Tags and Collars for Cats

In 2010, the Journal of the American Veterinary Medical Association (JAVMA) published a very exciting study focusing on collar use and cats. Some important experts in the field—Dr. Linda Lord, Dr. Brenda Griffin, the ASPCA’s own Dr. Margaret Slater, and Dr. Julie Levy conducted the study. There work debunks the belief that many pet owners hold that cats cannot wear—and can even be hurt by—collars. These concerns can limit guardians from placing collars—and therefore simple personalized ID tags—on their cats.

The objective of the study was to determine the percentage of pet cats who were still wearing collars and had functioning microchips 6 months after they were placed on the cats.

Criteria and Method

Three different collars were used for the study—plastic buckle collars, breakaway plastic buckle safety collars, and elastic stretch safety collars. A total of 558 cats (and 338 owners) participated in the study. Each cat was randomly assigned one of the 3 collars. The collar, a microchip tag, and a microchip were all applied to the cat at the start of the study. Guardians were contacted after 1 week, then 1 month, and then monthly until the study’s end (6 months after the intervention).

Collars Truly Decrease Risk

The experiment uncovered exciting results! Of the 538 cats enrolled in the study, 391 (72.7%) wore their collars through the completion of the study. 72.7%! Hurray!

The style that had the fewest reports of loss, forelimbs caught in collar, and mouth caught in collar? The simple buckle collar. The authors explore other collar issues, too—and the buckle collar most often comes out the winner. By choosing the collar that is least likely to be troublesome, and least likely to be lost, using cat collars truly decrease risk by helping to ensure that cats can be quickly identified and reunited with their owners.

Collars for Shelter Cats

The authors had surveyed the cat guardians at the time of intervention about their expectations of how well their cat would tolerate the collar, and then asked post-intervention about how well the cat was tolerating the collar. They found that 56.3% of the guardians reported that their cat’s tolerance of the collar exceeded their expectations, with only 8% reporting that their cat’s tolerance was worse than they expected. Think about the education opportunities we may have by simply putting the cat collar on the cats before they leave the shelter!