Do Cats Need to Wear Tags?
Yes. In fact, depending on where you live, your cat may be required by ordinance to wear a license tag. And regardless of whether or not your cat is required to wear a license, your cat should be wearing an identification tag.
Nearly all states have laws requiring that dogs be licensed, and thus, wear a license tag, only Rhode Island has a similar state law regarding cats. That is not to say that if you don't live in Rhode Island, your cat doesn't need to be licensed. The other 49 states leave the issue of cat licensing to your local municipality. Most larger cities and counties have their own laws requiring cats be licensed.
We can read an early discussion of dog licensing from two hundred years ago, in the state of Virginia. Thomas Jefferson, after his terms as president, wrote a letter suggesting that all dogs be required to wear a collar and identification. At the time, in the early 1800's, thousands of dogs roamed freely, often harassing and even killing livestock. By the mid-1800's, the licensing of dogs and the requirement to wear a license tag was gaining momentum and becoming the law in many states. As cities grew and became more densely populated, even stricter controls were enacted eventually resulting in dogs being required to stay on its owner's property or be on a leash.
Because cats didn't pose the same type of threat to property, few of these laws were applied to cats. In fact, historically cats were also counted upon to keep rodent populations under control, so they were looked upon as beneficial hunters. It was widely accepted that cats needed the freedom to roam. The fact that there are few if any cat leash laws today are likely vestiges of that theory. But eventually, cat licensing did become the norm, especially in more populated areas. One of the primary drivers of the movement to license cats was as a revenue source to support the work done by departments that eventually became what we know today as "animal control."
Two Good Reasons Your Cat Should Wear a Tag
The law aside, there are some compelling arguments for why your cat should wear a collar and tags.
Your cat may get lost, and a pet ID tag is the absolute fastest way for a lost pet to get back home. Your cat may have a microchip but, it is useless without a trip to the vet or a shelter.
And if your cat is an indoor cat, consider that an inside-only cat may get out at some point, and once outside, may be more likely to get lost than a cat that is used to being out.
Wearing a collar and tags, your cat will look like a pet and not a stray. People are much more likely to approach and help an animal that looks like a lost pet.
But My Cat Hates Wearing Tags
Many cats are bothered by dangling tags, and we've seen plastic tags riddled with chew marks as they try to remove the annoyance. We invented our line of collar tags especially for pets who are bothered by dangling tags. This clever design is a smart solution for stylish pet ID with the added benefit of being silent.
What Kind of Collar Should My Cat Wear?
Unlike dogs, cats climb. Up in a tree, brushing against branches and twigs, squeezing through tight openings like a hole in a fence or railing, cats have much higher risk that their collar could get snagged, with potentially catastrophic results. For this reason, most cat experts recommend a collar with some sort of safety release. We offer three styles of "safety collars," some stretch and some unlatch, but they are all designed to release a cat when pulled hard enough.