(This post brought to you by "things that seem kind of frivolous but that I know other cat-appreciators are likely to be able to identify with, and which may with any luck generate some degree of practical discussion")
None of the four felines-in-residence here currently has unrestricted access to the outdoors. Nikki used to have daytime garden privileges, as that initially seemed like a fair arrangement given she'd been an outdoor cat at my parents' -- but I put my proverbial foot down about that after she sustained one too many injuries fighting who-knows-what last fall.
Still, they've all proven their skill at escape artistry on more than one occasion. Nikki in particular is a champion door-dasher -- often I have to exit the patio sliders walking backwards because she's so good at appearing out of nowhere and darting between my feet.
Shadow, meanwhile, let the whole crew out a few times before I finally learned how to latch the screen door properly (he knows how to paw sideways at it and push it open). And just generally I like to be prepared for the possibility that regardless of how thoroughly I fortify the house's potential exit points, someone is bound to get out every now and then.
Now, all kitties here are microchipped and registered with HomeAgain, so they've at least got that measure of identification with them at all times. But it still makes me nervous to think of them out roaming around with no visible identification. Thus, I've been trying to get everyone to wear a collar ever since the youngsters' major kitten growth spurts started tapering off.
The results of this have been...inconsistent.
Nikki has the best record so far, probably because she's so used to collar-wearing (since my parents had her wear one all the time) and because she has no interest in the vigorous wrestling matches her housemates regularly engage in.
Brodie is also pretty good about not losing his -- he's had his current one on for so long now that I can't remember the last time he slipped it.
Shadow and Cora (who seem to have morphed into tag-team mischief-makers lately), however, continue to confound all my efforts to keep them identifiable at a distance as Cats With A Home.
In Shadow's case, mostly he just loses his. It doesn't matter what type -- clasp, buckle, velcro, you name it -- give him a few days and it'll be gone, and when I find it (under the couch or behind a chair, usually) it will generally look like it's been pulled out of a war zone (because he chews on it and plays with it like a toy once it's off).
Cora also loses collars (probably for the same reasons Shadow does). I was all excited a few weeks ago as at that point she'd been doing great with a lovely elasticized orange collar -- but then I found said lovely collar buried in the litter box. Eeep. But she also has a different (and more worrisome) problem -- that is, a tendency to get collars stuck around her lower jaw. I only ever use breakaway cat collars, mind you, but I still get concerned she's going to injure herself in the process of thrashing around to free herself.
That said, right now she's wearing the neon pink number pictured below:
...and so far she has NOT gotten this one wrapped around her face. I've attached it a little more tightly than I have in the past, and now I am thinking perhaps the jaw-stuck phenomenon was due mainly to my being too tentative about tightness. As is evident in the photo above, Cora has a ridiculous amount of neck-fluff (to the point where I'm beginning to wonder if she's got a longhair gene being partially expressed, if such a thing is possible). I can still put two fingers easily between her collar and her neck the way it is now, so she's definitely not choking, but it does seem I need to put hers on somewhat tighter than, say, Brodie's or Nikki's.
But I digress. What I've been doing is putting it on her during the day (when humans are liable to be traipsing in and out of doors) but taking it off and putting it away before I go to bed at night. Kind of annoying, but definitely more cost-effective than replacing lost or litterbox-buried collars on a regular basis!
So, if anyone is inclined to discuss: does your cat (or cats) wear a collar? What type? How do you keep them wearing it? Am I overestimating the need for visual identification? Etc.?