This article was prompted by a scary 24 hours our family had after our cat “Mousey” took advantage of a laundry room door that blew open during a monsoon and went on walkabout. I know that we are not supposed to have “favorites” but the fact is Mousey is our favorite pet – we bottle raised him from birth and he has always been the easiest, most friendly, curious, and funny cat we have had.
Our daughters were beside themselves and Susan and I were feeling very despondent over the prospects of finding him as the hours ticked by. Our desert neighborhood is not a welcoming place for house cats, and our only hope was that friendly Mouse had worked his way into someone’s home for a visit.
We quickly printed some flyers with his picture and the whole family canvassed the neighborhood to see if anyone had seen him. We struck out on both of our attempts, and we were full of regret that we had never microchipped Mouse. As many of you know a microchip can be implanted under the skin of our dogs and cats (and exotic pets) to give another method of finding the owners of a lost pet. One of the first things a vet clinic (or animal shelter) will do with a newly found stray animal is to scan the animal for a microchip. Once found that microchip number can lead to a database with the pet owner’s contact information. This is one of those situations where you need to have the foresight to get the microchip before you need it or hopefully, never need it. The wisdom of that foresight hit home as we were looking for our escape artist and we knew that if someone found him and checked him for a microchip none would be found.
Despite our poor preparation, and apparently without any assistance from any human neighbor, Mouse came back home early the next day after one of the longest 24 hour periods our family has experienced. He seemed no worse for the wear, and he refused to tell us anything about his adventure. After a long nap that day, he was the same old Mouse, except for the new microchip we gave him ASAP.
This is a link to information from the AVMA about microchipping. The microchip we use is the Home Again microchip which is ISO standard so it is acceptable for identification during travel with your pet to Hawaii or Europe. These microchips are about the size of a grain of rice and can be implanted under the skin with a syringe. We often do this while a puppy or kitten is under anesthesia for their spay or neuter, but this simple procedure can be done on awake animals very easily.