I’m an indoor cat. Why must I wear an annoying tag around my neck?
Emily the Annoyed Cat
In a word: safety. FoundAnimals.org reports that nearly one out of every three pets will get lost at some point during their lifetime, and without proper identification, 90 percent of lost pets never return home.
Collars with identification are your fastest ticket back if you become lost. All it takes is one paw out the door and suddenly you’re wandering the streets.
Case in point — look at what happened to Baxter the Beagle:
I was so excited when I saw the open door. I raced out, forgetting that I was supposed to be leashed, but tracking smells and chasing squirrels was on my mind. Now I’m lost and it’s getting dark and I’m hungry. Where’s my home?
Lucky for Baxter, a park patron checked his tag, contacted his human, and returned him home safely.
It’s a good idea to also wear your proof of vaccination tag to let whoever finds you know that you’re up-to-date with your shots.
In nearly every situation, the best way to get home safely is a simple, updated ID tag. While 80 percent of pet parents think tagging their pets is important, only 33 percent reported having an ID on their animal.
If jingling tags drive you batty, a microchip is a great backup.
While microchips are not tracking devices, they do play a crucial role in identifying lost pets.
Take Luna the Cat’s story, for instance:
I never roam far, but one day I decided to visit our neighbor’s flower garden and got caught in a trap. Turns out the neighbor was fed up with finding poop in his plants, so he rigged traps to catch the culprits. He must have assumed I was homeless because I don’t wear a collar. Now I’ve been hauled away and am sitting in a cage, missing my human, and hoping she rescues me.
Fortunately for Luna, she was microchipped, so the microchip reader made a positive match and she was reunited with her mom. It’s good to know that animal control agencies and vets are required to scan all incoming pets.
If you are one of the 67 percent who sometimes or never wears a tag — get chipped. These chips carry a unique ID number, sort of like a social security number, that’s connected to your contact information. The chip is no bigger than a grain of rice and is injected beneath the surface of your skin between the shoulder blades. The process is simple and does not require anesthetic. Even better, it won’t fall off, be removed, and it lasts
Protecting yourself with both tags and a microchip can help ensure a happy reunion if the unthinkable happens. It’s also important to keep your contact information current. If you move or change your phone number, update your microchip information immediately. Don’t wait.
The third week of April is designated as National Pet ID Week. It’s a good time to increase awareness of the need to properly identify all kinds of pets. Davi encourages pet owners to use one or more identification methods to ensure the safe return of their pets if they get lost.