A warning about pet collars and cage confinement

I almost decided against writing this article for PoC because it tells of the tragic death of a crated dog. Then I got to thinking a bit. A lot of my cat loving friends also have dogs. Many run rescues, and it’s routine to “crate train” a dog before offering it for adoption. Cats are often quarantined for a few weeks, many times in cages. So when I read about this sweet dog dying because his owner didn’t realize the danger of having on a collar in a cage, I had to share it with as many people as possible. Please distribute this article to your cat and dog loving friends, in the hopes it can save a life.

Cat Crate

Cat Crate

Dog Crate

Dog Crate

I’ve included a photo of a dog crate and a cat crate. The cat crate is identical to the ones we use here at home. Our cats on special diets eat in a cage, then the door is opened for them to come out once they finish their meal. The cages are representative of the standard used for the purpose of crating, training and quarantining a pet. Now for what happened.



Orion was a Great Pyrenees, only 7 months old and nearly 100 pounds. His owners would place him in a crate while they were at work. This is common practice in the United States. Most dogs actually stay calmer and enjoy the experience. Today his pet parents returned from work and found Orion dead. He had somehow gotten his cage unlatched and his collar had tangled up in the latch, and he choked to death. Some friends of Orion’s mom suggested a break away collar be used if you crate your dog, but these can also break away if you have a rambunctious, high-spirited animals. You don’t want the collar to break away while walking a dog, and it would be trouble for some to constantly change collars.

It’s recommended to take the time to remove the collar completely before crating your pet.

I’m writing this because we’ve had a similar problem when Sealy was living in a cage. He was wearing a collar just in case he managed to sneak out the door. We were afraid he’d manage to get out, and whoever found him wouldn’t realize he was a special cat, despite the missing ear.

Sealys collar was made of a stretchy material, and would come off in the cage if it latched onto something. Since Sealy doesn’t deal with closed cages except for eating his meals, it’s not an issue for us anymore. Our cat Jasper can open the latch on a wire cage in less than half an hour. He’s been put in there at times while Laura cooks, because he likes to be underfoot (or should I say on the kitchen counter) while Laura preps the food. So I can see where a cat collar could be dangerous to a caged cat.

A lot of my friends are in rescue, meaning they crate the dogs and cats they have up for adoption and take them to local pet stores on the weekend for adoption events. While I assume it would be rare for an animal to become entangled on the way to an event, since most are close to where the pets are being kept in a home environment, it could be an issue for dogs and cats being transported to other parts of the country. These animals must be checked on a regular basis, should the unthinkable happen. I’ve heard of many animals dying while on transport recently, but I don’t believe this was the issue with those.

I was glad a friend of mine passed this information along to me. I’ve always known not to put a dog on a chain inside of a fenced in yard because dogs have literally hanged themselves when trying to jump over the fence. The problem of strangulation with a collar in a cage is something I’d never heard of until today. I feel for the family of this sweet dog, who will likely blame themselves for years to come. It was a tragic accident, and one I hope this article will prevent from happening.

If you must crate a cat or dog in a wire cage, please remove the collar first. It only takes a few seconds to take the collar off and put it back on when the animal is let out of the cage. A few seconds that can save a life.

Please feel free to leave a comment, and be sure to mention any similar problems you’ve heard of involving crates or cages.


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A warning about pet collars and cage confinement — 43 Comments

  1. It took me years to find the perfect collars but eventually I did. They are very soft, no hard edges, and like yours, Elisa, on Sealy, they are stretchy and will come off easily when stretched. This means I don’t keep replacing them but that they are safe and comfortable. They are reflective too, which is the most important thing.

    As much as I’d love to avoid collars altogether, once a cat is outside, a collar is the the only thing the cat has to protect it.

  2. I’ve known about the things collars can get caught on since before I got my cat enclosure. Neither the cats or my dogs have EVER been crated with a collar. The cats aren’t good at wearing collars, so they just don’t. Tummy(my service puppy) is growing too quickly to wear a collar when she’s not working or outside, so I don’t leave it on her.

  3. I can’t for the life of me understand why anyone would go to the trouble of getting a cat or dog and then have to keep it in a crate/cage. What is the point, why not get a budgie? Why not in fact train your dog to behave properly in the home and let your cat do what cats do in the home. The family pets I have known have been two big dogs and nine cats and none of them have ever behaved badly enough to be put in a crate, nor have the cats and dogs of friends or wider family but I know one side of us the two small dogs are so badly behaved they are put in a cage when left alone, this really shocks me, what is going on these days when people are no longer able to train their pets, is it laziness or something in the air that also affects youths who also seem to have no discipline these days?

    • I know what you mean, Barbara.
      The thought of ever crating a pet never occured to me, but it seems common today. I know more than a few people who do that while at work. It’s, especially, done with dogs.
      I think it’s total laziness because training isn’t that hard. It takes time and devotion. Any person not willing to put those forward doesn’t care.

