CAT owners are being warned about ‘dangerous’ collars which could leave felines with fatal injuries.

It comes after almost 100 incidents involving cats injured by their own collars have been reported to the RSPCA since the start of the year.

Between May and July, there were more than 50 reports and 26 of those were reported to the RSPCA in May alone.

Three-year-old tortoiseshell cat Nugget suffered from a large wound in her armpit after getting her leg stuck in her collar - possibly for weeks.

Chunks of fur and skin were pulled off when the collar was finally cut loose.

A quick release collar is designed to snap open when tugged with sufficient force and can ensure that a cat is released from its collar if they become stuck.

Elasticated collars, or collars with buckles which do not release without human help, can leave cats struggling to free themselves when their legs become stuck - causing horrific injuries.

One-year-old black and white cat, named Brian by RSPCA staff, was found in Brierley Hill in the West Midlands with his front leg trapped in his collar.

The poor cat was limping with the collar cutting into his armpit.

Animal collection officer Shaun Howden was called to the scene after a member of the public found the cat and tried to cut him free from his collar, but Brian became scared and ran away.

“I managed to contain him and cut the collar off. He was clearly in a lot of discomfort as the collar had got stuck and ended up around his armpit,” Shaun said.

“The collar was embedded into an infected wound and it looked and smelt quite bad.”

Brian is now recovering at Birmingham’s Newbrook Farm Animal Centre where his injury is being treated.

Alice Potter, RSPCA cat welfare expert, said: “These stories serve as an important reminder to cat owners to only use quick release collars on their pets as other collars can be lethal.

“All too often we get called to cats that have become injured due to a collar as there are too many dangerous collars on sale. We would strongly advise against purchasing a collar with buckles that don’t snap open, or collars made from elastic.

“The majority of flea collars are also not advisable as they do not have safety buckles, so we would encourage pet owners to prioritise safety first and give your cat flea treatment another way.

“Cats are natural hunters and curious explorers that enjoy climbing trees or pushing through tight spots, and for these reasons it is imperative that any collar is designed to free the cat should they become snagged during their adventures.

“The most reliable way to identify your cat is to have them microchipped rather than having a collar and tag which may fade over time, or hinder them when they explore.”