Buttercup's collar threatened her life!

June 27, 2013 / Cat's Meow / 5 Comments

In the beginning of June poor Buttercup's mom noticed something was wrong with her chin and chest but buttercup wouldn't sit still to let her owner get a good look at what was going on.
During her exam we immediately discovered Buttercups elastic loop collar had been pulled up and was caught in her mouth.   This unfortunately is a common problem with these type of collars and why we recommend the buckle style breakaway collars.  Buttercup's jaw and mouth had large wounds that were infected from the collar digging in and the skin on her chest was very irritated from her drooling and trying to paw at her mouth.   The collars restriction and the associated pain was making it hard for Buttercup to eat and drink.  Buttercup would need to stay in the hospital for a few days to help her heal so she could eat comfortably.
She was started on antibiotics, anti-inflammatory injections and pain medication right away.  We also gave her some medication for her stomach and a local freezing for in her mouth.  With all of these treatments she started eating right away.  
After two days the inflammation was significantly reduced and she was discharged back to her mom.  She needed to continue her anti-inflammatories, pain medication and antibiotics for several weeks.  There is some gum damage around her one canine or "fang" tooth that may require surgery to correct.

 Please when choosing a collar for your cat choose a breakaway type so your kitty doesn't run into this problem. 

 Breakaway collars detach in the event of being caught or being sharply pulled.  They prevent cats from hanging and strangling themselves when climbing and jumping.  The elastic collar will stretch to allow your cat to escape if they get caught on something but they run the very real risk of becoming stuck within the mouth just like with poor Buttercup.

Written by Angelina Johnstone RVT


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This happened to my kitten, I thought I had tightened it enough so he couldn’t do that but unfortunately no. It was a breakaway collar that didn’t work! He tore out his claws trying to get it off. Only stuck for minutes I just had to catch him.

Posted by Katrina Deschamps on November 22 2019 @ 10:36 pm

Sandra we are very sorry to hear about your experience and your poor kitty.  You are correct some of the breakaway collars can be quite stubborn and even with them you have to be careful. We always recommend microchipping and in support of this continue to offer this service at half the recommended cost. The break away collars we have at the clinic do come off if they have light pressure.  Thank you for sharing this information.

Posted by Angelina Johnstone RVT on January 17 2018 @ 3:01 pm

A note to add to this 'Cat's Meow' post. I did purchase the breakaway collar; exactly the one in the imae on the post, in fact. I put the collar on my cat, measured one finger spacing, as advised, and off she went. I found her 10 minutes later with her lower jaw caught in the collar. The force required to break the breakaway collar open is too much for a cat to pull free with her jaw, so these collars are apparently not safe either. :( Perhaps another post to let people know that these collars are not necessarily the correction to this problem that they had hoped.

Posted by Sandra on January 16 2018 @ 2:43 pm

Hi Debbie.  I'm sorry to hear that your cat had a hard time.  We do still recommend collars on cats, especially if they are either going outdoors or in danger of escaping.  Tags with identification are important for helping your cat get home if they are ever lost.  We strongly recommend that all cat collars be the breakaway type for safety reasons.  Thank you for visiting our website.

Posted by Angie Johnstone RVT on October 9 2014 @ 4:00 pm

This happened to my cat she is an indoor cat with outdoor access to the backyard and she kept jumping on the fence so I put a collar on her and name tag. She was lost for 7 days and all I could think of was what if her collar got caught on something. We'll she was found in a shed with her collar stuck in her mouth probably for the entire 7 days. She was rushed to a vet and we didn't know if she was going to make it. There were maggots in the whole in the side of her neck and that's what prevented her from getting infection. Her tongue is swollen and black and she is on antibiotics and pain meds for a week. This was a cheap dollar store collar and she almost died. I will never put a collar on my cats again!

Posted by Debbie on October 8 2014 @ 12:39 am