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.
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.