Posted on: August 9th, 2016 by Dr. Dale Rubenstein

August 15 is National Check the Chip Day. What does this mean? It’s a reminder to make sure your cat has a microchip (or to make an appointment to get one). Just as important if your cat has already been “chipped” is to check that your information is up-to-date. Why is this so important? We’ve already written articles previously about how even indoor cats can slip out, or an emergency (fire, hurricane/flooding, tornado) can lead to a situation where your cat gets separated from you (July 2014; December 2014). A microchip is the best way of reuniting you with your beloved four-legged family members. And yet it is only as good as the information it contains.

To raise awareness about the importance of updating microchip registration information, the American Animal Hospital Association (AAHA) and the American Veterinary Medical Association (AVMA) established Check the Chip Day in an effort to ensure more happy endings for lost or stolen pets.

The most permanent form of identification in cats is a microchip. We typically place them during the spay/neuter procedure, and many shelters do the same. If your cat has not previously received a microchip, this can be done during an office visit for most cats, or during a dental procedure (when your cat is asleep and won’t even notice!). The procedure involved injecting very small, inert, stainless steel chip under the loose skin between the shoulders. Once the chip has been placed, we confirm that the number on the chip matches our records, and after this, the cat’s information is registered. The microchip is very safe and has not been associated with inflammatory reactions.

Once registered, the registry is life-long, although there is an additional fee if you move and need to update your address. But if you do not update your contact information, the registry may not be able to contact you. Frequently, registries report that the contact information on file is a disconnected phone number or they receive bounced-back emails.

The sad statistic is that without microchips, the number of missing cats returned to their owners is less than 5%; with chips that have current contact information, the number is significantly higher. If your lost cat is found and turned into a shelter or taken to a veterinary clinic, the first thing they will do is scan for a microchip.

We have returned several microchipped cats to their loving families. We could not have done this without their having been chipped and their owners keeping their information current. Check your registry information today, and update it if something has changed. If you’ve lost your chip number and we have that information in our patient record, contact us and we can look that up for you. At your next visit, we would be happy to scan your cat to verify the number and where the chip is.

If you don’t yet have your cat microchipped, there is no better time than now! Microchips help reunite families. We are offering 10% discount in honor of Check the Chip Day, for any microchips scheduled during the week of August 15, 2016. Please call to schedule an appointment or to discuss the benefits of microchipping your cat.