I used to buy regular safety collars for my cats from any convenient local discounter (WalMart, Target, KMart, etc.) or pet store. You know, the woven nylon ones with a bell and an elastic insert? I usually paid from $3.50 to $5.00 each. They actually worked fine for previous cats that I owned, but not so much for my current mix of three tomcats.

These little monsters are always sparring and those collars would be off in a heartbeat and kicked who knows where-- it could be weeks before I'd find it lodged under the sofa or in a heating vent or something, and you know even with indoor cats it's going to be the day they aren't wearing their collar that they run out and get lost (maybe I'm paranoid since it happened to me. . .).

Also, and I don't know if this has anything to do with their horseplay (is it still called horseplay when engaged in by cats?) or not, but the collars would also get fuzzed up beyond all recognition from their scratching, they looked disastrous. Which is probably how a little boy cat wants it, I imagine it's the same chromosome that makes their human counterparts think an old T-shirt fraying at the collar, with oil stains, is appropriate dinner attire. But I digress.

A friend recommended Beastie Bands collars, and I have been using them ever since. There is no elastic insert because the collar material has some give in it. But it's not all elastic, since that wouldn't be safe, either. They're made of some kind of foam-ish material. And they come in all kinds of cute prints. There are a few more sophisticated prints (at one point my cats were all quite handsome when I outfit them all in various colors of "Tribal Tattoo"), but I would definitely classify the majority as cute.

They are a little more expensive than standard collars, but since they really stay on very well and look better for longer I think they're worth it. They don't have a buckle for fit, they just velcro to themselves. You might think this wouldn't hold up to active cat activity, but it really does. And I think the cats tolerate a slightly snugger fit since there is no metal buckle, but I wouldn't say I put these collars on tightly, there's still plenty of room to scratch the cats beneath them without stretching the collar. But they do seem to stay on the cats more persistently.

Not that they're miracle collars or anything. The cats will still lose their collars from time to time, and they'll still wind up hidden behind furniture where I can't find them. And they don't last forever, eventually regular cat wear and tear cause the edges to fray and little nicks develop in the foam. But I do think they're a step up from the alternative.

They're available in many pet stores now, and also over the internet. Back in November 2007 I did an exhaustive price analysis, and determined that the best value is online from The Cat Connection. They're $6.95 each with free shipping. I just ordered some more today (not because the ones I got in November are worn out, but because I'm tired of seeing the cats walking around in snowmen collars. . .) and the price is still the same. If I recall correctly, there were other sites with lower prices, but when including shipping charges my total cost was lowest at Cat Connection. If you order other pet supplies at the same time you order collars, the economics might be different for you.