The Importance of Microchip and Tattoo Identification for Cats

Outdoor cats like to roam and indoor cats sometimes escape, often getting lost in unfamiliar surroundings. As caring cat owners, we worry for their safety and will go to great lengths to find our missing cats. Such situations are especially terrifying during storms or fire season, as cats can be easily displaced from their homes and go missing. What if we told you that you could have peace of mind by a simple identification?
There are two permanent ways to ensure this. The first way is to have a small microchip identification tag place in your cat. This is a computer chip that contains an identification number that will link your cat back to you. If your cat should end up far away from home, spotted by a stranger, taken by bylaw or SPCA – They will be able to return your cat to you thanks to this microchip.
The microchip, which is non-toxic and grain-sized, needs to be inserted with a small needle by your veterinarian. It is placed underneath the skin between your cat’s shoulder blades. As a pet parent, you do not have to worry about your cat having an allergic reaction to it as the chances of this are incredibly low. To ensure that your cat can be returned to you, it is important that you provide updated information to your veterinarian, which is then stored in an international database (Such as your new address, phone number, name, etc.)
The second method is an identification tattoo inside of your cat’s ear. This procedure is done when your cat is sedated, usually at the time of another surgery such as spaying and neutering. This tattoo contains a combination of numbers and letters that serve as an identifying feature similar to the microchip. The person (or authority) who finds your cat can look the code up in a database which will provide the owners information. If the tattoo’s information has not been updated by the owner, it can also be looked up by which clinic tattooed the cat on what year.
With these simple, cost-effective, and reliable methods, you can ensure that your cat is equipped with all of the necessary identification which will greatly increase your cat’s chance of being returned to you.

Case Study:

Recently, a good client of ours came in for a routine appointment. While waiting to be discharged, she mentioned that there was a very friendly stray cat wandering around her property for a few months. Our client noticed that it sported an identification tattoo in his ear, but she didn’t know how tattoos worked. We confidently let her know that if she gave us the tattoo code, we would be able to look this stray cat up in a database which may contain information about where it came from.
Our client called back with the tattoo code which allowed us to look up where the cat was neutered. We found that this stray cat was neutered at another veterinary clinic in Kamloops many years ago!
The veterinary clinic gave us basic contact information to get in touch with the stray cat’s owners. Thankfully, the owners kept their information up to date with the BC Pet Registry. We were able to contact the owners and it turns out that “Clyde” had been missing for almost a year! The owners were so pleased to hear that he was found safe and sound.
Our client aided in reuniting the stray cat back with his family and he is back at home, doing very well! This was a good lesson for all – not only is a tattoo identification (and/or microchip) important to have for your pet, but it is also important to help identify any stray animals in your area.
If you are unsure what to do if there is a stray cat in your area, you may call the BC SPCA or your nearest veterinary clinic who can help look for a microchip and tattoo. You may end up with a story like this!
If you find a stray cat – please do not decide to take ownership of the cat until it is confirmed with a veterinary professional that they do not belong to someone else.
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