Warning to cat owners after horror injuries
CONCERNED cat lovers are calling for owners to stop putting collars on their feline pets.
A Facebook post showing photos of several cats with severe wounds from collars becoming embedded in their shoulder or getting stuck in their mouth is attracting attention.
The author of the post, Shannon Alberry of the Darling Downs, calls on owners to become more educated about the danger of cat collars.
"Stop collaring cats!! They are not dogs!! (sic)," she pleads in the post, under her Shannon Catz page.
"Get yourself educated and educate others to these disgusting things. The most dangerous time for a cat to be wearing a collar is outdoors when a cat is lost but they can also get collars caught on furniture (or) items in the home leading to injury or death."
Mrs Alberry told The Courier-Mail she had been trying to warn cat owners since 2013 after coming across injured felines through her rescue work.
"The main injuries are under their armpits from cats trying to get them off, or if they have fleas that live under the collar and they are constantly scratching at it," she said.
"Another way is in the jaw. They will be flipping the collar off and it will get stuck in their jaw. But the biggest injury is under the arm. The other is when people put them on when they're kittens and then don't adjust them (as they grow)."
Mrs Alberry said there was a misconception cats had to wear a collar in case they got lost.
She said a lost cat with a collar was at a higher risk of becoming entangled on a fence or a tree and either being injured or killed by hanging or strangulation.
At least two of the photos in the Shannon Catz Facebook post are cats from Queensland who were found lost and injured by their collars.
Pet photographer and animal rescue volunteer, Amy Carr, said in 2018 a male cat was found in Morayfield with his front leg stuck through his collar. It had become embedded in his collar.
"The collar had sliced underneath his arm and started to grow into his flesh. "He was alive and lucky to not have that leg amputated," she said.
The wound took about five months to heal after surgery.
Anita Coad, of Tannum Sands, said a white cat in the Facebook post, Lily, was brought to Anita's Angels Cat Rescue with an embedded collar.
"It was embedded and stuck into the wound and had to be surgically removed," she said.
"The wounds was so wide that the vet first didn't know if he could pull it together."
Director of the Animal Emergency Service in Underwood, Alexandra Hynes, said veterinarians saw injuries "fairly regularly."
"It's not unusual when one leg gets through and gets stuck, the collar starts to saw into the area under the front leg," she said.
"We generally try to do surgery to repair the wound that develops under the front leg, but it's also very difficult for those injuries to heal."
Dr Hynes said the best identification for a cat was microchipping.
She said although some breakaway collars can work, they can often deteriorate with age.
"Often they're on for years, then the mechanism becomes stuck," she said.
"If they're a cheap brand, the mechanism may not be effective."