A Cat Clinic

Think Your Indoor Cat Doesn’t Need a Microchip? Think Again!

Posted on: July 22nd, 2014 by Dr. Dale Rubenstein

“My cat never goes outside, so s/he doesn’t need a microchip”.

Except… Zizou was living in an apartment, never went outdoors, until there was an electric fire. Zizou’s parents were able to escape but the frightened cat bolted and is still missing. The owners thought they found him, but the black and white cat they found was not Zizou. Unfortunately, he does not have a microchip. We are fervently hoping that Zizou and parents are re-united soon, but we are very worried.

April’s story has a happier ending, although she, too, gave her family quite a scare. April was abandoned here at the clinic and delivered a litter of 3 kittens days later. We of course took her in, and enjoyed watching the babies grow. Our client, Linda, had recently lost one of her cats and decided to adopt April, so when the kittens were old enough to be placed in homes, Linda took April home. When we spayed April, we placed a microchip.

Unfortunately, April hated carriers, so when April was due for booster vaccinations, Linda was using a figure 8-harness and leash. Usually this works, but April was able to slip out of the harness in the clinic parking lot, into the woods. Linda kept coming back and calling, bringing food, without success.

Until one day about 6 weeks later, one of our (careful/astute/sharp) receptionists spied a cat that looked like April across the street and called Linda. Linda came over, was able to corner April in someone’s garage. To the surprised homeowner, she explained the situation, went home to get a carrier and came back to get April. When Linda brought the cat to the clinic, we were able to scan for a microchip and confirm that the cat was indeed April.

So, you may have an indoor cat – until something happens. For the unexpected, having your cat microchipped makes sense. The statistics are alarming: without a microchip, only about 3% of cats are reunited with their owners. With microchips, the statistic is more than 25% – significantly better.

Our preference is to place the microchip when your cat is asleep (during dental procedure, spay or neuter). But, it can be placed during an office visit and most cats tolerate well. A central registry allows any hospital or shelter to contact the company and get the contact information you’ve provided so they can reunite you and your cat. Scanners are much more universal now, and the first thing done by any shelter or someone bringing in a stray cat is to scan for a microchip.