All About the Microchip

Basically a microchip is a small, scannable chip about the size of an uncooked grain of rice.  The microchip has a unique id number attached to it that, once called in, will provide all the contact information of the animal’s owner.  Every stray facility and police station has at least one scanner so if they come across a stray animal, they will check for a microchip. 

I definitely recommend microchipping to anyone with a companion animal.  The process of putting the chip into your pet is very easy and rather painless.  The chip is inserted under the skin of the animal, between the shoulder blades, with a needle.  There rarely is blood and I have yet to see an animal react to the procedure.  Once the microchip is inserted, it may move a few inches but you will probably never be able to find it/feel it.

You will then have the unique id number registered to you with all your contact information.  Remember to always update this information as time goes on and you move, change your phone number, or get a new email account.  If the information assigned to the chip is no longer valid, the whole thing is pointless because no one can contact you.

Many people with dogs are willing to get a microchip because they can easily see how it is helpful.  However, some cat owners do not think it is necessary to get a microchip for their indoor cat because it lives inside 24/7.  I would argue that this is actually why you would want to microchip your cat because they will get lost very easily if they ever make a great escape to the outdoors.  Less than 10% of cats are reclaimed at shelters – if you microchip your cat and it ends up at a stray facility/police station/animal shelter/vet clinic they will all know to scan for a microchip and will then be able to find you, the owner.

Microchipping is fairly cheap (about $20-$35).  Contact your veterinarian or local shelter if you are interested in getting one for your pet!

**Photo taken from

TNR – The feral solution

Most communities hold the belief that if there is a stray and/or feral animal “situation” or “overpopulation” in their area, the best way to handle it is to trap these animals and kill them.  However, it has been proven time and again that removing a population slowly and killing them does not have a negative effect on the stray population.  Rather, (channel high school biology!) the ecological system of a specific community can support a certain number of stray dogs and/or feral and stray cats.  Let’s pretend that number is 100.  If you trap and kill ten, you still have ninety and since the environment can support 100, those ninety will quickly reproduce and get back to their capacity in no less than two months. 

Granted those numbers are completely made up, but biology teaches us that there are ecological niches and a general number of a certain species can be supported by it.  So the best way to control the strays is not to try to trap and kill all of them.  You will never get to all of them, and they will reproduce just as fast as they can be caught and killed.  This has been proven time and again in communities all over the world.  The community recognizes that they have a lot of strays/ferals, and maybe one of these animals hurt a person so the government is now paying attention.  They decide the best course of action is to trap all these animals and kill them, yet months or even years later the number of animals has not changed.

The best way to handle a stray and/or feral population is to trap, neuter (and vaccinate) and release the animals (TNR).  Once released, they are unable to reproduce, are vaccinated with a three year rabies shot so rabies will not be an issue, and hold the ecological niche population in place.  Most communities that have implemented this way of handling their stray and feral populations have also found that some of these animals are adoptable (not completely wild).  These animals are then fixed, vaccinated and adopted out to a loving home.  The animals that are trapped that prove to be wild are therefore simply returned to their habitat once they have recovered from their vet visit.

Please contact your local shelter/animal control facility and ask them what their procedure is for feral cats/dogs.  Strongly encourage them to adopt the Trap/Neuter/Release program for the ferals that cannot be domesticated.  I can provide you with specific evidence of how this works better than trapping and killing if you feel you need it to make your case.  For more information about TNR and other nokill solutions, check out Nathan Winograd’s book, Redemption.  Thanks!