January 2009 Issue

Cat Collars for Safety

A breakaway collar with an ID tag — and current phone numbers — can help keep your cat safe. Here's why.

As a human companion concerned about your feline, your question should not be if your cat needs a collar — but what type of collar your cat needs. All cats need a collar and an ID tag. That may come as a surprise to you if you keep your cat indoors. But many lost cats were indoor cats at the time they went missing. "Almost half the people who have lost a cat never expected their indoor-only cat to get outside," says Brenda Griffin, DVM, MS, with the Department of Population Medicine and Diagnostic Sciences of Cornell University's College of Veterinary Medicine. Indoor cats get frightened and bolt out of the house, a guest leaves the door open accidentally, your family must vacate the house in an emergency or natural disaster. Anything can happen. An indoor cat that finds itself outside is particularly vulnerable to getting lost and becoming a stray because it’s not used to being outdoors and finding its way home. Whatever scared your cat in the first place may cause your cat to stay in hiding, not come home or prevent you from finding it. "We strongly encourage people to collar their cats — even if they’re strictly indoor cats," says Brenda Griffin, the veterinarian in charge of initiatives to promote pet ID for both cats and dogs at Cornell University. "We consider an ID collar an essential component of a wellness program for all pet cats (wellness equals preventive medicine)." Outdoor cats are as easily lost. People may think a cat doesn’t belong to anyone and may take the cat away from the area. A collar immediately signifies that a cat has a home. If the unthinkable happens and your cat — indoor or outdoor — gets lost, the chances of your cat being found and returned to you are infinitely higher if your cat is wearing some form of ID.

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