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Breakaway Cat Collar: Help Finding a Lost Cat

Updated on February 18, 2018
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Do You Worry About Losing Your Cat?

We love our cats and we want to protect them. Losing a cat can be traumatic but it happens every day. If you take a few precautions however you can help reduce the likelihood that your cat will wander off one day and never be seen again.

A breakaway cat collar is one very affordable and simple way of protecting your cat. They are the safest collar available on the market.

Why Does a Cat Need a Collar?

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A cat collar can perform a number of important functions.

  • First, they can provide the necessary identification, so that if lost, anyone who finds your cat can easily locate you and return your cat. Microchips are good, but you have to wonder if anyone who finds your cat will think to take it in to be checked. A collar is a very visible item that's hard to overlook.**
  • Even experienced outdoor cats can get lost. Cats that are kept entirely indoors sometimes escape. Collars are therefore a good idea whether you allow your cat outdoors or not.
  • Many collars also have a reflective surface which helps drivers spot your cat before it's too late.
  • Some are also flea collars which help keep fleas in check and your cat healthy.
  • Collars give you a place to hang a rabies tag or anything similar that is required.
  • They can also provide the alert some people want to give potential cat prey an advance warning!

** Personally, I recommend both a breakaway collar and a microchip. The collar because not everyone checks for the microchip and the microchip because it is possible for the cat to become separated from the collar.

Why Are Breakaway Collars Better?

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Despite the fact that collars provide important identification information, they can present certain hazards as well. Cats tend to get themselves into tight spots! It wouldn't be unlikely that your cat would get it's collar hung up on something as it prowls and roams. Because of this, they could get stuck somewhere, unable to return home or worse yet, they could strangle.

To circumvent this type of occurrence, a breakaway cat collar will give way if enough pressure is applied. For instance, if the cat gets snagged on a small limb, they can pull away and the collar will free them; allowing them to escape unharmed.

Things to Consider

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There are several things to think about when choosing a collar.

  • Most good collars will be made with a nylon fabric. It's strong and yet lightweight and comfortable. Other materials my fade or fray.
  • There are a number of colors to choose from and can often be purchased in multiples.
  • Some collars allow you to personalize them, having your contact information printed directly on the collar so that no additional tags are needed. Others however, require you to place contact information on a separate tag which is then attached to the collar.
  • If you use flea collars you can opt for a breakaway cat collar that has this feature versus having your cat wear two separate collars.
  • If your cat is often out at night, it's certainly wise to select a reflective breakaway collar for added protection.
  • Size matters. While most collars will work, some won't adjust enough to fit a particularly large or small cat. So, it's important to measure your cat's neck and know it's size. When fitting the collar be sure that it's adjusted to the appropriate size. It should be small enough to assure your cat won't easily slip out of it but not too tight so that it's uncomfortable. Typically, you should be able to fit two fingers between your cat's skin and the collar. Cats adjust to collars best when they begin wearing them as youngsters although probably not before 6 months of age. You will need to check the collar routinely to assure the fit remains good.

Making Your Own

It's of course possible to make your own cat collar with a breakaway buckle. All you need is a couple of feet of nylon webbing and the breakaway buckle. The nylon webbing used for a cat collar is usually only 1/2 to 3/8" in width. You need to buy enough to assure you have extra to lap it over after running it through the buckle. A couple of feet should be plenty.

The process is as simple as running the nylon through the buckle, lapping if over at the end and sewing it down securely. Then you merely need to repeat the process at the other end. The fit should allow you to fit two fingers between your cats skin and the collar.

See How It's Done

Other Tips to Help Find a Lost Cat

A breakaway collar is a good first step in assuring you get your cat back, but there are other things you can do before and after your cat goes missing.

  1. Microchip your cat. If the collar breaks away, the microchip will still be there to identify your pet. If you notify the company that provided your pet's microchip, they typically have them in a database and can assist in finding your pet in a number of ways.
  2. GPS is a possibility. Some are collars and some are tag like items that you place on an existing collar.
  3. If your cat gets out and you can't find them, leave food out for them to smell. Try to help them find the way.
  4. Post signs around the area and be sure to get the word out to neighbors.
  5. Post in the local paper, online, Facebook and so forth.


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