It’s 10 p.m. Do you know where your cat is? One of a pet owner’s worst fears is what might happen if their beloved furbaby gets lost. This fear is especially sharp when your indoor only pet escapes into the wilds of the outdoors. Domesticated cats and dogs who live the majority of their lives inside are especially ill-equipped to survive outside. (Recent studies have shown that the brains of domesticated cats are actually getting smaller than those of their wild ancestors.)
So when a house pet finds itself in the out of doors for the first time, they don’t necessarily automatically know how to survive. I love my cat, but I will freely admit she is a spoiled little fur princess who would likely get her butt kicked by a butterfly if she ever found herself alone outside. Yes, cats and dogs have natural instincts, but so do humans. Consider it like this…we descended from cavemen. Doesn’t mean you could drop a life-long city dweller into the woods and expect them to know how to find food or protect themselves.
Thus, a scary situation for everyone. Luckily, a simple and effective way to increase your pet’s chances of being reunited with you exists…microchipping.
This simple and cheap procedure costs under $100 in most places and is often done the same time your pet is spayed/neutered. And the simple little chip drastically improves your pet’s chances of making it home to you. A study of nearly 8000 lost dogs showed that only 21% of those without a microchip were returned to their owners, whereas 52% of microchipped dogs were successfully reunited. The same study found that cats with a chip were returned home 38% of the time, and those without a microchip were reunited less than 2% of the time.
Microchips are about the size of a grain of rice, cause your pet no discomfort and, unlike traditional collars and tags (which are also a good idea) your pet can’t lose their microchip. It stays under their skin (between the shoulder blades) for their entire lives. Standard practice in most vet clinics and shelters is to scan lost pets for a chip.
Each chip contains an identification number unique to your pet. It is inactive until scanned as it emits no power and requires no batteries. Once scanned, the chip is activated and provides the vet with your pet’s ID number. From that, they can find the owner’s info and pet and person are reunited. And that’s a happy ending for everyone.