Lets See Some ID

Which method of identification is best for your pet? Are simple ID tags enough?

By Linda A. Odum

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One of the worst experiences for a cat owner is a beloved pets disappearance. Perhaps a precocious indoor feline sneaks out of the house to explore a sunny day. Maybe an indoor-outdoor cat doesn't return home for the evening. Whatever the reason, the best way to ensure your cat returns home is with pet identification.

You never know when an emergency can happen and your cat can get away, says Scott Giacoppo, cat owner and spokesperson for the Massachusetts Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals. Of the thousands of stray cats that come into shelters each year, only about 2 percent find their way home.

Every cat should have two forms of identification. The first and most common is a collar with an ID tag. Anyone who sees a kitty with a collar won't mistake it as a stray or feral cat, says Gail Buchwald, vice president of the Adoption Center and Mobile Clinic for the American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (ASPCA).

Because cats jump and climb more than dogs, choose break-away collars that slip-off easily if they get caught on something. You should be able to fit two fingers under thecollar for a comfortable fit. Also, check the fit occasionally as your cat grows or puts on weight.

You need not fear for your cats safety when wearing a collar. I have never seen a case of a cat strangling on a collar, says Nancy Peterson, issue specialist for the Humane Society of the United States, but I have seen cats die because they were lost from their owners.

Petersons three indoor cats all wear collars with her phone number embroidered on the material. Giacoppo uses a permanent marker to put information on his little buddy Maxs collar and a plastic identification tag with a paper insert that contains his contact details. He keeps extra collars and tags on hand, should Max return home minus the originals.

Tags are available at pet stores, veterinary offices and on the Internet. Be sure to include the cats name and your phone number in the information. An alternative contact number is also a good idea, as is a listing of any medical conditions. Some owners also engrave call collect and reward on the tags. Because cats are notorious for slipping out of their collars, consider a permanent form of back-up identification.

**For the full article, pick up the July issue of CAT FANCY**

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Reader Comments

Galadriel    Lothlorien, ME

3/15/2013 11:39:46 PM

I would never put a collar on any cat. Unlike Nancy Peterson, I have seen cats killed by their collars. Microchips are far safer.

Phillip    Chickasha, OK

11/9/2012 3:58:06 PM

Our cats are never out of the house unsupervised because we live about 30 or 40 yards from a main highway. However, I do think I need to at least get collers and tags because sometimes when we're ready to go back in the house Tinker wants to play chase.

Patty    King of Prussia, PA

10/31/2012 8:28:59 AM

Great article! Getting cats chipped when they get neutered next month

Christina    Warsaw, IN

5/20/2012 3:14:48 PM

Good article. I don't like microchipping. I have heard many many stories of cats and dogs who got microchipped and they found cancer in the surrounding tissue around the chip. It is a foreign object in the cat/dog's body. Personally, I think that the risk is way to high so I just choose a breakaway collar if my cat ever happens to get out of the house.

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