Wednesday, March 16, 2011
Why Don't More Cats Wear Collars?
A recent study reported in Animal Sheltering Magazine (March/April 2011) cites an earlier study in Ohio in which only 17% of cat owners said their cats wear some form of visual identification and only 3% have microchips. No wonder it is so difficult to return lost cats to their owners!
The study also says that nationally only 2% of stray cats entering animal shelters are reunited with their owners. The League's record is much better: we reunite 19% of stray cats with owners. We would of course like to make that percentage much higher. The League microchips all our cats prior to adoption, and our adoption contract requires that adopters ensure that their cats always wear elastic safety collars and identification tags.
The focus of the study was to find out what percentage of pet cats would wear collars for six months and still have functioning microchips. 538 cats were microchipped and given collars. At the end of six months, 73% of cats were still wearing their collars and had functioning microchips. The study also found that owners who felt more positively about their cats wearing collars were more likely to have cats who succeeded in wearing them longer.
Many more lost cats could get back home if their owners were diligent about keeping collars with identification on them. Even indoor cats (all pet cats should be indoors) need to wear identification in case they get outside by accident. It happens all the time: we get calls almost daily about indoor cats that have accidentally gotten outside and are not wearing identification.
So cat lovers, please microchip your pet cats and make sure that they always wear elastic safety collars with identification.