This year, September 22 to 30 had been declared National Cat ID Week!
Declared by whom, you ask? By Care for Cats – a Canadian project begun in 2011 to respond to the cat overpopulation crisis.
Their mission statement:
“Creating awareness through response and education. Delivering resources to Canadian communities will encourage individuals to appreciate the feline species and foster more responsible cat ownership which in turn will decrease the daily euthanasia of thousands of adoptable cats.”
I definitely recommend you check out their website for information on the work they are doing. But just in case you are too lazy to do so, I’m going to hope that you at least continue to read this post and I will tell you about how important it is to have permanent identification for your little furry friend!
Even if you keep your cat exclusively indoors, things can happen – a window breaks, a door is left open a second to long, an escape is made. Now your indoor kitty is outdoors, and the possible outcomes are endless. Without some kind of identification on your cat, the outcomes where you find your cat again have significantly less probability.
Your cat may be picked up by a well-meaning stranger who never sees your missing cat posters, and brings him or her to a veterinary clinic or animal shelter. Without any form a of identification, the staff of these places can only check lost reports, keep the cat for a certain amount of time, and if chance doesn’t alert you to the whereabouts before a certain amount of time runs out. . . they get adopted to a new home. Or, unfortunately, if your cat is extra unlucky, they get euthanized.
Perhaps your cat gets injured, and is brought to a veterinary clinic. If there is no identification on the cat to help find an owner immediately, it may be decided that it is in the cat’s best interest to euthanize unless someone is able to foot the bill to treat them if an owner is never found. Or perhaps your cat gets killed – hit by a car, attacked by another animal – and you never know. A body can only be kept for a certain amount of time to give people a chance to identify it.
My preferred method of identification is microchipping. A small little microchip, the size of a rice grain, is implanted under the skin. It is the most permanent form of identification, and the chances of something happening to your cat that would make it unidentifiable are very slim. Every veterinary clinic and animal shelter should have a scanner, or access to a scanner, and checking for a microchip is a standard part of processing any “stray” that comes in. Having your pet microchipped can help reunite you quickly with your lost kitty, or give you closure if the unthinkable has happened.
So, if your cat is not microchipped, I strongly recommend you consider changing this. I leave you with this bit from the ID Week Summary:
“People do not realize it but a lost cat has a very small chance to return back home safely,” explains Dr. Elizabeth O’Brien, a feline practitioner and the Care for Cats spokesperson. “Focusing on identifying and registering felines should be part of your veterinary care routine as it increases their chances to get back home should they go missing.”