Microchips Save Lives
More and more cats are getting microchipped, and that’s great news! Microchip implantation is quick, simple, inexpensive, essentially painless, and virtually stress-free for animals. A veterinarian implants a microchip through a quick injection, like a routine vaccination. No anesthetic is required. Plus, microchips are a permanent ID tag – a single microchip can last a cat’s full lifespan! Microchips can save lives by helping reunite lost pets with their family or community cats with their colony.
Microchips increase the chances of companion cats being reunited with their families. Microchipped cats are reunited with their family 38.5% of the time, compared to just 1.8% of the time if not microchipped.
Microchips increase the chances of community cats being returned to the correct colony. Microchips allow shelters to locate caregivers if a cat is brought in. Cats have a bond with their outdoor family—their fellow cats and sometimes their caregivers. Therefore, it is very important to return community cats to their specific outdoor home.
Take these three steps to save cats’ lives with the help of microchips:
- Get Cats Microchipped
Cats can be microchipped during a simple veterinary visit. Microchipping is also sometimes offered as part of Trap-Neuter-Return initiatives, although it is often and dependent on resources. Low-cost microchipping clinics, where members of the public are invited to have the animals they care for microchipped for a reduced fee, are also becoming more and more common. Contact your local veterinarian, animal shelter, rescue, or Trap-Neuter-Return organization for microchipping services near you.
- Register the Microchip
Don’t forget to register the microchip with your contact information too! If the microchip is not registered, or if the information is out of date, whoever finds the cat will not be able to contact you. You can either register with the microchip company, that may charge registration or annual fees, or with a free database, such as Found Animals Registry, which is a nonprofit service. Registering the microchip will help veterinarians and shelters find your contact information when a cat has been found.
Note: If a cat is already microchipped and registered to someone else, remember to contact the registry to update with your information. (Example: If you are adopting a cat you may need to update the contact information for the cat’s microchip from the previous owner, or rescue organization.)
- Plan to Scan for Microchips
Shelters and veterinarians have an essential part to play in helping microchips save cats’ lives. Animal control officers, shelter employees and volunteers, and veterinary staff are trusted in their communities to help in reuniting lost or stray cats with their caregivers. Scanning cats for microchips when they enter shelters, are brought to a veterinary clinic, or are found outdoors can save their lives. Alley Cat Allies has developed protocols and procedures to help:
When a microchip is found, go to American Animal Hospital Association’s Universal Pet Microchip Lookup to see which registry the microchip is registered under. (http://www.petmicrochiplookup.org/ ) Once you’ve found the registry, call the registry, or go to their website to find contact information for the animal’s owner.
If the microchip is not registered to anyone, of if the information is not current, call the microchip manufacturer to ask to whom the chip was sold. This can provide a starting point to track down an owner. Even caring people often forget to update their contact information.
With the help of caregivers, shelters, and veterinary staff microchips can be lifesaving for cats.