The case of a lost or stray cat who was severely wounded when he became caught in his collar has prompted a safety warning to cat petparents.
The RSPCA UK is warning owners about the dangers of unsafe collars after a cat was found with a nasty injury under his front leg which will take more than a year to heal.
Collie, a black and white cat, was taken to the charity’s Central & North East London Branch on Monday evening September 28 after he had become trapped in his own collar.
He had been found straying in Great Cambridge Road, Enfield, London by a member of the public with the diamante collar caught tightly around his neck and leg. This had caused an extensive, infected wound where the collar and been cutting into his flesh.
His injuries suggest that Collie had been in this distressing state for some time. Unfortunately, he was not microchipped and did not have a tag on the collar so shelter staff were unable to trace an owner, but it is thought he may have strayed due to being unneutered.
Chair of the branch Christine Kerridge said: “Just how terrified must poor little Collie been? Lost from his owners, seriously injured, but fighting to survive.
“We think he had been trying to escape the collar by putting his paw through and this caused it to pull tightly over his neck and leg, and cut into his flesh.
“He may have been in this state for some weeks and it caused a really nasty wound which was very deep and infected. The buckle of the collar was so embedded into his flesh it had to be surgically removed. He must have been in a great deal of pain.
“Collie is not out of the woods yet. A skin graft may be necessary and it may not be successful. But right now he has pain relief, safety and a huge amount of love and support. He is a real little trooper and we have everything crossed for him. No matter what his wounds are likely to take a good year for it to heal properly and it is likely that he may bear the scars for the rest of his life.
“This incident serves as an important reminder to cat owners to only use collars which snap open without human help. Buckles and elasticated collars can be lethal if cats get themselves stuck somewhere. It is all very well dressing your cat up in a diamante collar so he or she looks nice – but owners have a responsibility to also make sure their animals are safe.
“We urge people to make sure they only use collars which snap open if caught on something. This can avoid horrific injuries like those Collie had.”
Christine added: “It is hard to know how poor Collie came to be a stray. He may well have simply got lost, and have a loving owner somewhere who is desperately missing him. As he did not have a microchip we have no way of knowing.
“Of course he may also have been a stray because he was not neutered. There are thousands of unwanted, neglected and stray cats in London, yet their plight could have been easily been prevented by neutering.”
The RSPCA Central & North East London Branch told Collie’s story at Facebook, writing:
Metal buckle collars are not safe to be used as collars for cats! Poor Collie was brought into our branch a couple of days ago with a buckle collar that he had been wearing caught around one of his legs. Collie had to be rushed to the vet to have emergency surgery to remove the collar that had become imbedded in his skin and he was in a lot of pain. Most of the photos of his injury are too graphic to show on Facebook but one photo shows the collar still stuck on Collie and the other photo shows Collie recovering after his surgery.
Please be very careful about the type of collar you choose for your cat. Only choose collars that are specially designed for cats and have what is called a “safety buckle”. These collars are made this way to allow your cat an easy escape if they get caught whilst climbing and exploring.
A third photo that we have seen but will not share here shows the deep and wide open gash on Collie’s neck.
Collie is expected to eventually recover from his injury but his experience presents a valuable warning for all cat petparents about which types of collars to use.