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collar issues...please help

post #1 of 18
Thread Starter 
hi! i'm new here. i am desparate to get some help with this, as i think it is unusual.

my girl (macy) is 5 years old, and got out for the first time yesterday. lucky for me a neighboor took her in and we eventually were reunited.

macy has always been an indoor cat, and i don't allow her out, so we have never had a collar on her. after yesterday, i am scared to not have one on her, just in case. i bought her a breakaway collar at petsmart (cheetah, gotta be a stylish kitty). i put it on her last night, and left it on all night, and all day while i was at work. now here is the odd part...she is TERRIFIED of the collar. she hid in the bathrroom and kitchen cabinets all day, not even coming out to eat or potty! i took the collar off, and eventually she came out, and is now acting "normal" for a cat anyway. ;-)

my question is, is there anyway to get her used to wearing the collar without all the drama? i hate seeing her so terrified. i have never seen a cat scared of wearing a collar. weird.

thanks in advance for any help i can get.
post #2 of 18
I don't believe in collars on cats, I would microchip her instead. Collars can catch and slowly strangle cats, or get them in situations they can't get away from.
post #3 of 18
I agree with MA. Most of the shot clinics here in Sacramento also give micro-chips. They run between $25-$40 depending where you go. The life time registration is $12.50 last time I regietered one of my kitties. They can't lose it, break it, chew it and it can't be taken off by anyone who may want to steal her.
post #4 of 18
I have all my cats microchipped, but that only works if someone scans them. So mine wear collars with ID tags, so if a neighbor finds them they will know whose they are. I get Beastie bands which are very soft and stretchie and buy the cheap tags at the machine in Petsmart. I haven't had any problems with the collars on any of my four. They are all inside kitties, though. Becky
post #5 of 18
I prefer a harness over a collar. I think there is less of a chance of your cat injuring itself should the harness get hung up on something. All of my cats are microchipped and stay inside at all times. When I take Amber or Boris out, I have a large harness for them. Boris is ok with it, but with Amber, it is a wrestling match to get it on her Once on, she doesn't mind at all.
post #6 of 18
It is possible that the collar, even though it is a breakable one, did get caught in her mouth or a foot if it was too loose and it didn't break-away as expected. I have breakaway collars on 3 of mine - and I did on Kirsty as well. One time I came home and found the collar caught in Kirsty's mouth and around her neck. Somehow it had loosened enough so it got caught on her lower jaw while she was grooming. It was almost cut through by her teeth, but it had also rubbed the edges of her mouth raw - poor little girl! Microchipping is the best idea, but if you are concerned about her getting out and being identified, a collar and identification tag is very effective. It is good to get her used to wearing it only when you are present at first - don't just leave her with it on unsupervised. Especially in the beginning, they do try to get rid of it by scratching and biting, and it is easy for them to get tangled up in it. If you are there you can intervene before it is a problem. The collars do breakaway when there is enough pressure on the release - but getting caught in the mouth doesn't provide enough pressure. Getting 'stuck' on the carpet, however, does , and I have to find and replace missing collars ever so often.

To get her used to it, put it on and then pet and play with her and try to distract her while she is wearing it. Use your judgement, though. If she is honestly frightened of it, then something has happened while she was wearing it the first time and it may take a lot of re-conditioning to get her over her fear.

post #7 of 18
Thread Starter 
thanks everyone, for your responses. the only thing with microchipping, is that i live in a rural missouri an apartment complex. if my girl gets out, it is more likely for a neighboor to find her, then for her to be "scanned". otherwise, i would get her microchipped in a heartbeat.

kathryn, your reply was very helpful. i really need the tips on getting her used to the collar. and you are probably right about something happening with the collar. but, i am almost positive it wasn't from this one. it was not nearly loose enough for her to get over her head. a couple of months ago though, i did have a flea collar on her for 1/2 a day (i know, i know, this is very bad, but at that time that was my only option, as i was totally broke, and i thought something was better than nothing). anyway, that collar was on too loose, and she did get it in her mouth. bad, bad, bad. that is probably why the fear of collars. i guess i just thought because they are so smart, she could smell that this collar is different from the flea collar.

thanks for the tips. they are much appreciated.
post #8 of 18
I would recommend both the collar and the microchip. If she gets out the collar will help if a neighbor finds her and if she gets taken to the shelter and the collar is lost, the chip will help. And, since it can be hard to prove that a certain cat is yours, the microchip is proof of ownership. Becky
post #9 of 18
Does the collar have a bell? If so, that might be what's frightening her - try removing the bell & see if that helps. Also, try just the collar without a tag for a while, to give her a chance to get used to the collar, and add the tag after she's become comfortable wearing the collar.

