COLUMBUS, Ohio Almost three out of four cats in a new study wore collars consistently during a six-month study, suggesting that most cats will tolerate a collar even if their owners are skeptical about its success.
In fact, in almost 60 percent of cases, the animals' tolerance of collars exceeded owners' expectations that their cat would keep the collar on without much trouble.
The researchers suggest that, armed with this data, veterinarians should include a discussion about the importance of identification during annual wellness exams of pet cats. They also say microchipping cats remains a useful backup identification method.
Among other lessons learned from the research: Proper fitting, with room for two fingers between the neck and the collar, is critical. And owners should carefully observe their cats' behavior with new collars for the first few days, when problems apparently are more common as the cats adjust.
Convincing cat owners that their pets, even indoor-only cats, need identification is "a tremendous uphill battle," said Linda Lord, assistant professor of veterinary preventive medicine at Ohio State University and lead author of the study.
"A lot of people start out with the dogma that cats can't wear collars, that they won't tolerate them or that they're dangerous. Now pet owners can look at this research and, if they own a cat, maybe they will now consider that they will be able to put identification on them. A collar with an ID tag is probably a cat's greatest chance of ever being re-homed or brought back if it is lost."
And indoor-only cats can get lost. Lord's recommendations from this study are informed in part by her previous research, which has found, for example, that 40 percent of lost cats in one community were indoor-only cats, or that free-roaming cats without collars are very likely to either be fed by strangers reducing the likelihood that they will return home or to be igno
|Contact: Linda Lord|
Ohio State University