Click here to learn more.
Vetstreet. All rights reserved.
Vetstreet does not provide medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. See Additional Information ›
License tags have long been the standard means for identifying dogs. Cats, however, have never been big tag wearers. Outdoor cats tend to catch their collars (and tags) on tree branches and other things, so many collars are purposefully made to break away. That makes tags almost useless, as well as expensive to replace. Indoor cats tend to remain collarless because their owners assume they won't get out the door. That assumption is too often wrong, however.
A few owners at one time tattooed their cats with an identification number, as was done with dogs, but the process was stressful and not always successful in the awake cat. Even when it worked, the tattoo often blurred with age, and it was frequently as difficult to read the tattoo as it was to place it!
Now microchips have added a better option. Microchips are tiny radio-frequency identification (RFID) chips, about the size of a grain of rice. Your veterinarian implants the chip using what looks much like a big hypodermic needle. The chip is placed under the cat's skin on the back between the shoulder blades. Most cats do not even react during the process, which is much like getting a vaccination.
You must register the chip number with the company that makes the chip, so that if your cat is found, it can be traced back to you. The chip must be read using a special scanner, which most veterinarians and shelters own. At one time, scanners were chip-specific, with chips from different manufacturers requiring separate scanners, but now universal scanners can read all modern chip types. The scanner is passed over the cat's back and sides, and the chip, if present, will transmit the chip's identification number to the scanner. The rescuer then contacts the national database, which in turn contacts the cat's owner. It is believed that more than 600,000 pets have been reunited with their owners as a result of microchips. Not only are chips valuable for returning lost pets but for proving ownership.
Like this article? Have a point of view to share? Let us know!
Thank you for subscribing to Petwire. Look for the latest newsletter each Wednesday.
Whale-watching crews spotted the fourth
baby killer whale of the season in the
waters off Washington State.
It’s a scary thing to think about, but here’s
what you can do to prepare for choking,
seizures or other common…
You're not a bad pet owner if your dog
doesn't know sit, down or come. But
these commands can be really helpful.
Being overweight raises your feline’s risk
of serious problems like joint injuries,
diabetes and surgical…
Before you buy chicks or ducklings for
your kids' Easter baskets, make sure you
know what you're getting yourself…
Want to find out how well your cat or dog is digesting his food? Well, our vet says the proof is in your pet's poop.
The active and playful Devon Rex’s high cheekbones and slender build make her look like a top feline model.
If the video doesn't start playing momentarily,
please install the latest version of Flash.
Thank you for subscribing.