The week of April 20, 2014 is National Pet ID week. As a veterinarian, I have seen situations with happy endings where cats were reunited with their family after being lost for several weeks to many months. They were found and identified because they carried a microchip under the skin. Here’s a sad statistic: in 2010, the Canadian national average rate of lost cat return-to-owner was less than 4%. Identification greatly improves the odds – the microchipped cat has a 20 times higher chance of being reunited with its owner!
All cats should have both permanent (microchip or tattoo) and visual (break-away collar with ID tag) forms of identification. At the cat hospitals, we will provide you with an ID tag for your cat’s collar when your cat receives a rabies vaccination. Remember indoor cats are at risk of getting lost too: a door left open by mistake, a fire alarm, or other emergency situations. Most humane societies, veterinary clinics, and shelters scan lost pets for microchips. Be sure to keep your contact information (e.g., email, address, phone numbers) up to date with the microchip company so your cat can be reunited with you.
A microchip is a small object (the size of a small grain of rice). The implantation is minimally invasive, painless, and well tolerated without the need for sedation. It can be done during regular veterinary visits, or at the time of routine surgeries (such as spay or neuter, and dentistry). We are about to start a new program using a mini microchip that is one-third the size of traditional microchips. With every minichip placed, the company makes a donation to breast cancer charities, so everyone wins. The cost is reasonable, considering the huge benefit of being able to find your cat if it were to become lost!
Your cats will be scanned regularly at our hospital to make sure the chip is in place and functional. The chances of a wonderful and happy reunion with a missing pet are very much improved if your cat has a microchip. Please contact our hospital for more information.
[Dr. Sylvie Nicholson]
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