Friday, September 23, 2011

Outdoor cats and collars: Are your cats nudists?

Jasper the cat without his collar
Jasper is looking remarkably bare.
Several weeks ago, I bought collars for two of our three outdoor cats, and I attached bells and identification to their collars. I'll admit that I was feeling quite smug about the whole thing. I thought the bells would keep them from sneaking up on small animals and killing them, and I thought the identification would help me notify others that the cats were pets and not strays. (Want proof of how smug I was? The original post is here.)

Jasper kept his collar on for two weeks before he stripped it off in the yard. I found the collar and put it back on. He removed the collar for good 12 hours later, and now I can't find it. Beorn kept his collar on for one week, and I've never seen it again.

In general, cats don't like to have things around their necks. Bells are irritating to their sensitive ears, and they get in the way when cats bend down to drink or eat. Cats also like to sneak up on things, and they resent the implication that they should stop this behavior.

It makes sense that the boys would work to remove these collars. However, I am slightly comforted that the collars simply came off and the cats are no worse for wear. Crafty cats like to cram themselves into small spaces, and they can strangle when their collars are caught on something. The collars I chose are designed to spring loose when they are caught. It's possible that Beorn and Jasper lost their collars in brambles or on sticks, and I'm glad they lived to tell the tale.

Right now, I am at a loss about these outdoor cats. I am still looking for their collars, of course, but I am not sure what I'll need to do to keep those collars on and keep the cats safe.

Anyone have any suggestions? I'd love to hear them!