Another idea if she won't accept that collar would be to try Beastie Bands (click here) - you can find them at some pet stores (click the retail link on the Beastie Bands site) and on Ebay. They're very soft & lightweight, don't have a bell, and are easily accepted by most cats. I got some for my mom's cats who are 10+ and have never worn collars, and they didn't seem to mind their new collars at all.
post #10 of 18
Thread Starter 
tuxedo, the collar had a bell on it, but i removed it (with a lot of effort on my part), and put her tag where the bell was. the tag is tiny, though, and doesn't make any noise. she is really scared of the collar, itself. just holding it up, causes her to run and hide.

on a brighter note, i think she is too terrified to try and get out again. i put her harness on her and was going to take her out on her leash the other day, and we were barely out the door, when she turned around and ran back in! i think being stuck in a strange apartment with a stranger and a (gasp) DOG, all day, must have terrified her. she doesn't go anywhere near the door when i am opening it. hopefully she won't try and "bust out" again.
post #11 of 18
When we first got Kionu we put a Lupine collar on him but he kept trying to take it off. Since then, we got him a Beastie Band collar and the way it's designed, he can barely feel it. It's secured by a slim velcro strip and I highly recommend it. And as an extra precaution, I would also get her micro-chipped.
post #12 of 18
Our cats didn't like wearing collars, but got used to them over time. I used to sit the cat on my knee facing forwards and fuss their neck whilst putting the collar on and they didn't seem to mind so much. All our girls our microchipped as well. For us it's not a matter of choice, we have to keep collars on them - it's part of our agreement with the RSPCA when we adopted them - they also specify what sort of information should go on their identity tag. They have one tag with our telephone number on - we're told not to put the cat's name on as people who wanted to steal them, would have an extra "handle" on the cat if they knew it's name. We're not to put our address on either for our own safety. They also have a tag that says they are microchipped and should be scanned if found.
post #13 of 18
My older cat, Squirt, used to be indoor/outdoor. I bought him a number of collars, and honestly, if he went outside with it on in the morning, he never came back with it on the same day. It's kind of a catch-22, really. For a cat, you really need to have a breakaway collar, but the cat finds a way to get rid of the thing. I really just don't think of a collar as a useful means of ID for a cat, not the way it is for a dog.
post #14 of 18
We have a reflective collar on Bobber ones with and without a bell. She never had one on before fall of this year and she doesn't mind it once its on-getting in on can be fun!! She did already lose one already. She wears one so its visible that she is not a stray or she could be shot by a neighbor!!
post #15 of 18
Just a warning: Not all shelters scan for micro-chips. The one I volunteer at doesn't, and I've been trying to get that changed since I started there. Unless the animal looks like a "pet", it's not done. (How stupid it that?! ) Micro-chipping is a god-send, but I wish every place would just take a few simple minutes to scan animals when they come in. People are lazy, and if there isn't someone responsible to watch them, they won't do it, even if required to by management or laws.
post #16 of 18
Originally Posted by zanniesmom
I have all my cats microchipped, but that only works if someone scans them. So mine wear collars with ID tags, so if a neighbor finds them they will know whose they are. I get Beastie bands which are very soft and stretchie and buy the cheap tags at the machine in Petsmart. I haven't had any problems with the collars on any of my four. They are all inside kitties, though. Becky
that's what mine wear, too - i really like the adjustable feature, & they're very lightweight.
post #17 of 18
My girl has the tiger striped Petco collar. But she is unusual in that she'll tolerate a collar and wears her bandanas with pride.

With your girl, you may think about this. Play with her with the collar first. Get her used to it and get her scent on it. Put it on her for a few minutes at a time and then take it off. Increase the "on" time over time. This is a cat, they don't like being thrown into the deep end of the pool, as it were.

Keep us posted.

post #18 of 18
I won't put a collar on Hoshi and me it's not for them (they're inside cats) and two with their previous owner they didn't wear one. I also think it would drive them nuts lol.
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