pop ya collar....
When we first picked up the cat, the RSPCA informed us that she would have to wear a collar. Neither of the cats that my parents have had in my lifetime had been collared, but it seemed reasonable and sensible enough to give our cat a collar with an ID tag on it just in case she ever got lost (the RSPCA also implanted her with a microchip, which they do with all animals that pass through their care apparently). The only slight reservation I had about the collar was the fact that it is impossible to buy a collar without a bell. The idea of the bell, of course, is to try to give birds and other small animals half a chance against this vicious and instinctive predator, but part of me has always thought that it was a bit cruel to burden a cat like this. It's in their nature, after all.... I soon changed my mind though: more or less as soon as I heard the cute "tinkle tinkle" noise that the bell made as it clanked against the tags on the cat's collar. It was a noise quickly became associated in my head with the approaching cat - a noise often followed by a small "miaow". Pavlov in reverse, if you will.
Did you know that a cat's collar should either be elasticated or have a quick-release catch? I know it sounds perfectly obvious, and I'm sure you did know that, but as I'd never had a cat with a collar before, it hadn't really crossed my mind. Again, it's perfectly sensible. Cats go wandering; cats jump and climb on stuff.... if a cat was to get their collar caught on something, they could easily do themselves a mischief. It's only common sense, therefore, that if you are going to make them wear a collar, it's probably best to give them one that is unlikely to choke them.
When we got home from town the other evening, Minou was waiting for us on the doorstep. This was a little unusual: not only was the weather pretty crappy, but since we've had the catflap and she's had a magnetic "key" adding to the bling already hanging from her collar, she's been able to look after herself and - being a cat - can normally be found in the warm. It took a few minutes for the penny to drop, but we soon realised that she'd lost her collar somewhere. This meant that the poor thing must have caught it on something and had a few moments of desperate struggle before the stretch in the elastic will have allowed her to wriggle free. I expect her collar is still hanging off a branch somewhere... but at least the cat herself was alright.
Of course, the loss of her collar meant the loss of her ID tag, her bell and, with the magnetic "key" for the catflap, her freedom. And so, the next morning I trooped off to Pets at Home to buy a replacement. The collar was easy enough, and so now, instead of the disgustingly dirty plain black one she had before, she's modelling a natty little number with some fluorescent thread woven in as well as another bell. The magnet came in a two-pack, so we now have a spare, and the tags were done in a quite cool machine that lets you watch as it engraves (she has one tag with our address and phone number on, and another tag saying "scan me....I'm tagged"). Sorted.
She now looks broadly the same as she did before, but she sounds different: her collar just isn't tinking in the same way at all..... in fact, through the combination of a different bell and the (non-magnetic) ID tags, when she flops through the catflap, she now sounds distinctly christmassy, leading to the nickname "Santa's Super Sleigh".
She doesn't seem to mind at all. Neither the name nor the noise seem to worry her in the slightest... Judging from her mildly haughty look, I think she must be pondering issues of far greater importance.
Stick for instance. You can never have too much stick.