Most cats won’t keep collars on for long. A microchip is a small computer chip (about the size of a grain of rice) that holds only a number. This number links your cat to you should he get lost. When a scanner is held over the chip, the number can be read on the screen. Getting lost used to mean that cats were usually not reunited with their owners. Microchips (radio frequency identification device RFID) changed that. The chip is injected with a special device under the skin. You register its unique ID number on a website with contact information. The link is now set between you and your cat. Fire season taught us that indoor cats should be microchipped, too.
Last year, a skinny old cat turned up one morning at our feline veterinary hospital. We are on a busy Chico street so it seemed like a particularly perilous journey. We brought her in and had a look. She wasn’t wearing a collar but looked clean and well cared for. She was quite sweet. We scanned her for a microchip and thankfully found one. The mystery grew deeper when her owner and address were in Washington DC.