      • I agree Dee, and just think how the animal must feel part of every day, about 8 hours at least if the owner is at work, in a cage what can they do apart from bark ands sleep? I would imagine the poor things would come to dread it. It is laziness you’re right and if these people only knew that by not bothering to train their pets they are missing out on so much, and surely a dog that is so out of control that it has to be caged when alone must be a damn nuisance to say the least.

      • Can’t see the point of keeping a dog if it revolves around keeping him/her in a cage during the working day. It seems totally against the rules of decent and sensible behavior. No real life for the dog. I guess the cynical will say it is better than being gassed in a shelter.

      • Yes a good point Michael, the frustration of being confined for a number of hours every day must be awful for the dogs, surely and is sure to result in stress related habits like constant barking and maybe over grooming (do dogs do that?) and peeing, I really am sorry for them, but a dog barking non stop makes one dislike the dog as well as the owner.

    • I’m the same. Had a boxer and he slept wherever when I was gone. Cats are. Only crated to eat special food or when one is really sick so we can keep track of it. Our cat-dog Cujo is never crated unless he jumps in an open cage for a nap.

      • That’s what our dogs used to do Elisa, climb onto the settee and have a good long nap while we were out, and it’s what Walter and Jozef do now. People make me laugh, they say their cat or dog is part of the family and yet have no hesitation in incarcerating them in a wire box like tidied away toys when they have other things to do, they should put their kids in a crate too, save a fortune on childcare LOL.

  4. I read this article earlier but went to cool off because the words collars, cages and crates when used in conjunction with cats, just infuriate me.
    To think of any beautiful animal fettered or confined upsets me deeply and yes I know collars have a use at times in this world we live in nowadays, but I can’t help finding it sad that cats have lost their freedom and their rights more and more as the years go by.

    • You wouldn’t like seeing a breeder’s facilities. The cages are often fairly small and that is their life. One reason (there are many others) why cat and dog breeding cannot be justified.

      • That would kill me to see, Michael.
        I would have to enlist some people (maybe one would be me) to break in and free them. I wouldn’t be able to stand it.

      • That would kill me to see, Michael.
        I would have to enlist some people (maybe one would be me) to break in and free them. I wouldn’t be able to stand it.

      • Michael, the “rescuer” I got Rosie and Leigh from a few years ago took me to her basement where she had cages in a dark room full of cats. The ones who wouldn’t fit in the basement were in a 16×20 air conditioned/heated storage building. I could have cried, but she’s been in “rescue” for more than 20 years.

        • The reality hits us hard. I hate hearing about that sort of thing. It is interesting she is “doing good” as she is rescuing cats while at the same time treating the cats badly. I can’t reconcile those two activities. My guess is she does it for dollars and if so she should not be in cat rescue. I may have misinterpreted the situation, however.

          • I don’t even know whether she does it for money. I didn’t feel I had the right to tell her how to run her rescue. I could have purchased a shed for the cats, but I want the cats near me. I can’t see just sticking them in a building by themselves any more than I can see keeping them in cages. You need to look at my secretary album on Facebook. I have a cat helper almost every day.

  5. i dont have any collars which i know i prob should get. I love the idea of reflective collars. Thankfully where i live my cats dont go far only mostly across the road to nxt door neighbours house, dont know whts over there must be something amazing for the cats.

  6. first time i put a collar on cassy which had a magnat on it. she ripped it off straight away. i keep trying to replace those magnets as we had a magnet cat flap. But gave up after she kept losing them.

  7. i dont agree with the idea about cats being in cages long time. I do realise some animals like being in cages but only time i wouold use a cage is when taking them to the vet which they hate soooo much.

    • Well we have no choice but to use carrying baskets to go to the vets but that’s a long way different to shutting a cat in a cage in the home isn’t it.

      • Yep it is. To put a cat in a cage permantly is Cruety i beleive. Even in the home i let my cats rome anywhere in the house. As they are family. In winter they are always inside i refuse to let them be out in the cold. i know some people who make sure at night the cat is outside and even worse in winter to make them outside which i think is cruel but i guess i just love my cats too much.

        • I don’t think you can love a cat too much Kylee, and part of loving them is taking care of them physically, keeping them warm, well fed and entertained. I can never understand why people think it’s ok to put the cat out at night, it used to be tradition just like only giving a cat milk and letting them hunt for food, but it’s not very kind is it? It drives me mad if I see a cat wandering about in the night, it makes me wonder if the owner is warm and snug in bed while the cat looks for shelter.

  8. i agree yea it makes me sooo mad when people put cats outside esp in winter. Thats what i love so much about Poc is we are all such big cat people, its great to share our similar experiences together.

