cat’s collar becomes loose or if it is not fitted properly, your cat could get it stuck around their paw or in their mouth. This could result in serious injuries and pose a great danger to your cat.
What can you use instead of a collar?
These are some safe and harmless alternatives that you can try if you want to secure and protect your cats:
1. Use a vet-approved flea treatment instead of a flea collar.
Flea collars are unreliable and only somewhat effective. Rather opt for a vet-approved flea treatment to protect your cat from fleas. This will ensure longer-term protection for your cats.
2. Microchip your cat.
If you are anxious that your cat could get lost when she is outside, have her microchipped. Cat collars are unreliable since they could come loose or slip off your cat’s neck. A microchip is a reliable and permanent way to track your cat should she ever wander away from home.
3. Install a microchip cat flap.
Ensure your cat’s safety and protection by keeping her cat flap private. This way, you will not have to worry about stray cats wandering into your home. The microchip version of a cat flap reads your cat’s chip and only opens for your cat. What’s more, there is no risk of losing the key.
4. Set up bird feeders at a safe distance.
You can protect birds and the local wildlife from your cats by placing bird feeders at least a few meters away from trees and bushes. This will alert the birds if your cat is stalking them. Place nesting boxes in areas that are inaccessible for your cat, and put bird feeders on top of metal poles so your cat cannot access them. Keep your cat indoors during hunting hours, which are usually just after sunrise and just before sunset. Indulge your cat in games so they can practice their hunting skills safely.
Things to consider if choosing a cat collar:
It should be a perfect fit for your cat.
See to it that the collar fits correctly on your cat’s neck. Make sure you can comfortably slide two fingers under the collar once your cat is wearing it. Double-check that it fits right once it is on the cat’s neck.
It should be a quick-release collar.
Your cat is less likely to hurt herself with a quick-release collar. If it gets caught on a branch or on the cat’s paw, the plastic buckle will come apart quickly and less harm will be done. Make sure that the quick-release comes apart without any struggle on your cat’s part. Be aware that dirt and grease could block the quick release mechanism. Avoid collars with elastic inserts, as these could cause serious injuries.
Opt for a durable, high-quality collar.
Your cat’s collar should be durable and of good quality, as poor-quality ones easily come apart.
Avoid collars with too many decorations.
Too many extras on your cat’s collar could do more harm than good. Avoid collars with buckles, studs and glitter, as these could irritate your cat’s skin.
Cat owners only want the best for their pets and they tend to put collars on them to protect them. However, most pet care companies do not recommend collars on cats, as collars can injure them. Tight-fitting collars could rub against your cat’s skin and cause wounds, your cat could get stuck on the collar if it loosens, or the collar may get stuck on a branch.
Image: istockphoto.com / PBFloyd