If you have an indoor cat one of the decisions that might be slightly different from an outdoor cat is whether you decide to have a collar or not. This really depends on you and your cat and where you live. Each country definitely has very different views on whether collars are a good or bad thing.
While indoor cats do not need collars there are some circumstances where you might prefer they have one. This might be for added peace of mind in case your cat decides to shoot out, a higher chance of your cat being returned in your area or for medical reasons. Collars are primarily intended as an ID, the microchip replaces this. You should absolutely have your cat microchipped whether it is an indoor or outdoor cat for this reason. In some areas, cats without collars are not usually returned to their humans. While in other areas it is advised against your cat having a collar for safety reasons.
Microchips have really replaced collars from an ID standpoint. They are becoming the more the norm and are usually added by any cat charity before you get your cat (check your area and if they have chipping). The main reason for having a collar originally was to ID the cat, show the cat wasn’t stray and to stop it catching wildlife. Some collars were also flea collars (not recommended). Now we have microchips it should not be as necessary for the purpose of IDs except in an area where the return rate of cats without collars is low. Cats more often and not lose them anyway.
Do Indoor Cats Need Collars?
If My Cat Doesn’t Have a Collar What Happens If It Gets Lost?
Some people are concerned that the person finding the cat won’t realise it’s got an ID chip. If you have a microchip and someone finds your cat and they take it to a vet or rescue centre the rescue centre should check if it’s got an ID chip.
Some people prefer having the added protection of a collar ID as well as the chip so that the person finding it can contact them straight away. In addition, they think that having a collar will stop people from thinking their cat is a stray. People may decide to keep your cat if they do think it is a stray. Although these days they should still check, they may not.
When I first got Maisie over 14 years ago it was a requirement to have a collar from the charities when you adopted. She was an unchipped cat that had wandered off to have kittens whose owner was never found. Now, however, they do not think having a collar is a good idea due to the dangers of choking and injury. And it is no longer a requirement of adoption.
However, you might think there are some times where an ID chip and collar is a good idea. Every area and country is different. In some countries, they have kill shelters so you might not want your cat to end up in the one of those. In this case, the added protection of a collar may be something you would consider.
Where I live if my cat was to go missing you would ask around locally put up posters and pop his information on to Facebook. People often share on Facebook missing cats and many people keep their eyes peeled for them. If someone finds them they’ll take them to the shelters or the local charities and the local charities will then check the ID and contact the person they also put notices on their website and Facebook of any cats that are found. So barring injury you stand a good chance of having your cat returned. Not only that, local neighbours, if they see your cat will let you know.
However, having said that not all areas are so lucky. In some counties that this is not always the case. From what I have read, in the US the return rate of cats without collars who have gone missing is very low. In some areas, charities might not be so willing to check for ID. If you think this is the case then it might be worth thinking about a collar for your cat as additional security.
The Dangers Of Having A Collar On Your Cat
One of the concerns why people aren’t having collars on their cats is because they can be very dangerous. Even if you have a collar with a safety release. Your cat can still get caught up in it.
When my sister first had her cats Katniss got through collars as other people get through socks. So, in the end, she decided it wasn’t worth it. Both Katniss and Scarab are microchipped anyway and it was causing a lot of trouble.
Most cats don’t like collars anyway and some cats just will not wear them. If your cat decides it’s not going to wear it then it’s probably not a lot you can do about it. Gentle persistence and bribery may eventually change your cat’s mind. However, forcing it to or just make it unhappy. It will just spend all its time trying to get the collar off. It would be best to make sure you use methods to get the cat sued to the collar first rather than have an angry cat.
In addition, if some cats have breathing issues having a collar might not help them.
If you have a cat with long fur you might find that the collar gets tangled up in the fur. This can cause additional dangers if your cat is outside and lost.
Collars May Irritate Your Cat
It is possible that a collar may irritate your cat or cause some form of infection, in which case it would be better to stop using it. And to seek help from your vet’s.
Are you Entering Your Cat Into Competitions?
If you are entering your cat into competitions as a show cat you will not want to have your cat wearing a collar because the markings will affect the fur. The collar leaves marks it’s not ideal for show cat.
If you want your cat to have a collar because you want to have a bit of bling make sure it’s a safety collar. Also, if the collar has stones and other decorations these are an added choking hazard to your cat as they may come off and your cat might swallow them.
What Are The Advantage of My Cat Wearing Collars if any?
One advantage of you getting your cat used to having a collar would be if it’s poorly. Sometimes it needs to have one of those cone anti-scratch collars which attach to a normal collar. Cats absolutely hate them or at least all my cats have. If your cat has to in addition learn to get used to a normal collar as well then that makes it even worse.
Of course, the alternative is cat bodysuits and baby grows if your cat is poorly so there is a way around it.
Bells on Collars
One of the reasons some people have collars on their cats, and I have to admit I’ve done this in the past, is because if they go outside the bells make a noise which helps to stop the cat from hunting prey.
An indoor cat wouldn’t need this because the idea of the bell is that it jingles and warns cats prospective pray that it’s coming.
I Want My Cat to Go Out For Walks Should I Get a Collar?
Some indoor cats do get some outdoor time for garden activities or walks. I very much feel that if you’re taking your cat out for a walk and it will let you do it the best thing to use is a harness and not the collar. I have seen some cats with collars, some very famous ones that I’ve been lucky enough to meet have worn collars.
Some people prefer to get a luminous cat collar so that the cat is more easily seen for safety reasons.
Some cats also have collars with their medical needs on them if they have any much the same as we do.
Long Haired Cats
Boo, my cat, is a long haired cat and he is very laid back. I think he would allow a collar if I wanted him to. However, it would make his fur tangled. This can cause pain and dangerous matts.
Different Countries Have Conflicting Views on Cat Collars
There is definitely conflicting advice from the cat charities and other organisations about this. And it varies according to where you live. Cats protection, a UK cat charity definitely lean in favour of not having a collar due to the dangers of the cat getting tangled in it. While other charities still advise getting one for easy identification purposes. All recommend Microchipping. In the UK things are heading towards compulsory microchipping for cats and most charities chip any cat you get from them anyway. Petplan a UK pet insurance company see “microchipping as the way forward”.
There are definitely different views on cat collars between different countries. The UK and USA are opposites. The US recommend collars. In my view, this is because in the US there is a much higher rate of indoor cats, while in the UK cats are more outdoor cats.
In New Zealand, most cat owners do not give their cats collars. With a very high rate of cat ownership, it is encouraged by the SPCA as an ID and because the cats decimate the wild birds. This would indicate that more cats are outdoor cats.
So, Should I Get My Cat a Collar?
At the end of the day, that’s what you think is best for you and your cat. If you think your cat is safer with a collar and you get the safety collar and your cat will wear it then there’s nothing to say that you can’t. Pet shops and some charities still sell them so they must still be very popular.