Make sure your cats can find their way home

It has been a busy summer at the clinic so far, and so, along with the sun shining, we can’t complain!

Cats are also making the most of the long days and sadly we regularly receive phonecalls from worried owners with missing cats.

As regular readers of this blog will know, we are passionate about preventative health care and responsible pet ownership.  It is our opinion that having your cat microchipped is an absolute essential.  It is probably one of the easiest things you can do to help ensure that your cat can be reliably identified and so reunited with you if he or she becomes lost or injured and turns up at the vets or a rescue centre.

A microchip, shown above,  is about the size of a grain of rice and is implanted into the back of a cats neck, under the skin.  The process is very quick and simple and although there may be some slight discomfort for your cat, this is very temporary, and is far outweighed by the benefits of having a microchip.  In the vast majority of cats, the chip lasts for the life of your cat.  Implantation needs to be done one time only.  Unlike a collar, a microchip cannot be lost or easily removed.

Very occasionally chips can move from the site of implantation or even fall out through the hole they were inserted through.  This usually happens shortly after the chip has been implanted.  It is also possible for a chip to stop working and so it is good practice to periodically check the chip is functioning.  We routinely do this during your cat’s annual health check.

Microchips are small devices that use radio frequency identification (RFID).  The silicon RFID tag inside a chip holds a unique identification number for your cat.  It sits inside a biocompatible glass  capsule which makes it completely non-toxic.  The capsule also contains a small capacitor and a copper antenna.  When a chip scanner or reader is held near the microchip, the capacitor is energized and sends power to the RFID tag which then emits a radio signal.   This is then picked up through the antenna and interpreted as a number on the scanner display.

The unique number is stored on the national database along with you and your cat’s details.  If you move house or change contact details it is really important that you contact them to update the records.

When we are presented with an ‘anonymous’ cat who may be sick or injured, we check for the presence of a microchip on arrival.  As you can imagine, it is incredibly frustrating to find a microchip that is registered to an incorrect address or obsolete contact phone number.

If your cat goes missing you should inform the microchip database.  They will then alert local vets and rescue centres on your behalf.

In recent years microchip technology has been put some other uses.  We are big fans of the sureflap cat flaps that will only let your cats enter your house, keeping out the neighbourhood mogs!  Feeding devices are now also available, to help multicat households distribute meals to the correct cats.  How ingenious?

This month is national microchipping month and to celebrate we are offering a very reduced cost for implanting microchips, until the end of June.   Contact reception to book your cat in!