Alley Cat Allies Launches Plan to Scan® Campaign to Save Cats’ Lives

BETHESDA, MD—A new Alley Cat Allies campaign is raising awareness that too many companion cats and feral, or community cats are still not being scanned for microchips, resulting in many of them being killed without any benefit from the life-saving information available from microchips.

“More cats are being microchipped, but the information from the microchips can only help return them to their homes if they’re scanned before shelters impound cats,” said Becky Robinson, president and founder of Alley Cat Allies. “Since 70 percent of all cats who enter animal control pounds and shelters are killed, it’s truly a matter of life and death to remind veterinary staff and animal control officers to scan for microchips more often.”

Microchips are a permanent ID tag—a single microchip can last a cat’s entire life. Implantation is quick, simple, inexpensive, essentially painless, and virtually stress-free for animals. Each microchip has a unique number to access contact information about the cat’s caregiver or owner from an online database.

Alley Cat Allies, which is the nation’s leading advocate for cats, launched the “Plan to Scan” campaign to encourage people to get cats microchipped, register the microchip, plan to scan for microchips and look up the information available from each microchip.

Microchips help reunite community cats with their caregivers and outdoor families. They also help cats who live indoors with people to come home. Cats who have microchips are over 20 times more likely than those without them to be reunited with their families.
Benefits of Scanning

While saving the lives of cats is the most important benefit, scanning has other positive outcomes, as well. By scanning and identifying a cat, her time in a shelter is decreased, which lowers the cat’s stress, saves money for the shelter and makes room for other animals in need.

Cats who are scanned in the field may not even need to be impounded in the first place, allowing animal control officers to focus on other priorities.

Microchip Recommendations

Alley Cat Allies offers these recommendations to get the best use from microchips:

  • Veterinarians should encourage clients to have animals microchipped. Microchipping should be included in Trap-Neuter-Return initiatives, if possible. Where resources allow, low-cost microchipping clinics can also be organized to reach more cats.
  • Cat owners and caregivers should make sure to register microchips, including their contact information, and to update that contact information in the registry if it changes. Some registries charge a fee, while others are free.
  • Animal control officers, shelter employees and volunteers and veterinary staff should plan to scan cats for microchips when they come into shelters or clinics or are found outdoors. To serve as a reminder, Alley Cat Allies has developed a downloadable guide for how to scan companion and community cats for microchips.

When a microchip is found, Alley Cat Allies recommends finding the registry the microchip is registered to by visiting the American Animal Hospital Association’s Universal Pet Microchip Lookup ( The microchip code can then be entered to find contact information for the caregiver or owner, or the registry can be called directly.

Visit for more information, including a guide on how to scan for a microchip and a fact sheet explaining how microchipping saves lives.


About Alley Cat Allies

Alley Cat Allies, headquartered in Bethesda, Md., is the only advocacy organization dedicated to the protection and humane treatment of cats. Founded in 1990, today Alley Cat Allies has more than 650,000 supporters and helps tens of thousands of individuals, communities, and organizations save and improve the lives of millions of cats and kittens worldwide. Its website is, and Alley Cat Allies is active on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Google+ and YouTube.


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Media Contact:
Peter Osborne