National Pet ID Week – April 16-22
One in three pets will go missing in its lifetime, and only 10% will ever be reunited with its owner. We are encouraging all pet owners to ensure their pets have proper identification. Even if your pet is “indoors” only, accidents happen. Having proper identification is also important in the case of fire and natural or man-made disasters. In the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina, thousands of pets were unable to be reunited with their families.
A collar and tag are the most basic means of identification. All pets, including indoor pets, should be equipped with these. Cat collars should be of the breakaway variety. Cats have a tendency to get into tight spots, climb trees, jump fences, etc. If their collar should get caught, it should breakaway to prevent the cat from choking. A properly fitted collar will allow you to slip one to two fingers between the collar and pet. While collars are the first line of defense, they are not foolproof.
Microchipping is a permanent form of identification. A small bead about the size of a grain of rice is implanted under the pet’s skin. The chip has unique id number encoded into it that is registered to your pet. The chip can quickly and easily be implanted by your veterinarian. It is a simple procedure, very similar to giving a vaccine injection. When a microchip is scanned the scanner responds with the unique id number and a phone number for the scanning party to call to get the owner’s contact information. Scanners are located at all animal shelters, and ideally any pet will be scanned upon arrival. Many veterinary practices also have scanners.
The chip should be registered in a national registry. The registration fee is usually included in the price of the microchip. An owner must remember to update this information if moving or changing emergency contact information. Some registration companies will send email reminders to owners prompting updated information. Pets with microchips are twenty times more likely to be reunited with their families.
Tattooing is more common in dogs. Due to the cat's nature, anesthesia is probably required for tattooing, making it a less attractive option. Tattoos may fade over time and fur may grow over the tattoo making it hard to find. It is also more difficult to update your personal information.
Your veterinarian is the best resource; so, speak to yours about the pros and cons of each type of identification.
Taken in part from the CATalyst Council Bulletin