Identification increases chances of finding your lost baby
According to the American Humane Association, every year over 10 million dogs and cats in the United States are lost or stolen. Unfortunately, cats are much less likely than dogs to be reunited with their pet parents. As we noted in our article, “Why and how you should chip and register your fur-babies,” an AVMA review of statistics from 53 shelters around the country concluded that microchips significantly increased the likelihood that a lost animal would be returned to her family. Sadly, only 2% of non-microchipped lost cats entering a shelter were reunited with their families but 38% of microchipped lost cats were reunited with their families.
Indoor vs Outdoor Cats
The use of collars and hanging ID tags for cats is a two-edged sword if your cat is primarily an outdoor cat. Because there is a danger that a collar or tags could get caught on vegetation or other outdoor objects, you should outfit your outdoor cat with a breakaway collar. That, of course, defeats the identification function of the collar. So, If your cat spends a lot of time outside, we highly recommend that you microchip her in addition to having her wear an identification collar.
Breakaway Collars and Slider Tags
Because hanging tags may not be the best idea for outdoor or active cats, you may want to consider an embroidered identification collar or a collar with a slider style of ID tag. Here are some options:
GoTags Embroidered Breakaway Collar: This collar comes in many colors, is made of no-snag nylon and is designed to release when the collar catches on anything. The collar is 3/8” wide and adjustable from 8” to 12” in length. The collar is embroidered with your cat’s name and your phone number. Note that some reviewers commented that the sizing slider can cover some of the information on the collar if you have a smaller cat.
Personalized Reflective Cat Collars: This breakaway collar includes a reflective strip, which can be particularly helpful for your cat’s safety if she is outside at night. This collar is also 3/8” wide and expands from 8” to 12”. Rather than being embroidered however, the identifying information is “laser engraved” into the reflective strip. Some reviewers did note, however, that the reflective strip tended to fall off rather quickly, thereby destroying the purpose of the collar.
The Slider Style Tag: it has consistently high reviews with comments that the tags are deeply engraved so the information doesn’t fade, the tags fit very snugly on the collar and don’t fall off and the curve in the tag ensures that it fits well on the neck. These tags work for both dog and cat collars and include 5 lines of text. One reviewer suggested the following for the information to include on the tag:
Line 1: PET NAME
Line 2 : I AM LOST: REWARD!
Line 3: Phone Number
Line 4: Email address
Line 5 : I AM MICROCHIPPED!
For those of you who want some color in your cat’s identification tag, check out the LuckyPet identification tag which attaches to the collar with Velcro. This tag comes with a lifetime guarantee and is apparently quite durable. Some commenters did say that for very small cats, the tag can pull the collar down a bit.
Battery Powered Cat Tracker Tags
While there are many tracking collar tags available on the market, we could not find any with consistently good reviews. Note that these are battery operated collar tags – as opposed to GPS devices – which send signals to the hand-held devise you use to locate the signal – and presumably your cat – from the tag. These are not GPS devices. We have listed several options here, all of which have mixed reviews. If you find a great product, please let us know and we’ll investigate it to determine if we should add it to the list:
TabCat Tracking Collar is actually a battery powered tag which attaches to the collar. Some reviewers complained that the tag is quite large and others noted that the tag only works in a 200-400 yard radius so if your cat wanders farther away, this is not the product for you.
The Girafus® Tracker is another battery powered pet tracker with a small unit that attaches to the collar. Reviewers were again all over the map about this product with some loving it and others not so much. One of the most frequent comments is that the batteries tend to wear out fairly quickly.
Another TabCat product, the LOC8TOR tag is also a battery powered tag with a hand-held unit which some reviewers also use for their aging parents and their dogs.
There are some cat tags which include a QR code which connects to a webpage with your kitty’s information so that whoever finds her can then contact you to restore your feline baby to her rightful place. Note that whoever finds your lost cat has to know to scan the tag and then let you know where she is. In other words, this will not enable you to find your lost cat yourself – it will enable whoever finds her to then find you to hopefully reunite you with your wandering feline, akin to the benefits of a microchip. Here are some options:
Dynotag, which is web powered and works anywhere in the world where there is internet connectivity. The tag is water and impact-proof and comes with a lifetime subscription.
GPS Tracking Collars
There are GPS tracking collars which send information about your cat’s whereabouts to your phone for a monthly subscription fee. As with the battery powered tracking products, the reviews for the products we looked at varied widely but here is one product which may be worth your time to look at:
TAGG GPS Pet Tracker can be used for both cats and dogs and attaches to your cat’s current collar. The tracker will send you a text when your cat gets out and the program works with iPhones and other smart phones. The reviewers noted that because the device doesn’t have to activate the GPS unless your cat is outside the “home zone” the battery life tends to be longer than comparable Garmin products. Some reviewers also noted that the device may be too big for cats under 10 pounds.
Last but not least, there are self-contained tracking systems which enable you to find your wandering baby. These systems do not require a GPS or cellular network or any monthly subscription to a service. They can be a bit more pricy than the other identification options we’ve discussed. Here is one option that works for up to three cats and/or dogs:
We would love to hear your ideas about the best way to effectively provide your feline fur babies with identification and then locate them if they get lost.
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