A few years ago I adopted a former barn cat named Loki. True to his trickster namesake, Loki was an expert at sneaking around and frequently tried to escape my apartment. Because we lived on the third floor, he never got far, which is good, because the building was on a busy street corner. The first time he got out, I got him microchipped, just in case he got past the front door. He never did, and I never used his chip, but I never regretted getting it done.

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Today, both of our pets are microchipped. We’re always careful not to let our dog outside without her leash, and extra careful to keep the cat inside, but the truth is, we can’t control them all the time. Sometimes I leave the door open accidentally or take too long bringing the groceries in. Every once in a while we need something fixed inside the house, which means repair people going in and out. And sadly, there’s always a chance that someone could steal our girls. Microchips help ensure that if they end up outside, they’ll come back to us.  In fact, according to the microchip manufacturer HomeAgain, chipped cats are returned to their owners 20 times more often than cats who aren’t chipped.

Microchips are small, around the size of a single grain of rice. The chips are so tiny that they can barely be felt, and not even our skittish Bichon who’s afraid of everything noticed when she got hers. Insertion is no more stressful for cats than any other shot, and have almost no side effects. Once inserted between cats’ shoulders, the chips stay in place for the rest of their lives and don’t deteriorate or cause infections. Personal information about owners is not stored on the chip; instead the chip has a unique ID number that the chip’s manufacturer uses to track down the owners (so keep your information up to date in their system!).

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Chipping your cat can reduce the amount of time it spends lost, in danger, or in a shelter. Chips can even save lives. And soon, all cats adopted through Henrico Humane Society will come already chipped. It’s important to keep your cat inside, but in case they get out, microchips are a simple way to get them back.

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