If you are the guardian of an indoor-only cat, you many wonder why you might need ID for your cat–and even if you did, what would you put on a cat ID tag?
Here’s the thing, according to a recent ASPCA poll, around 15 percent of cat owners report having lost a cat at some point. Being that there are somewhere around 53 million pet kitties in the U.S., that (unscientifically) equals around 8 million lost cats! American Humane also notes that for kitties without tags or microchips, shelters report only a two percent chance of them being reunited with their people.
If you have an indoor-outdoor kitty, having an ID tag is even more important. It tells people that your kitty has a home and is not a stray that is looking for a new one.
The fact is, you never know what might happen and for our furry ones, it’s always better to be safe than sorry.
Do I Even Need a Cat ID Tag For My Indoor Cat?
Short answer; yes! Simply because cats are great escapers. From scooting out between your feet as you open the front door to squeezing through a tear in a window screen, most cats will take any opportunity to explore something new and different. An ID tag is just extra insurance in case something unexpected happens. It’s peace of mind for you but also handy if you have a kitty sitter, roomie, or friend who cares for your kitty when you are away.
My Cat is Microchipped so Why Would I Need an ID Tag?
Microchips are great but consider the likelihood that your average Joe or Jane will be equipped to pack up a cat and take it somewhere to check the chip–especially if a kitty is scared or injured. Think about it: someone would have to be OK with handling a cat, have a kitty carrier available, and then be willing to transport the kitty to a shelter or vet in order for the microchip to have use. If a kitty had an ID tag, none of this would be necessary and within seconds, you would be getting a call.
As a secondary form of insurance, be sure the information on your microchip is always up to date. If your kitty got lost and found someone who did check the chip, you want to be sure it’s your current phone number and address, especially if you have moved to a new city or state.
How Do I Get My Cat to Wear a Collar?
Cross your fingers? Just kidding. Cats may dislike collars at first but they will get used to them. Here are some ideas to help them along:
Get a breakaway or stretch collar: the worst thing about collars, especially for active cats, is that they can be choking hazards. We’ve researched the best breakaway and stretch collars for cats so if your kitty gets caught on something, she’s sure to be able to get herself safely free.
Noisy collars can be dealt with: if the collar you choose comes with a bell and the noise is too distracting for you and/or your kitty, you can just take it off the collar. The bells are meant more for outdoor kitties as they warn birds and other critters that kitty is around.
Let your kitty check the collar out: let your kitty get used to the new collar before putting it on. You can try immersing in some toys or kitty beds to get rid of the “new thing smell” then let your kitty play with it and check it out. Once the foreignness has worn off it will be easier to start the dressing up bit.
Baby steps: start by putting the collar on just for a bit and gradually lengthen the amount of time kitty wears it until, voila!–kitty and collar become one.
What To Put On Your Cat’s ID Tag
Unfortunately cat ID tags are too tiny to put all of the things we find necessary on them, like, “Hi! My name is Henry. I am very sweet but scared of dogs. I don’t like to be held but I do like tuna, pats on the hiney, and belly rubs. If I am outside and you find me, that means I am lost. Can you please find my person? His name is Hugo, he lives nearby, his phone number is 123-456-7890, and he is very handsome.”
So, how to condense?
Your pet’s name: this might seem like a no-brainer but for a lost kitty, having someone call her by her name can be soothing and help build trust with someone unfamiliar.
An action message: if your kitty is indoor-only you may want to get right to the point and put “I AM LOST” underneath the name so that a potential finder knows kitty needs their help and isn’t just on a walkabout.
Your phone number: put the number you can be most easily reached with. If there is space on the tag you choose, you might consider including a back-up number of someone your kitty trusts just in case you aren’t around.
Medical needs: if your kitty needs meds, be sure to note it. It may give a sense of urgency to the finder and get your kitty back to you sooner.
Additionally, you could add information regarding your city, kitty’s microchip, or other things you think are important; but in order to keep that tag small, you’ll want to get right to the point. Instead of the scenario above, Henry’s tag might read, “Henry. I AM LOST! 123-456-7890”.
Where do I get a cat ID tag
Many retailers, including Petco, Petsmart, and even Wal-Mart, have machines that make ID tags. Amazon also has a wide variety of shapes, sizes, and colors.
If you are absolutely sure your cat will not wear a collar with an ID tag hanging off of it, you can order a specialty collar with his vital information printed on it.
Let’s hope it never comes to your kitty getting lost out there in the big world. But if she does, you’ll be prepared. You can never be too careful when it comes to the safety of the furry ones you love–and who love you.