Cat-owners offered purr-fect solution for lost cats

Central Alberta cat owners have the opportunity to get free microchips from two locations in Red Deer on Saturday, April 5.

Central Alberta cat owners have the opportunity to get free microchips from two locations in Red Deer on Saturday, April 5.

“We’re trying to promote responsible cat ownership,” said Erica Coomber, shelter administrator and vet assistant with Alberta Animal Services.

Amy Corpe, animal care manager with the Red Deer SPCA, said in a news release that only 1 per cent of cats brought into the shelter are returned to their owners.

“Agencies like Whisker Rescue and Alberta Animal Services are experiencing the same issue, causing a huge strain on resources and the volume of cats in shelter,” she said.

Normally, getting a pet micro-chipped costs between $50 and $80. But since Alberta Pet Services wants to make it easy to reduce the number of unclaimed cats, it has asked electronic identification company EIDAP Inc. to donate the microchips.

“If it’s a cost factor, we want to give it to them for free,” Coomber said.

She said micro-chipping is a quick process that can be done as the cat-owner is filling out the paperwork.

A chip – the size of grain of rice and the thinness of a penny – is implanted into the fatty tissue between the cat’s shoulder blades. If a cat has been found, clinics and shelters can scan the chip for a number, which indicates the company that provided the chip – in this case, EIDAP Inc. The microchip company then looks up that number and give the owner’s information to the clinic or shelter.

“We want to focus on cats because that’s where we struggle the most with unclaimed animals,” Coomber said.

The microchip clinic is offered at the Red Deer Petland and Red Deer SPCA from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. The clinics are drop-in only, and microchips are available on a first-come, first-served basis. Anyone is welcome, but Alberta Pet Services asks that cats be transported in a proper kennel.