There are lots of conflicting opinions out there on cats wearing a collar. If all this information has got you confused - fear not! We've put together as much factual information as we can so that you can make the best choice for you and your feline friend.
Many cat charities believe that wearing a collar and an ID tag is important for your cat's safety. In fact, The Humane Society says; "an ID tag is your cat's ticket home. All cats should wear collars and tags." Battersea Cats & Dog Home agrees, stating on their website that; "an engraved tag with your contact details attached to a quick release collar which pulls apart if your cat gets their collar stuck on anything will help your cat be identified should they go missing."
So what are the main benefits of putting a collar on your cat?
Firstly, a collar and ID tag can help reunite you and your cat should they go missing. An easy to spot ID tag and collar are a clear, quick way for someone to find your details. Wearing a collar also makes it clear to other people that your cat isn't a stray. This can help prevent over-feeding or your cat being taken in by well-meaning people who believe your cat to be a stray. A collar with a bell attached to it can also help to prevent your cat from hunting and killing wildlife, protecting local bird populations and stopping you from receiving unwanted 'gifts!' For small cats and kittens in particular, a collar with a bell fitted can make locating them around the house a little bit easier. This means they are less likely to be stepped on when they are darting about the house!
Will a collar hurt or injure your cat?
It is possible for a collar to cause injury to your cat, but only if it is poorly designed or doesn't fit correctly. Injury as a result of wearing a collar is incredibly rare, and can easily be avoided by ensuring you only purchase safe, quality collars and fit them to your cat properly. Always make sure you choose a collar with a breakaway safety buckle or elastic safety strip. A breakaway buckle works by snapping open as soon as any force is applied to the collar - such as if your cat gets caught in a tree. An elastic safety strip is the same basic idea - the elastic will stretch if your cat gets stuck, allowing them to wriggle free more easily. It's also important to ensure your cat's collar is properly fitted so that you can fit one finger between the collar and their skin. This will prevent them from being able to get the collar in their mouths which can cause injury.
Does my cat still need a collar if they are microchipped?
Microchipping your cat is an excellent idea and has helped to reunite many cats with their owners over the years. However, it is not a fool-proof system, so having your cat wear a collar in addition to a microchip is often advised by vets and animal rescues. For one, your cat's microchip is invisible, meaning that it is easy for them to be mistaken for a stray and 'adopted' by well-meaning strangers. Microchips can also only be read with a special microchip scanner that most members of the public do not have access to. This means you are relying on your cat being taken to a vets or shelter to be scanned for a microchip. Not only this, many people forget to keep their cat's microchip detail up to date, which means that even if your cat's chip does get scanned, there is no way of returning them to you.