In the previous post I mentioned how we had put a fresh collar and tag on Nipples after his three-day jaunt. It's not that we didn't keep a collar on him before; it's just that he had gone thru an entire arsenal of collars and tags, and the spare one I had for him had been sent with the movers, and on the day we moved into our house, we had neither gotten our stuff from the movers nor plunked down the money for a new collar and tag. And come to think of it, had he lost his then-current collar and tag in the move, or had we for some reason decided that it would be not-risky-at-all to move him across the friggin' country without his identification information? Because good grief, that was a dumb idea.
Here's the thing: they make breakaway collars for cats for safety reasons. I totally get that, and as one with a cat who spends most of his time outdoors, I'm all for safety mechanisms to prevent him from getting hung up on bushes and branches and such. The thing is, I've also watched him deftly slip his little hind paw underneath the collar and snap it right off. The next consideration, then, is a teeny dog collar (because you can't get non-breakaway ones for cats), which if you think about all the stray bushes and branches, is a potentially-massive safety hazard. And if you believe all the marketing and advertisements for pet safety equipment, can really induce guilt in a nervous-type like myself.
So for the time being, we put the new breakaway collar and tag on the cat. And, true to form, within several weeks that collar disappeared as well. I sighed and thought about the spare collar in the drawer, which I fully intended to put on him just as soon as I remembered it when he was actually in the house, blah blah blah...when suddenly he went missing again.
This time it wasn't quite so dramatic. While walking the dogs one morning, he didn't come up meowing behind us as he normally does, and I thought about how I hadn't seen him since the day before. So I filed it in the back of my mind for the time being and went about the day. But as is common when I haven't seen the cat in a while, I kept checking outside for him everytime I walked by a window, and thought about setting a deadline for myself to start posting on our neighborhood forums to see if anyone had seen him lately.
It was either that same day or the next that I got a call from my friend Fazzi, whom you may remember used to own Nipples, and she was letting me know that he was at the vet's office just down the road from us. It turned out that a well-meaning neighbor from a half-mile or so away had found him and become concerned that he was lost. Since he didn't have any ID they couldn't call us to check up on him, so they took him to the vet, who read his microchip and called Fazzi, whose info was still on the microchip. Then Fazzi called us with the vet info so that we could go spring him loose. And despite my sometimes-curmudgeonly attitude about technology and such, this is why microchips, Facebook, and cell phones are good.
Well, after some finagling, and promising the vet that Nipples was current on all his things, and wrestling him into his much-maligned carrier, we brought him home again. We had the talk with the vet's office about his collar and they recommended putting a dab of superglue on the breakaway mechanism. And we thought hey, that's worth a shot, but we only had Elmer's glue so it had to do the job. Except Elmer's glue is definitely not superglue, so it worked for like three days before Nipples came sauntering home, collarless, and looking rather pleased that he had caused us to go through our entire collar supply yet again.
The Cat Daddy then offered some perspective on the matter. He pointed out that Pim had a non-breakaway collar for the entire time we had him, and was outside and in trees and woods, and never had a problem with getting hung up (wild animals eating him, yes; branches, no). He pointed out that, despite the terrible thought of getting hung up on shrubberies and tree branches, we had never actually heard or read about such a thing actually happening to a cat, or whether breakaway collars were invented because of a true threat or because someone thought "Hey what if this happens," and then made collars to break on purpose and pocketed millions of dollars from people's fears (If you have read or know about a cat dying because its collar got hung up on a branch PLEASE DO NOT TELL ME because I'd rather not be informed in this case). He reiterated that the breakaway collars were just not cutting the mustard in our case. He was right.
And when all was said and done the following things were true:
1) Nipples became the proud wearer of a 10" non-breakaway dog collar, which he has yet to lose or wriggle out of, and doesn't have a bell, which I think makes him happy. I used to cut the bells off his cat collars, so the dog collar even saved us a step.
2) We updated our info with the microchip company so if and when someone mistakes him for a lost cat and takes him to the vet they will be able to call us directly.
We sure learned a lot from Nipples' trip to the vet. For his part, Nipples cussed us out a little and ate a second helping of dinner that night. But as always, we were glad to have him home...