All About Marie

Animal Files columnist of the Orange County Register from 1992-2016; Emmy Award winning producer of Educational Television Programming; Host of "The Pet Place Radio Show" heard world-wide at; click the player below to listen. Producer/Director/Editor/Co-host of "The Pet Place TV Show" during the 19 years it ran on KDOC TV in Los Angeles and Orange Counties; Wife, Mother of five kids, Grandmother of two baby boys and one baby girl, and pet parent of two cats, one dog, many fish, and a cockatoo.

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Wednesday, April 23, 2014

Cat keeps losing collar and tag...

My cat can’t seem to keep a collar and tag. Every time I buy a new collar, she gets it off and loses it within a day or two. She’s easily gone through a dozen collars and tags over the last six months. I have no idea where they end up too! But my main concern is that she might get lost without ID. Should I get her a tattoo and give up on the collar and tag?

Dear Stephanie,
Some cats just won’t tolerate a collar and tag. I’m glad to hear though, that you've persevered in trying to keep your cat protected with ID. I would not, however, go in the direction of tattooing. There seems to be no standard in how tattoos are used, and animal shelter staffs have a difficult time tracing them. Furthermore, tattoos can be easily overlooked, especially in a frightened or fractious pet that resists examination.

You do have another option available. This is to have a microchip identification device implanted under your
cat’s skin just above its shoulders. Microchips are available from most veterinarians and the average retail price is about $15.00, though there are clinics that offer low or no-cost specials.  Check with your local animal shelter to find out if they offer clinics. The microchip is approximately the size of a grain of rice and is injected with what looks like a hypodermic needle.

Again, this is a permanent identification that cannot be lost or removed. Animal shelters are able to detect the presence of a microchip with a special scanner. The scanner picks up a coded number in a manner similar to how a grocery store scanner reads UPC codes. This number is contained in a database that holds owner
information. Each chip is assigned its own unique number. If you move, you will not need to get a new chip; you will just need to advise your veterinarian and/or microchip company of the new information so that the database can be updated.

My personal opinion about identification for pets is that you can’t have too much. I would suggest having both ID types for your kitty. It’s better to play it ultra safe now than to deal with unfortunate “should haves” at some later date. You did not mention if your cat goes outside. However, judging by the complete disappearance of twelve collars and tags, I suspect this is the case. I've said this before and I really can’t say it enough. Cats should be indoor pets only. It is extremely dangerous to allow a cat to roam free in the neighborhood. There are dangers ranging from coyotes, to cars, to diseases, to unscrupulous people everywhere. It sounds like you truly love your pet and want to protect her. If this is so, please keep her indoors!

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