Posted by: secondchancehumanesociety | July 7, 2010

Cat Collars Reduce Homeless Cat Crisis

Scotty Sporting his Collar

According to the Humane Society of the United States, only 2 to 5 % of the millions of lost cats entering shelters annually nationwide are reunited with their owners.  Homeless cat populations are at crisis levels across the country mainly because they are not being provided with secure identification to get them returned to their homes.   Compare this to dogs, reunited with owners at eight times the rate that cats are   (only 14% of cats arriving at shelters have i.d. as compared to 43% of dogs). 

And the low number of cat/parent reunifications is driving up the euthanasia rate nationwide as shelters do not have ample space to handle the overflow of cats. 

Why the crisis and why the disparity between dogs and cats?  Are dog parents more responsible than cat parents?  Do they care more than cat parents?  I don’t think that is it – but rather a lack of education of the importance of providing i.d. for your cat as well as the proper and safe means of doing so. 

Some cat owners feel that if they have an indoor cat they don’t need to bother with the pesky collar while others are turned away by the “fit of contempt” that often takes place from first time feline collar experiences.  The realities are that indoor cats escape and become lost and cats quickly adjust to new collars if properly fitted (choose a brightly colored break-away or elastic stretch collar that allows you to slide two fingers between the collar and the cat’s neck.) 

Another reason that cat parents avoid collars is from concern of the collar getting caught on something and choking or hanging the cat.  The response from the animal welfare industry is simply that the risk of this happening is far less than that of your cat becoming lost and unable to find its way home.  Shelter veterans say these concerns are overblown, especially in light of how many more lost animals are euthanized because their families cannot be found.

For those really having a difficult time convincing themselves and their cat that a collar with i.d. is an agreeable solution, Second Chance Humane Society offers a great solution – the micro-chip.  These minute devices, rather painlessly implanted in the subcutaneous layer of the pets skin, have often been an issue of affordability in the past but Second Chance offers regular clinics of only $25 for microchipping.  Contact Second Chance (626.2273) for details and dates of upcoming clinics. 

For further details on microchipping you can visit the Second Chance website and read past Pet Columns which have covered this topic in greater detail.  (According to the HSUS – the records of 53 shelters in 23 states revealed that reunion rates were 20 times higher for cats with microchips!)  This form of safety net can still be sabotaged by human error – such as by not maintaining a current address and contact information in the database that the microchip is linked to.

My name is “Scotty” and speaking from experience, being separated from home is frightening and lonely.  I arrived here at the Second Chance Shelter without identification but now am micro-chipped so that my new parent that I hope comes to adopt me soon will be able to find me if I become lost again.

Call the Second Chance Helpline at 626-2273 to report a lost pet, learn about adopting a homeless pet, or about the SCHS Spay/Neuter Financial Assistance, Volunteer & Foster Care, or other Programs.  Visit our shelter pets online: www.secondchancehumanesociety.org.  Direct Pet Column questions to:  kelly@secondchancehumanesociety.orgPhoto by Real Life Photographs.

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