The latest on collars & Microchips for cats.

I used to religiously have my cats all in collars when they went outside, then I went through a phase where I left collars on them all the time… in the last few years I’ve been very lax on collars — it musses the fur on their necks and I got lazy — oh, well.  Perhaps I need to reevaluate.  All of mine are microchipped, but I agree with the article below that a visible ID would be more likely to result in a lost kitty’s return.

Collars and Microchips for Cats

Lord LK, Griffin B, Slater MR et al: Evaluation of collars and microchips for visual and permanent identification of pet cats, J Am Vet Med Assoc 237:387, 2010.

The objective of this study was to determine the percentage of pet cats still wearing collars and having a functioning microchip six months after application. In prior studies, only 14% of cats were wearing any form of visual identification such as a collar or tag at the time they were lost and only 7% had a microchip. Less than 2% of cats entering a shelter with unknown owner status were reunited with their owners. The primary reasons owners give for not providing a form of identification for their cats are because the cats are kept exclusively indoors, their cats did not get lost, and a belief that their cats won’t tolerate a collar or will be hurt by collars or that microchips are too expensive. Most cats successfully wore their collars (approximately 75%). The plastic buckle collars stayed on better than the plastic breakaway buckle form or elastic stretch plastic collars. However, it was noted that owner willingness to replace a collar repeatedly if it did come off and owner expectations for success were more important than collar types. The results also found that many owners do not think to put a collar on their cat though are willing to do so once educated. Each cat in the study was also microchipped and of the 478 microchips scanned at the conclusion of the study, only one was found to be non-functioning. Microchips are considered a good backup, long-term identification system following the use of a visual form of identification. Since one earlier study showed that 40% of all cats lost were considered to be exclusively indoors, veterinarians should recommend some form of identification to cat owners.

13 responses to “The latest on collars & Microchips for cats.

  1. I read this study, too. I have not had Phoebe & Zoey in collars as they are indoor-only and there is no danger of them getting out from my condo, but they will be wearing them soon in preparation for our move to my parents. My parents’ house has a lot of in and out traffic from a lot of visitors, plus more than one door to the outside. Here, I am in control of everything, but once there I won’t be, so I had already been planning on collars before I saw this…

    • Very smart … and even when you are the one who’s in control of everything … things happen. I rarely have company for long periods of time, but on this one occasion my sister and her husband and several friends where here when it was time for me to go pick up Simba Kahn, so us women went to get the kitten, while the men stayed here. While I was gone, the neighbor needed to get into my yard to do some work on his house which defines one side of my yard, so my brother in law let him in then went back in the house. I about had a fit when I got home. Guests can’t be expected to know these things of course and when I counted noses, Nugget was no where in sight. It’s my policy to lock all the cats inside if the gate is going to be open and/or not monitored by me. After a frantic search we found her in the yard… we were lucky.

      • Wow! How scary…you were very lucky! My sister’s cat, Lilli, is an indoor-only cat. Several years ago she had workmen at her house who left the door open. Lilli wandered out but luckily my brother-in-law discovered the open door and went out to look for her. Thank-goodness she was sitting in the front yard! She probably had no idea what to do once she was outside!

  2. Tiger figured out how to get the screen on my sliding glass door to the patio opened, before I realized it. He and Lily both escaped. I don’t think they were out too long, as Tiger was found not that far from the house. However, it took me about 20 minutes to capture him. Then I spend another anxious half hour hunting for Lily. I finally used my flashlight once again to scan the area from my back gate and saw a pair of eyes glowing nearly the end of the complex. I called to her and she actually headed towards me, thought she clearly did not want me to pick her up. I was able to guide her towards the gate, then she pretty quickly headed to the door. Two days late that happened again, but they only got to the back yard. Now I keep the door closed, or only open about an inch (for fresh air). I’ll have to re-think collars. Lily’s came off the day I found her dangling from Tiger’s claw, which was hooked on a few threads of her collar when she was still pretty tiny.

    • That Tiger is hard to keep up with. He reminds me of Kalahari … I think I’d better put a pad lock on the fence gate before he figures that out! lol.

      • Oh, heavens, that wouldn’t work for me – Tiger manages to scoot UNDER the gate. I watched from just inches away – it happened so fast! I need something like you have, but I have the feeling that even if I scraped up the money, the HOA board would not approve. I do take Tiger and Lily out, one at a time, in my arms. The only time I’m allowed to carry them, LOL! They love to go out and have figured out that’s the only way. Though being out is obviously scary at the same time…

      • I know. It’s not always easy to provide safe outings. When the HOA put in the new fence and I saw that a buffalo could probably get under the gate as well as many other areas of the fence I did a lot of work to make it cat proof … and *whispering* I never asked permission to install the cat kit … I figure if I ever get any guff I have that horrid dog 2 houses down recorded on dozens of videos.

      • Tigersmom…you could try getting one of the screened-in cat enclosures for your cats so they could safely be outside. Molly did a blog post about them a few months ago. There is a link on the right under #2 called “Catio Showcase.” There are many different varieties shown, ranging from the very simple to some huge, intricate configurations.

      • Molly, keep whispering, and yes, better to ask permission than forgiveness? Good thing you have those incriminating videos! Mindy, thanks for the reminder – I admired those when Molly posted that previously. I have an extremely small back yard – about 18 ‘ by 18’. And a next door neighbor who hates me, so likely would immediately complain to the HOA board. *sigh* With luck, by the time I come up with the money, maybe she’ll have moved out?!

      • No, you have it backwards, TM – lol. It’s better to ask forgiveness for your ignorance than be turned down when you ask permission. The truth is it never occurred to me to ask them … later I realized I probably should have, but was relieved I didn’t. I’m sure they would have made a fuss … and yet it’s almost invisible and my cats don’t bother anyone as a result. I CAN’T SAY THE SAME ABOUT THAT DOG! lol.

      • Yes, yes – I had it backwards!! That’s what I meant!! I’ve been really sick this week and I don’t think my brain is quite up to par…

        I’ve noticed with our HOA that sometimes you can get away with stuff if you don’t ask. On the other hand, some people have been forced to rip out projects (and sometimes start over). My main concern would be the nasty neighbor. Because of her, I would definitely ask permission. She would complain instantly. You know how mothers say “careful, your face will freeze that way”? Well, hers did. She has this unhappy, sour look. She once walked past me and gave me this look that was absolutely chilling. I’ve never experienced anything like that. However, I did find out she pretty much hates everyone. She’s mad because people constantly complained about her flagrant parking violations, for months, before the board finally did something about it. (50 units, 34 parking spaces, driveways not long enough to park a car, required to park in the garage)

  3. Oh, yeah, workmen – I forgot about that. Three years ago I had a new furnace and heat pump put in. Tiger absolutely fell in love with the furnace guy (and being a cat person, he loved Tiger right back!) Of course, some of the attraction could have been that the door to the forbidden furnace room was actually opened! The furnace guy said there was going to be a point where the front door would have to be left open while he carried stuff in and out, and what should he do about Tiger? I said just put him in the downstairs bathroom – his (at the time “only”) litter box was in there, and of course he let Tiger out when he was done. It was nice to have a workman really concerned about a cat’s safety.

  4. Hi,

    This is Samantha. I am the founder of which is featured on catio Thought I would say hello and let those that are interested know about the launch of my Catio Designs Guides. They are a great alternative to letting your cat roam free and give kitties safe outdoor play places. If anyone has questions feel free to email me at


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