All cats should always wear some sort of collar with an identification tag, even indoor cats. You never know when an indoor cat will accidentally escape from your home through an open window or door. And cats who get lost and do not have some sort of identification on them rarely make it back home. Also most people who see cats outside without collars assume that they are strays or ferals and may take them home or to a shelter. Having your cat always wear identification is the best way to always keep him/her safe when he/she is away from you.
There are a variety of collars and tags that you can purchase for your cat at your local pet store and there are only a few simple rules to follow when purchasing a collar:
- Choose a collar and tag that is fairly lightweight. If the collar is too heavy your cat will really dislike his/her new jewelry and will probably make every attempt to take it off.
- Make sure the collar fits properly. If it is too loose your cat will probably find a way to take it off and if it is too tight it will be very uncomfortable. As a rule of thumb make sure you can always slip two fingers between the collar and your cat’s neck.
- Make sure your tags have the following current information: name of your cat (especially if your cat knows his/her name), your name, phone number and address. Also note that some cities require all cats to be registered with the city. Contact your local county or city board for more information in your area.
- Make sure you always purchase a cat collar and not a dog collar. Cat collars are designed such that the cat will come off in the event that the cat is caught on something (like a tree branch or fence) while dog collars are designed to stay on no matter what.
- If you are going to buy a flea collar make sure your cat doesn’t produce a skin irritation from the collar.
Another way to keep identification on your cat, if your cat doesn’t like a collar, is to have a microchip injected under your cat’s skin. The chip is small and contains a digital number which is linked to your name, address and phone number. Your veterinarian can perform this minor surgery for you. Although your cat can’t ‘slip off’ a chip like he/she can a collar, whoever finds your cat will need to take him/her to the vet or to a shelter where they can read the chip. Thus you need to rely on the fact that the person who finds your cat will take him/her somewhere where they will check for a chip.