For years, dogs have been microchipped. It is a no-brainer to have a dog microchipped, dogs usually go outside to potty, dogs are taken to obedience classes, for walks, rides, and hikes. Therefore, dogs are more susceptible to straying from home and becoming lost. Nowadays, most cats live indoors never setting a paw outside. However, a cat can accidentally get outside because a door did not close all the way, a visitor to the home accidentally allows the cat to get out, or instead of using a carrier to transport the cat to the vet's office we carry it in our arms from house to car, and a cat can suddenly escape our arms and away he goes.
In 2005, Hurricane Katrina and the horrible aftermath of damage and loss was when I realized that indoor-only cats through no fault of their owners can, in fact, become separated from us. Watching the television and seeing all those pets clinging to trees, logs, sitting on floating homes and other debris, made me realize this could have been one of my Persian cats. It was then I realized I was guilty of assuming just because my cats were indoor-only cats, there was no need for a permanent way of identifying them. For almost 30 years, I have had my dogs' microchipped. After all, I was a "responsible" dog owner. Well, I wasn't a very diligent cat owner, I guess, because I never thought to microchip them.
After Hurricane Katrina, Pelaqita Persians began a policy of microchipping all the kittens we produced. I also microchipped all of my Persian cats. All of our kittens are microchipped and "registered" with the proper agency before their ever leaving our home. Many of our kittens go to their new homes via in-cabin plane rides with their owner or private courier or the new owner drives to our home to pick them up. God forbid, but what if they escaped during transport? At least with a registered microchip before their departure, their chances of being returned to their owner greatly increases. Without a microchip, the cat would be lost forever either because it was in a shelter somewhere and was adopted or because a well-meaning cat lover found the kitty and kept it thinking it was a stray. (Like a Persian cat could be considered a stray!) Furthermore, if an intact animal comes into a shelter and cannot be identified and is put up for adoption, it is spayed or neutered before such placement. Can you imagine your several thousand dollar breeding, titled Persian cat being in a shelter and then being altered? I would be devastated.
A microchipped pet guarantees identification and greatly increases its chance of being returned to its owner. However, microchipping is dependent on the honesty of the person who finds the lost pet. When a cat or dog is brought into a shelter, rescue organization, or veterinarian's office as a stray or lost a pet, the first thing is done is to scan the animal for a microchip. If there is a chip, a call is made to the registering organization and the owner is located and contacted. Easy as pie, right? However, what if the person finding the cat believes it was abandoned or some other justification and does not take the cat to the shelter as a stray or is less than truthful with their vet, then the cat will not be scanned to check for a microchip, and we have lost our kitty forever.
I believe it is important to educate the public that when a stray is found, it is imperative to take the animal to a shelter or a vet's office and have it scanned for a microchip. Thus, ensuring the return to the rightful owner of the lost/stray pet.