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"Galore" - Microchipping Reunites Cat and Owner

Photo of Galore on a roof

In the first few years after I qualified as a veterinary surgeon, I was probably asked to microchip only a handful of pets. In recent years, however, microchipping is becoming increasingly popular.

The procedure is simple - a small chip is injected into the scruff of the neck. No sedation or anaesthetic is required. If the pet is scanned, the chip shows up as a number that is unique to that animal. A central computer database keeps a log of the owner's details, so they can be contacted if that pet is found. Unlike a collar and tag, the microchip cannot be lost or removed.

We most frequently microchip dogs - especially so since the advent of the "Pet Passport" system, where any animal requiring a passport must be chipped first of all. However, my personal opinion is that the species where chipping is probably most useful is the cat. They are more prone to wandering off, or getting into accidents. If a cat is brought into the surgery, stray or injured, and its owner is unknown, we (and the RSPCA) will ALWAYS check for a chip.

The value of this was brought home to me recently when we scanned a lost cat and - after finding a microchip - were able to reunite her with her owner, who turned out to be an employee of another local vet practice! The cat had been missing for 2 weeks!

"Galore" (James Bond eat your heart out!) is owned by Mr. Young of Clarendon Road, Hinckley. He decided it wise to get her chipped because his work required him to move house frequently, and cats have a habit of making their way back to old houses! So far, Galore (aged 7) is on her fourth house. Each time they have moved, Galore's address details are altered accordingly on the chip database. Mr. Young himself is on his 17th house in the last 15 years!

People often comment that it would be useful if the chips could also have a tracking device in them (I'm sure 007 would aprove of that!). If that ever comes about, Galore may even consider having her owner microchipped - with the frequency of his house moves it would help HER to keep tabs on HIM!

Geraldine Young BVSc CertSAM MRCVS.

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