A total of 538 client-owned cats from 4 different study sites participated in this 6-month study. Cats were randomly assigned to wear 1 of 3 collar types: plastic buckle, breakaway plastic buckle safety, and elastic stretch safety. Each cat was subcutaneously implanted with a microchip between the scapulae. Most cats successfully wore their collars (391 of the 538) throughout the study period of 6 months; 333 cats wore their collars without collar removal during the entire study. Collars came off other cats at different time intervals and were reapplied by the owners. The most important factors that predicted success were the owners’ initial expectations of the cats’ tolerance of the collars and the number of times the collars were reapplied on the cats’ necks. A total of 477 of the 478 microchips scanned at the study conclusion (99.8%) were functional. Three microchips had migrated and were identified outside the implanted area. The authors suggested that both visual identification (collars) and permanent identification (microchips) function as essential components of a comprehensive health care plan, and that benefits of both far outrank potential adverse effects.
Study supported in part by Schering-Plough HomeAgain, LLC

Commentary: Fewer than 2% of cats with unknown ownership entering shelters are reunited with their owners; this is in contrast to 15% to 19% of lost dogs that are reunited with their owners. This study emphasized that many cats are willing to wear collars. It also demonstrated that microchips function as an effective method to identify cats. Since even “indoor only” cats get lost, we need to encourage identification methods for all cats.—Patricia Thomblison, DVM, MS

Evaluation of collars and microchips for visual and permanent identification of pet cats. Lord LK, Griffin B, Slater MR, Levy JK. JAVMA 237:387-394, 2010.

GO TO cliniciansbrief.com to view a video on how to scan pets for microchips.