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by Rolan Tripp, DVM and Susan Tripp, MS

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 Identification - Give your cat a ticket home!

Why worry?

What do people say when their cat is lost?  They say that this is the first time my cat has ever escaped the house or left the yard. Heartbroken families cannot believe their beloved cat is missing.


If they could go back in time, they would make sure their cat had an identification tag, maybe even a chip - regardless of cost. It is certainly worth preventing heartache and the worry that the cat may be hit by a car and suffering at the side of the road and there is no way for anyone to let them know.


Unfortunately, cats that arrive at shelters without identification may be kept one week whereas those with identification may be kept up to one month before adopted out or euthanized.


What to do?

Don't risk your cat disappearing without proper identification. Put a break-away collar and ID tag on your cat. 

If you have an outdoor cat, placing a bell on the collar may help scare birds away to prevent your cat bringing home a dead or dying bird as a present for you.

Although anesthesia in not required for the placement of a chip, it does make the process pain-free as the chip that is injected under the pet's skin is about the size of a grain of rice.


Implanting an electronic identification chip (also known as a microchip) is the best way to provide manent identification for your cat. By registering with the microchip manufacturer, your cat will have his or her own unique number and information on a national database.

If your pet is lost and then found by an animal control department, animal welfare organization, animal hospital or shelter, you are more likely to be called if there is a chip that shows up in a scan.

I'll take a chip with that surgery

The best time to implant a microchip is when the pet is altered or having anesthesia for another procedure such as a dental or ear flush. If
the pet is already spayed or neutered, the microchip injection can be done safely by a veterinarian. Many animal welfare organizations and animal shelters also offer this service.

Although anesthesia in not required for the placement of a microchip, it does make the process pain-free as the chip that is injected under the pet's skin is the size of a grain of rice.

Traditional collar and identification tag

In addition to the microchip, to be on the safe side, at a minimum, write your phone number on
the cat's nylon collar and be sure that the collar cannot slip over your cat's head. Write current phone numbers on the tag. Reflective tags are better seen at night. and may help prevent the cat from being hit by a car due to low visibility.

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