Apr 21 2009

Let’s See Some ID

Read here how Bob the cat found his way home via Facebook. (Photo courtesy WCCO TV, Minneapolis)

Bob the cat found his way home via Facebook. (Photo courtesy WCCO-TV, Minneapolis/St, Paul)

April 18-24 is National Pet ID Week! Bob, the Maine Coon cat pictured here, found his way home in a most unusual way after being lost for two years. (Read his story here.) We’ve all heard fantastic stories about pets who journey miles to find the owners who lost them, but the reality is that many lost pets never find their way home. You can take measures to prevent a tragedy by making sure all your pets have complete identification.

For a mammal, a collar with a tag is a must-have. The collar should include the pet’s annual rabies tag, if applicable, as well as a tag with your own address and phone as well. At the very least, even if your pet is found far from home, local authorities will know the animal is not a stray and will work hard to find you.

Collars and tags are mandatory, but they can also be lost or wriggled out of. Microchipping your pet, and registering with a national database, is a more permanent form of identification. The identifying chip–about the size of a grain of rice–is injected under the skin and can be scanned by a vet or shelter. Microchipping is not foolproof, however, as a local shelter may not have a scanner that will detect the specific brand of microchip your pet has. The Humane Society of the United States, as well as other groups, is working to standardize microchipping to avoid this problem. In the meantime, always rely on more than one kind of identification.

Whatever method you choose, don’t leave your animal’s safety to chance. Make sure your pet has ID and is registered to ensure┬áthat, like Bob, it┬ácan always find its way back home.

posted by Claire M. Caterer

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