Tag Archives: find

Microchipping 101

This blog article was written by our tame vet student and blogger Joanna Woodnutt. Jo loves fostering for us and sits on our administrative board amongst her vet school duties. She has an interest in preventative feline care.

 

All cats and kittens from Lina’s Cat Rescue are fitted with a microchip. But there are a lot of myths about microchips that can lead to them being useless!

Myth 1: A microchip means your cat can be returned to you if it’s found.
FALSE. A microchip means your cat can be returned to you only if your data is up to date! If you’ve lost that phone or moved house it’ll be useless!

Myth 2: A microchip will help you to find a lost pet.
FALSE. It is not a GPS signal- it only helps if your pet is found and scanned. For this reason it’s a good idea to have them wear a collar saying that they’re chipped!

Myth 3: Only dogs, not cats, need to be microchipped.
FALSE. Although it is true that the new law only states that dogs must be microchipped, it is cats that are more likely to stray. They’re also less likely to tolerate collars, so the chip is an essential back-up!

Ok, so we’ve debunked some myths, but that raises more questions…

How does a microchip work?

A tiny chip,MICROCHIP about the size of a grain of rice, is injected under the animal’s skin just between the shoulder blades. This chip contains a unique number which can be read using a handheld scanner.

This number is held on one of a couple of national databases, and they can correlate the number with the data they have on file for that chip- such as a phone number and address.

So why do we use them?

If your cat is found, any vet, police station or charity should be able to scan him and look up the number. They can then use the data the company holds to get hold of you and return your pet. A pet can’t lose a microchip like they lose a collar, so it’s a great way of finding out who they belong to.

Microchips are invaluble to us as vets. Just the other day somebody brought in a cat that they had found and we reuinted him with his owner within the day. It’s so lovely to see. But all too often we phone the number on the file and it’s not listed, and we contact the address and there are new people living there… it’s heartbreaking that a simple mistake means this cat won’t get to go home- Joanna Woodnutt, vet student

So please remember: A microchip is only as good as the data on it. If you move house, update the data. If you change phone numbers, update the data. If it’s been a year since you last looked, why not phone them up or log in online and just double-check that it’s all correct? One day, you might be very glad you did.

So how do I change my information?

Here are some companies that hold databases and can help you to change your information:

PetLog
PETrak
Anibase

You’ll need your microchip number, which will be on your cat’s paperwork and is 10 or 15 digits long. It may look like a barcode. If your cat has a passport, it may be in there, or it might be written into their vaccination card.

If you can’t find that, try calling your vets as they might have it on their records. Or, if you know where your pet was originally chipped, try calling that vets- they may still have the chip number in their database!

If all of that fails, don’t fret! Get in contact with the companies anyway and ask them to check the pet’s details. It will take a lot longer but they should be able to trace them for you!

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What to do if you think your cat is missing

It’s every cat owner’s worst nightmare. You let Felix out in the morning, and he doesn’t come home as usual in the evening. Or perhaps you realise too late that you left the window open and Badger has disappeared. Your imagination begins to run away with you and you envisage him trapped in a garage, lost in the next village, or -worst of all- in an accident.

But a little bit of knowledge will hopefully help you put these terrifying hours to good use. Instead of sitting worrying about what to do, follow these simple instructions to ensure that people are on the look out and you have the best chance of getting Kitty back.

Hints and Tips

1. It sounds stupid, but make sure your cat is actually missing. Check all the usual hiding places, and anywhere else you can think of. Try calling your cat and shaking a treat pack or tapping a food tin- anything you can think of to get them to come running.

2. Hopefully you got your cat microchipped. Phone your microchip provider and report him missing- this means he will get flagged up on their website and will be returned more quickly if he is found.

3. Report your missing cat on www.cataware.co.uk. Find a photo of your cat and post with details on the Petlog facebook page and any local rescue centres or lost and found pages- including us! There are many Facebook pages for missing cats, find a few that are local to your area and post there. You can also try Tweeting- many rescues local to you will retweet a lost cat post. Make sure you add as much information as possible- see the next tip for a template!

4. Call your local vets and rescue centres with a GOOD description of the cat. ‘Male tabby’ is not good enough as vets see these every day. If possible, give them the following information:

  • Name of cat
  • Age of cat
  • Gender and whether neutered
  • Colour- be descriptive! ‘Black and white’ isn’t as good as ‘mostly black with white feet, longhaired’
  • Whether she/he has a chip
  • Whether she/he was wearing a collar
  • Any distinguishing features (especially if not chipped!)- nicks in ears, eye colour etc

5. Walk door-to-door and talk to your neighbours. Ask them to check their garages and conservatories, or any other place your cat might have sheltered and got locked in. Don’t forget to take a photo so that they’ll recognise your cat if they see them. Leave them your phone number so that they can contact you if he’s found. It’s a good idea to take leaflets with you- sometimes people let in a cat they think is a stray and let it out again once they realise it has a home!

5. Chat to the local postman- remember he covers a large area, often on foot, and so may have spotted your cat around. Even if they can give you a rough idea of where your cat is it will help you to focus your search.

6. You could also produce posters and distribute them in local stores, post offices and houses. There are templates available for this online.

 

Most of all, remember not to give up hope. Cats are known to come back after months or even years of going missing, totally unharmed!

Good luck!