Cat collar injury - more common than you think!

Tiger is a 2 year old domestic long hair cat who visited us for a routine post operative check after a surgery. Tiger had not acted any differently to the owner so it came as a bit of a surprise when we found that Tiger had sustained a collar injury to her left armpit. It wasn't easy to spot because Tiger has long fur and the colour of the collar had blended in almost perfectly.

Collar injuries occur when the cat's collar is loose enough for one of the front legs to pass through it, usually ending up in the armpit. The constant rubbing when the cat walks causes the collar to cut a deep wound that usually requires surgical treatment. Collar injuries are notoriously difficult to heal, often needing repeated surgeries. In fact, so frustrating are these wounds to deal with that sometimes a skin flap is performed, where skin is borrowed from a nearby region to cover the defect.

Tiger's wound was closed surgically and has healed beautifully after three weeks of confinement. It did not come as a surprise that Tiger was not wearing a collar when she came in for her next post operative check. This was the owner's method of preventing a similar accident from happening.

If your cat wears a collar, ensure that it is fitted correctly. Collars should be tight enough to stop it getting caught on things but do allow a two-fingers gap so your cat can still breath comfortably. Check your cat's collar regularly to make sure it is still safely fastened. A 'quick-release' collar may be arguably the best. This collar has a clip that will release if it is pulled hard, allowing the cat to break free if trapped. In the end, with or without a collar, it is important that your cat is microchipped. Your cat can lose his/her collar but never their microchip if they ever get lost.