• As loving, conscientious pet owners, we want to do all that we can to keep the furry members of our family as safe as possible.

    One of the best ways to ensure cats’ safety is to get them comfortable wearing collars. Fortunately, a recent Ohio State University study, published in the Journal of the American Veterinary Association, found that 3 out of 4 cats will consistently wear a collar. And that’s very good news, since these days cat collars also make quite a pet fashion statement.

    There are as many styles of cat collars as there are cats. In addition to their more practical use, collars are an excellent way for cats to exhibit their – or at least their owners’ – fashion sense, from sporty to elegant, and from plain to posh. For true fashionistas, designers such as Gucci™ and Louis Vuitton™, and high-end leather goods companies such as Coach™, offer fashionable, albeit pricey, options. Want to show a little bling? Rhinestone collars are a popular choice, as are collars embedded with SwarovskiTM crystals. Of course, there’s always basic leather and nylon, for the less flamboyant cats out there.

    Pet fashion choices aside, the most important reason for cats to wear collars is so that they can be identified should they wander away from home. Most vets recommend microchipping pets – inserting a silicon chip, about the size of a grain of rice and encoded with pets’ owner’s contact information, under the pet’s skin. Collars offer a second means of identification. Even indoor cats can slip out an open door, and should your unfortunate runaway end up being found by a neighbor or brought to a shelter, a collar provides a fast means of identification that will allow you and kitty to be reunited as quickly as possible.

    For cats that are uncomfortable with having I.D. tags attached to their collars, consider purchasing a collar with important identification information embroidered on it. Attaching a bell to a collar is another pet fashion option, one that also serves a practical purpose if kitty spends much time outdoors, as the tinkling sound of the bell can save birds and other small wildlife from their natural predators. If the jingling noise of a bell seems like it might be a bit annoying around the house, there are a variety of charms that can add a little more personality to even the most basic cat collar.

    There are some pet owners, however, who feel that the use of cat collars presents a risk of serious accidents. Should a collar get snagged on a branch, or in a cat’s mouth or on a leg, it may pose a choking hazard or other injury. One way to avoid such dangerous accidents is to insure that the collar fits properly, just snug enough so that you can fit two fingers under the collar. Breakaway collars, using either plastic or Velcro closings that are designed to release in an emergency, are another. And as much as you might want to protect the birds in your yard by “belling” your cat, bells – and anything else that dangles off of a collar - have also been known to snag and ensnare cats in dangerous situations.

    By law, dogs must be licensed and wear collars with tags. That is not the case with cats, and perhaps that is why fewer cats than dogs in pet shelters are reunited with their owners. So, to keep our feline friends both safe and fashionable, cat collars are an excellent choice.

  • /

    An increasing number of veterinarians encourage cat owners to provide collars for their pets.