Why The Oatmeal wants you to treat your cat like a convict

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Why The Oatmeal wants you to treat your cat like a convict

Even if you’ve never heard of Matthew Inman, you’ve probably seen his work. He’s the artist and writer behind The Oatmeal, one of the most popular webcomics on the internet. You may have read "The terrible & wonderful reasons why I run long distances" or "What it means when you say literally" or "What it’s like to own an Apple product," which are just three popular examples of his many, many comics.

You may have also heard of his card game, Exploding Kittens. Described as "a car game for people who are into kittens and explosions and laser beams and sometimes goats," Exploding Kittens became the most-backed project on Kickstarter earlier this year. It’s also the third-most funded project in Kickstarter history.

Now, Inman wants to tackle the problem of lost cats. According to Inman’s latest comic, seven million pets go missing every year. Out of that, 26% of dogs are reported and make their way back to their owners, but less than 5% of cats are ever found. You know the classic image of the firefighter saving a cat stuck in a tree? Turns out, that’s very unlikely, since most people will assume it’s an outdoor cat anyway.

Most people never put a collar on their indoor cats. Why would they, right? They never go outside. But if they ever do escape outside, there’s no way to immediately identify that they’re lost. Instead, they just look like any old skittish outdoor cat.

-> Why am I obsessed with this Japanese cat game?

Inman’s solution? Turn your cat into a convict by throwing a bright orange ID collar on their neck. Besides being easy to see outside, orange is great for branding – it helps get across the idea that these cats aren’t supposed to be outside.

If you own a cat, Inman and the Exploding Kittens team have partnered with GoTags to make customized orange collars at a reasonable price. They can be purchased on Amazon with two custom ID options: a tag or the information embroidered into the collar. (They’re actually so popular that they sold out of their initial stock – keep an eye on their page to see when they can make more.)

The Exploding Kittens team is actually using extra revenue from their game to offer these collars at a reduced price, so put away your pitchforks skeptical cat owners. Of course, you don’t need to buy their collar – any bright orange collar will help get the message across.

And if you’re not a cat owner? Share their page or this article with #KittyConvict on Twitter or Facebook. Awareness is key: we need people to instantly know that this cat is a convict just by seeing an orange collar.

Oh, and dog owners can get in on the fun, too: just grab an orange collar for your dog and let the world know that you’re ready for the Pawshank Redemption.

Remember that a collar is only one tool to help people connect a lost animal to its owner. You should also get your animal microchipped and keep their registration up-to-date. While not as cheap as a collar – the whole process can cost around $50 – it is valuable for cats and dogs who might break their collar or try to take it off. If you haven’t already, talk to your vet about microchipping next time you visit.