Cambrian: Opinion

Microchipping helps locate wandering cats

HART’s medical director, Evelyn Zanella, scans newly adopted Taylor’s microchip. Happily settling into his new home, Taylor was adopted in April.
HART’s medical director, Evelyn Zanella, scans newly adopted Taylor’s microchip. Happily settling into his new home, Taylor was adopted in April.

A good Samaritan and a microchip scanner achieved a miraculous homecoming for a cat named Slate. Found wandering and homeless, he was taken to the Bilbray Animal Hospital, where a microchip scan quickly led to his owner. She revealed that Slate had been missing for five years! At long last, Slate was returned home to share a remarkable and joyful reunion with his delighted owner. (Georgian Triangle Humane Society, http://bit.ly/2qlLw2x).

The microchipping process: A microchip is a small electronic device about the size of a grain of rice. In a relatively simple procedure, a veterinarian uses a hypodermic needle to insert a microchip under the pet’s skin, between its shoulder blades. Because the “shot” causes very little pain, sedation is not required. When scanned, the microchip reveals a unique ID number that can be traced back to the pet’s owner.

Return-to-owner rates: Microchipping significantly increases the chances of reunifying lost pets with their owners. In a study of more than 7,700 stray animals (Lord et al, JAVMA, July 15, 2009), return-to-owner rates for microchipped vs. unmicrochipped pets were 21.4 times as great for cats, and 2.4 times as great for dogs.

Should indoor-only pets be microchipped? Definitely. Doors or gates get left open, emergencies and natural disasters happen, and pets get away. ID tags are also vital. As Petfinder states,

“… a microchip, a collar and ID tag will get a dog or cat home most rapidly.” (http://bit.ly/2qlLw2x).

Microchips, cats, and HART: Using a microchip scanner, HART’s medical director now scans all cats taken in. Strays without ID tags or microchips are sent to Animal Services for a five-day stray hold. If not claimed or adopted during that time, HART takes them back to be microchipped and cared for until adopted. All HART adoptees are microchipped, but owners are responsible for the essential step of registering their pets’ microchips: Unregistered microchips are ineffective in locating a lost pet’s owner.

Blooming Cats HART adoption special

Now in the midst of its Blooming Cats adoption special (April 15 to May 15), HART is offering a reduced adoption fee of $11 for cats and kittens 7 months or older. All adoptees have been spayed/neutered, have been microchipped and are up to date on vaccinations. The adoption package includes a bag of kibble, a HART ID tag, and a free “wellness exam” from a local veterinarian.

This quarterly column is special to The Cambrian. Visit HART’s no-kill shelter at 2638 Main St., phone 805-927-7377 or email warmhearts@slohart.org or visit www.slohart.org.

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