I Know You...Pet IdentificationPublished February 28, 2008
More than eight million pets are lost each year. Without identification 90 percent won't return home. Cats are underserved in this respect, too. Maybe it's because responsible owners keep kitties inside and don't think identification is needed. But an indoor cat that gets out becomes frightened, runs blocks or miles away if chased by a strange dog, or hides for days (even weeks!) under the porch because she's so scared. Cats that are lucky and end up in a shelter can be recovered--but only if there's some form of identification so the staff knows to contact you. There are several options available for giving your cat a fighting chance to come home. Tattoos probably aren't used very often because you must first shave the fur--and who wants to shave off that glorious coat? Once the fur grows in, the tattoo becomes hidden. Tags are visible and probably the easiest for a good Samaritan to notice. Products like KoogaTag bring high-tech help to pet identification. This tiny USB tag that attaches to your pet's collar can hold reams of information directly from your computer. But many cats hate wearing collars and slip out of them. Microchips have a great advantage. They're permanent, the cat can't lose a microchip, and the shelter can scan a 'chipped cat to immediately find the owner. The microchip, embedded in surgical glass about the size of a grain of rice, is injected beneath the pet's skin in the shoulder region. Even tiny kittens can be 'chipped and don't react any worse than when they're vaccinated. Chips are read using a hand-held scanner over the shoulder region. AVID, Bayer Animal Health, and HomeAgain as well as AKC-Companion Animal Recovery offer various additional benefits with pet enrollment in their respective databases. You supply the information that goes onto the chip and the information also is kept by a database. There are many pet recovery databases available, and some only register certain brands of microchips while others, like the AKC-CAR and ScoringPets.com register all kinds of microchips, tags and tattoos. Do your homework! Find what works best for your kitties.
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