Celebrate the microchip


Autumn Krauss is smiling with joy because her beloved cat Portland is enjoying the family’s new home in Denver.  Nine months ago, she thought she’d never see him again.  Adopted from the Cat Adoption Team in 2005, Portland, a big Maine Coon, was microchipped prior to going home with the Krauss family.

A microchip is an identifying integrated circuit placed under the skin generally near the shoulder blades.  Chips are about the size of a large grain of rice and use passive Radio Frequency Identification technology.  When scanned, the chip number appears.  That number is linked to the owner’s information.

The key is keeping your information current with the chip registry.  This is a lesson Autumn learned.  Formerly residents of the Concordia neighborhood in NE Portland, after nine months abroad for work, her family settled in Denver.  Portland was living with a friend in Vancouver until they got settled.  Portland had different ideas, and escaped after two weeks at the friends’.  Despite the valiant efforts of her husband (while in Australia) to track him down, Portland seemed to have disappeared.

Fast forward to December.  Autumn opened an e-Tails newsletter from CAT and was wondering what became of their kitty.  She placed another call to the Humane Society of SW Washington in Vancouver and . . . terrific news!  Their beloved pet had indeed shown up two weeks prior.  Thanks to his microchip, the humane society had made several attempts to find the Krauss family — all failed due to their move.  Portland was transferred to CAT, where he still resided.  In no time, Autumn was on her way.  It was a very happy reunion.

Last month, Washington County Animal Services (WCAS) reunited Maddie with her family after she’d been missing for a year.  After exhausting all efforts to find their pet, her family had nearly given up when the Hillsboro shelter contacted them.  Thanks to Maddie’s microchip and her owners keeping their information current, she is now back with her family in NE Portland.

Thanks to her chip, Maddie’s family was able to positively identify her.  You see, while on the lam, she went from a slim kitty to a 16 pounder.  She looked quite different.  Microchips offer positive identification for lost pets who often lose weight, unlike Maddie, or get into tussles that alter their appearance a bit. 

In 2011, WCAS happily reunited 1,044 dogs and 99 cats with their owners thanks to microchips.  Nationally, only 19 percent of lost cats who make it safely to an animal shelter are reunited with their owners.

Microchips are a great secondary form of identification that should not replace a collar and current ID tag.  A chip works only when scanned.  If a good Samaritan doesn’t take a lost pet to a vet or shelter, the ID tag is the only chance the pet has for being reunited with his/her family.

Make sure your pet’s microchip information is updated when you move or change phone numbers.  After nine months of grieving for her pet, Autumn said this was her biggest lesson, and one she wants to spare others:  keep that information up to date.