  9. You know I shared this article with Orion’s mom because I wanted her to see that maybe her story could save another dogs life but someone asked me to remove it because they didn’t think it would be healing for her to see the mean, negative comments. I was a little upset at them and told them why I shared the article & that I had not read any comments but I would remove it. Wow, I’m glad I did. I personally don’t use a crate because I don’t have to. I’m fortunate that my dog is able to go to work with me so my dog nor cat is ever alone. But if it would keep my puppy safe, remember Orion was still a puppy, while I was away by all means I would do it. We don’t know how many hours they worked. They may have only worked part time or may have come home during lunch to check on Orion. Maybe when they first got Orion one of them didn’t have to work but their situation changed. We don’t know their story. My best friend kept her dog in a crate while they worked but someone was able to come in & check on her every couple of hours. Chloe was never put in the crate while they were home or when they left for a short time but that is where they would find her often. That’s where she slept. It wasn’t closed but she would go in there and sleep anyway. She was a happy, well behaved dog. I don’t think she viewed her ” home” as a prison. I’m sure my dogs wish they could get out of the fence but I have a fence for their protection. Do y’all not approve of a fence either? I shared the original story with people in hopes of saving others the pain they are going through. Never would I have wanted to expose her to criticism. You don’t think she feels guilty enough? Also remember, crate training is highly recommended on numerous websites and by trainers. They were probably doing what they were told would be the best & safest for their dog. Hindsight is 20/20. Smh. I hope and pray she didn’t see these comments. One should never judge someone unless they have walked in their shoes.

    • That’s why I didn’t mention her name in the article. Someone always sounds judgemental whether they are or not. I lost one of the great loves of my life last year when he passed out in the road. Commentors judged him as a bum and a drunk. He was the kindest man I ever knew and suffered seizures brought about by a head injury from a wreck. I was with him during a few of them and he’d just fall backward and be unconscious for about ten minutes.

      I’ve done a few articles on accidental ways to harm or kill a cat and just wanted to warn people about crating because most of my friends in rescue do this.

  10. What I can’t understand is anyone getting a large breed puppy, knowing that it would have to be left alone for long hours, thinking it would be happy being confined in a cage!
    We can hear the frustration of the dogs next door barking hour after hour in their cages in the kitchen while their owners are at work, they are certainly not ‘content and enjoying it’ and they’re just small dogs. Those people shouldn’t have dogs!
    The other side are two also confined, at least they have a kennel each with a run but they are still frustrated at being enclosed.
    Thankfully we don’t hear of many cats or dogs caged here, apart from in Sanctuaries and it’s sad enough to see those poor creatures unwanted and denied their freedom.
    It’s a cruel rotten world for many animals that’s for sure!

  11. While I’m sure Orion’s owner is sad and upset at his death I am more sorry for the dog, a pup in a crate seems wrong to me on so many levels and I don’t need advice from websites or trainers to tell me that confining a young animal in a wire box is unnatural. I have seen some very realistic inanimate toy dogs, people who want to bother with their dogs only some of the time should buy one of these and when they’re finished playing, have to go out or want to direct their attentions elsewhere could then put the toy back into the cardboard box, a real live dog doesn’t belong in a box.

  12. http://m.youtube.com/watch?feature=youtu.be&v=J16K79QMAIc

    If possible. I’d like to share a video of Orion. To an outsider looking in, he looks loved to me. I personally don’t know this family but I feel for them. I have a Great Pyrenees as well. He was an unexpected gift as was my maltichon. Neither of which I would trade for anything in this world. I was totally unprepared for the level of care a dog like a Great Pyrenees requires but I did and do the best I can. I’m not defending crating a dog, I’m just not understanding why everyone has to be so tough on the family. Had someone advised her differently before he died maybe things would have been different. I don’t know their situation. I believe most people do the best they can & want to keep their pets safe, healthy & happy but mistakes are made and unfortunately accidents happen. There was a lady recently whose Great Pyrenees jumped on to a recliner. When she did a little yorkie was under it and it killed him. People were criticizing her for allowing her dog to get on the furniture, some for having a recliner and some for having a big dog & little dog together. It baffles me. Maybe I try to see the good in people & think of their loss and not their mistakes. Lord knows I’ve made my share of mistakes. Thankfully it’s never cost me someone or something I loved. I don’t know. When I have questions about how to handle a problem with one of my fur babies, I will sometimes look it up online. I have posted on a public forum before seeking advice from others but is not always a good idea to do that. People can be judgmental. I’ve said my piece. I wish you all well. I usually don’t speak up when I see negative comments but I guess because I was one of the 1st people to share her story & encourage her to share it in an effort to save others, I feel responsible. Lesson learned.

  13. Quote:
    under no circumstances should you confine your dog to a crate as a method of dog-proofing—that’s just the lazy way and can cause serious health and behavior problems, such as phobias, aggression, separation anxiety, and self-mutilation. The word “crate” is simply a euphemism for “cage.” And dogs shouldn’t live in cages, period.

  14. Our Maltese Darla was terrified of rain. And thunder. And lightening. And noise. She would go in her Pet Taxi when she got scared and it seemed to calm her. I wonder if it calm dogs or just makes them worse.

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