Cat Identification Tags and Microchips

Have you ever considered what would happen to your cat if he were to become lost? How would your cat find his way home?  After all, accidents can happen and even indoor cats can manage to sneak out accidentally.  Having a form or method of identification of identifying your cat and providing contact information for animal control or animal hospitals dramatically increases the chance that your cat will be returned to you.

Too many cats without proper identification never find their way home, and lost pets are euthanized every day because no one knows who their owners are and how to contact the owners. You can be looking for your cat in the wrong county more than likely with the volume of animals that they deal with, animal control team members may not know that there.


Forms of Identification

There are two forms of identification that should be considered to be essential for cats. The first is an identification (ID) tag or another form of identification that can be attached to a collar. The other form of ID that is more secure and far more likely to ensure a lost cat makes its way home to you is having the cat microchipped.


ID Tag

Even if your cat lives strictly indoors and never goes outside, it’s worth considering an ID tag. Even if you live in a high-rise apartment, it is wise to have a collar and ID tag on your beloved cat just in case it slips out the door and wanders down to the laundry room for a nap on the warm dryers. If your cat does somehow accidentally slip outside, it’s more likely to be one of your friends or neighbors that will find your cat him. If your cat is wearing an ID tag that contains your contact information (Your cat’s name, your name, your address and phone number), your rogue cat can be easily returned to you. Consider including your cell phone number (instead of or in addition to your home phone number) on the ID tag, particularly if you travel with your cat.

An outdoor cat needs a secure collar that can also include their rabies vaccination tags so animal control can treat your cat as a pet to be returned if it is picked up. The vet clinic that administered the vaccine can also be contacted to get your contact information if they track the rabies tag. A responsible pet owner will always have current contact info on record at the vet’s office in case of an emergency.



The second form of identification needs to be seriously considering is a microchip. The microchip is a very small device about the size of a single grain of rice that is embedded under your cat’s skin, usually between his shoulders. It is implanted with the aid of a needle, which is used to deliver the microchip through your cat’s skin and deposit in the desired location. The procedure itself is fast, simple, and relatively painless and provides a pet owner with great peace of mind.

Encoded within the microchip is a number that corresponds to that individual microchip. The number is read from the microchip through the use of a scanner that deciphers the encoding and displays the number on the scanner’s screen.  It assigns your cat and ID number and is a barcode in your cat that says whom and where that cat belongs. This code is associated with you and your cat only if that the microchip must be registered once it has been implanted in your cat. Registration of the microchip links your personal information (name, telephone number, address, etc.) with the microchip your cat is now carrying.  Without registration, a microchip is useless. Remember to keep your contact information up-to-date if you move or change phone numbers other even a microchip can lead to a dead end and not help your cat be found and returned home. A microchip code is exclusive and secure as well. Most adoptions include microchip and registration fees in the adoption fees. Vets also provide this service on request, and now even some breeders will chip and register kits once purchased, and they find their forever home.


Importance of Microchipping

It is important to realize that while microchips are the most secure way to identify a pet at an animal clinic or shelter, they are not GPS tracking devices. A microchip cannot be used to pinpoint the location of your pet through a remote device or be used to track a cat’s roaming and make sure you can find your cat wherever they may be in the neighborhood. You will need a separate device that is contained in a collar to provide tracking and location-based service devices. As cellular devices micronize more GPS systems, it has allowed people to check in on their pet’s roaming remotely.  GPS works by using three satellite “pings” or responses and calculating how the long the pings take to travel to the source to locate the source of the ping. You can track a cat online if it has a GPS collar and this can help you see if your cat is not actually even outside but instead may be stuck in the basement or under the bed. It’s like Prey software of “Find my iPhone” but for a pet instead of an electronic device. It may seem silly, but if you love your pet and plan to have it for an entire lifetime, as a responsible pet owner should, the expense of GPS for your pet may be worth it.


Both Types of ID Are Optimal To Identify A Cat

Both types of ID are optimal to identify a cat. A cat most likely to make it home has an identification tag and a microchip. Because microchips require the scanner to be detected and read, an identification tag is a more straightforward means of providing the appropriate information to any neighbor who does find your roaming cat, and they can call and return the cat personally. Sometimes people will take foundling cats to a vet to have the chip read, and shelters will scan all cats that come in to first try to return pet cats to their owners.

Sadly, collars and tags can fall off and get lost. Or they can be removed or break-off because of safety features that let a collar break off if it gets stuck on something and risks choking the cat. The microchip provides a permanent means of identification. In the event that your cat ends up in a local pound, shelter, or rescue, the microchip should send him safely on his way back home to you even if the collar and tag are gone.



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