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Evaluation of collars and microchips for visual and permanent identification of pet cats

Linda K. Lord DVM, PhD1, Brenda Griffin DVM, MS, DACVIM2, Margaret R. Slater DVM, PhD3, and Julie K. Levy DVM, PhD, DACVIM4
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  • 1 Department of Veterinary Preventive Medicine, College of Veterinary Medicine, The Ohio State University, Columbus, OH 43210.
  • | 2 Department of Population Medicine and Diagnostic Sciences, College of Veterinary Medicine, Cornell University, Ithaca, NY 14850.
  • | 3 Department of Veterinary Integrative Biosciences, College of Veterinary Medicine, Texas A&M University, College Station, TX 77843.
  • | 4 Maddie's Shelter Medicine Program, the Department of Small Animal Clinical Sciences, College of Veterinary Medicine, University of Florida, Gainesville, FL 32608.

Abstract

Objective—To determine the percentage of pet cats still wearing collars and having functional microchips 6 months after application.

Design—Randomized controlled clinical trial.

Animals—538 client-owned cats.

Procedures—Cats were randomly assigned to wear 1 of 3 types of collars: plastic buckle, breakaway plastic buckle safety, and elastic stretch safety. Each cat was fitted with the assigned collar, and a microchip was inserted SC between the scapulae. Owners completed questionnaires about their experiences and expectations of collars at enrollment and at the conclusion of the study.

Results—391 of the 538 (72.7%) cats successfully wore their collars for the entire 6-month study period. Owners' initial expectations of the cats' tolerance of the collar and the number of times the collar was reapplied on the cats' necks were the most important factors predicting success. Type of collar likely influenced how often collars needed to be reapplied. Eighteen (3.3%) cats caught a forelimb in their collar or caught their collar on an object or in their mouth. Of the 478 microchips that were scanned at the conclusion of the study, 477 (99.8%) were functional.

Conclusions and Clinical Relevance—Most cats successfully wore their collars. Because even house cats can become lost, veterinarians should recommend that all cats wear identification collars since they are the most obvious means of identifying an owned pet. For some cats, collars may frequently come off and become lost; therefore, microchips are an important form of backup identification. Owners should select a collar that their cat will tolerate and should check it often to ensure a proper fit.

Abstract

Objective—To determine the percentage of pet cats still wearing collars and having functional microchips 6 months after application.

Design—Randomized controlled clinical trial.

Animals—538 client-owned cats.

Procedures—Cats were randomly assigned to wear 1 of 3 types of collars: plastic buckle, breakaway plastic buckle safety, and elastic stretch safety. Each cat was fitted with the assigned collar, and a microchip was inserted SC between the scapulae. Owners completed questionnaires about their experiences and expectations of collars at enrollment and at the conclusion of the study.

Results—391 of the 538 (72.7%) cats successfully wore their collars for the entire 6-month study period. Owners' initial expectations of the cats' tolerance of the collar and the number of times the collar was reapplied on the cats' necks were the most important factors predicting success. Type of collar likely influenced how often collars needed to be reapplied. Eighteen (3.3%) cats caught a forelimb in their collar or caught their collar on an object or in their mouth. Of the 478 microchips that were scanned at the conclusion of the study, 477 (99.8%) were functional.

Conclusions and Clinical Relevance—Most cats successfully wore their collars. Because even house cats can become lost, veterinarians should recommend that all cats wear identification collars since they are the most obvious means of identifying an owned pet. For some cats, collars may frequently come off and become lost; therefore, microchips are an important form of backup identification. Owners should select a collar that their cat will tolerate and should check it often to ensure a proper fit.

Contributor Notes

Dr. Griffin's present address is Department of Small Animal Clinical Sciences, College of Veterinary Medicine, University of Florida, Gainesville, FL 32608.

Dr. Slater's present address is Animal Health Services, American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals, 1717 S Philo Rd, Ste 36, Urbana, IL 61802.

Supported by the Humane Society of the United States, PetCo Foundation, and Schering-Plough HomeAgain LLC.

The authors thank Lauren Unger, Katie Kleinhenz, Steve Gentilella, Dr. Corrie Bates-Stickney, Nick DePompa, Kelly Garner, Tyra Gent, and Zenny Ng for technical assistance.

Address correspondence to Dr. Lord (Linda.Lord@cvm.osu.edu).