Wednesday, February 22, 2012

For Basil

A friend of mine recently told me about an incident that happened with her 4-month old kitten, Basil. One morning, Basil's lower jaw got stuck in his collar.* No matter how much he tried, he couldn't get free, and by the time my friend got to him (thanks to champion kitty Chili, for getting mommy!), Basil was foaming at the mouth and seemed to have trouble breathing.

This was quite traumatic for my friend and probably for the cat as well! Luckily everything turned out fine and little Basil is not harmed.

This inspired me to write about collar safety for your cats. Whether kitty stays inside or is allowed to visit the outdoors, there are precautions to take in the choice of a collar. Here are some tips regarding cat collars:

- Choose a safe collar

Choose a collar that has either a safety release clip or an elastic band. The safety release clip will release upon pulling, allowing your cat to break free if his collar hooks on something. The elastic band collar will insure pretty much the same thing, except that in stead of the collar opening, it expands to let your cat's head slide out.

*Note: Little Basil was wearing a safety release collar, which did not unclip despite the hard pulling. So things may well happen even if taking all the precautions. 

Safety release clip collars should release upon medium strenght pulling. This means not too easily, but without too much effort either.

- Fit the collar correctly

Insure that the collar is correctly fitted. This means it's tight enough so it doesn't get stuck in branches or other things, and loose enough that it is comfortable for kitty. Rule of thumb: When the collar is tied, you must still be able to slide two fingers between the collar and your cat's neck.

- "Undress" kitty for the night

If your cats stay indoors overnight, consider removing their collars during that period of time. My cats are allowed outside, but in the evening, we close everything and the cats stay inside with us, where I know they are safe. I "undress" them in the evening, and I "dress" them again in the morning before letting them out again.

To conclude, I must say that the best way to avoid injuries due to collar wearing is to simply not put collars on your cats at all. The best way for identification is to get your cats microchipped. But if you're like me, you will probably want your cats to have their name tags on with contact number, even though they are actually microchipped. I may be a little overprotective. ;)

However, after the incident, my friend lost trust in collars and chose to remove them from around the necks of her cats. Maybe we should all learn from her experience.

I hope this was helpful. :)

Disclaimer : I'm not a professional. I'm a life-long cat owner. (or cat slave... )


  1. I have surprisingly strong views on this issue but I think that putting a collar on a cat is unnecessarily cruel.

    Disclaimer: A cat doesn't have a me.

  2. Wow, I know English isn't my native tongue, but I believe Geoff just redefined the meaning of cruel for me. As a long time member of WSPA, let me demonstrate how collars are anything but cruel:

    1. The linked video was about dogs, and wasn't really about the collars.I don't think vaccinating dogs against rabies is cruel.

      Cruel can have many different degrees. Putting a collar on a cat is not at the same level as poisoning a dog, but is still more cruel than not putting a collar on a cat.

      (I am not and have never been a member of WSPA.)