My mom’s cat Molly came to her as a stray, rescued by my brother’s coworker. She was a friendly, healthy adult who showed signs of being in heat, so we took her to Forgotten Felines & Fidos to get spayed—only to discover the deed had already been done. It wasn’t until then that we realized she must have had a previous owner, and decided to ask our vet to check for a microchip.
I had never thought much about microchips, but two additional things happened around the same time. One, my boyfriend and I adopted two cats (also from FFF). And two, I saw a flyer at Vegan Treats advertising a microchip clinic. For $50, we could get both our new companions chipped so that if they ever got out it would increase their chances of making it safely back home.
This all had me wondering how effective microchips actually are. Unlike collars, which have visible tags, microchips are only detectable by a scanner. But on the other hand, collars are removable, while chips are permanent.
I decided to ask local vets and rescue organizations about their policies regarding microchips. Every rescue organization that responded to my emails has a scanner and checks all incoming strays for a chip. Half of them went on to say that they make sure their animals are chipped before adopting them out, and this charge is included in the adoption fee.
Local clinics such as Forgotten Felines & Fidos, No Kill Lehigh Valley and Easton’s Center for Animal Health & Welfare offer microchips for only $20-30, making it a low-cost backup in case your pets get lost. My friend and fellow animal lover Amanda feels safer knowing her companion animals are chipped: “Sometimes I get paranoid that something will happen to our house like a fire or something and we’ll never find [our cat],” she wrote.
The biggest issue with microchips that came up over and over in my correspondence was that people who do microchip their pets often neglect to register the chip or update their information if they move.
“Sadly, sometimes an animal will come in with a microchip and we’ll call the company for the owner’s information but there won’t be any information registered with the chip,” wrote a correspondent for CAHW. “So, it it is possible for us to get a previously microchipped animal that we can’t reunite with anyone.”
If you find a stray animal, you can take it to your local vet or animal shelter and have them check for a microchip–usually at no cost.
While microchips might not completely ensure your furry friend returns home safely, it will definitely increase your chances. I know I’m convinced! One of our cats is already microchipped, and next time I get a chance, I’ll make sure our other two get chips as well.
Do you microchip your pets? Why/why not?