CARING owners put collars on their cats to make sure they can be returned home if lost.

But the well-meaning act is causing serious injuries to many cats, according to a Huddersfield vet.

Graham Mills, of Donaldson and Partners, is seeing more and more cats in his surgery who have been injured as a result of wearing elasticated collars.

The felines get their paws through the collar when grooming and then try to get it off, often fitting their whole leg through the loop.

When the limb becomes stuck, it causes severe pain, skin damage and even damage to nerves and blood supply.

In several cases, Mr Mills has had to amputate legs from cats.

He said: “The cat is in a lot of pain.

“They often run off in panic and hide. They are usually found several days later and are brought in to us by people who find them or the RSPCA.

“It is something we see regularly. Sometimes we have very few, then a couple a month.

“In the past couple of months, we have had six cases.”

Mr Mills recommends that owners steer clear of elasticated collars.

They can fit normal collars and ensure they are not loose.

But Mr Mills suggests the best option is to collars with safety clasps.

These fit tightly on to the cat’s neck, but undo if the cat catches them on branches or fences while roaming outside.

Mr Mills also urged owners to make sure their pets are microchipped.

“We have a lot of cases where the cat has no ID or no microchip. We can’t find the owner and we have to rehome them.”

Mr Mills has just treated tomcat Chivers, who suffered an injury as result of his elastic collars.

Donaldson and Partners staff are currently trying to trace Chivers’ owners, but if they cannot, he will be cared for by cat fosterers until a permanent home can be found.

Mr Mills said sometimes owners do not keep their details up to date on the microchip database, meaning even if the cat is chipped it cannot be returned.

“In some cases, cats are microchipped but when we have scanned the database, the owners have moved and not updated their records.

“I would urge people to make sure their cats are microchipped and ensure their details are up to date on the system.”