Courtesy of Cats in Trees

” Oh my god! Where’s Capo?!?!”

My kitten had lived indoors since I got her, and I thought a little field trip outside in my sister’s backyard would be a safe, fun adventure for her. After all, the yard was fenced in. What could go wrong?

I took my eyes off her for 5 seconds and when I looked back, she was gone. That’s when I spotted the hole in the fence. She wasn’t wearing any tags and I had no idea which direction she scampered off to. Plus, everything behind the fence was undeveloped land. Of course, I panicked.

I frantically called her name over and over while tapping on an open can of cat food next to the hole where she escaped. My mom made her way through the gate and around the other side to look for her. It was the longest 5 minutes of my life.

Mom found Capo and shooed her back toward the hole in the fence and when I had her back in my arms, I gave her the “Don’t you ever do that again! I was so worried about you!” speech.

I have since learned my lesson and fitted Capo with a collar and engraved tag with my contact info. Animals are born to roam and even the most vigilant pet owner can lose track of their four-legged friends every once in a while. That’s why I highly recommend fitting your pet with some form of identification for those “what if?” situations. Below, I’ve listed 4 different approaches to pet identification for you to consider with the pros and cons of each.

1. Classic engraved tag

Courtesy of Pink Sherbert Photography

You can’t go wrong with one of these! Available in any size/color/shape you want, you can pay as much or as litte as you like. Petsmart sells a very basic tag for less than $8 and you can engrave it right there in the store. Also available from a number of online retailers.

Pros:

  • cheap
  • Provides contact information at a glance

Cons:

  • Over time, you may need to replace the tag because of wear and tear.
  • Only useful if the collar doesn’t come off

2. GPS tracker

photo by PSD

Techies are going to LOVE this one! This is a small, lightweight, waterproof device you clip on your pet’s collar, and it tracks them 24/7. Once you register your pet, you go online and type in your home address, outlining the radius in which your animal can safely roam. That is called the “TAGG zone”. If your pet ventures beyond the TAGG zone, you are immediately notified with your pet’s exact location. They’ll even give you directions to where your pet is.

The aim of this device is to keep your pet from getting lost in the first place. No phone calls, posters or trips to the animal shelter required.

pros:

  • notifies you immediately when your pet leaves your yard
  • can be accessed by mobile app, the TAGG website, or you can text LOCATE to a special number and they will text you the pet’s location and directions for how to get there.
  • shows you on a map where your pet is 24 hours a day, 7 days a week
  • easy to change home location if you take your pet on vacation or to a friend’s house
  • at the touch of a button, you can turn off notifications if you and your pet go for a walk or on an errand
  • a generous return policy

cons:

  • price It’s 99.95 to get started and just under $8/month for service
  • Although the vast majority of Arkansas is covered, if you live in a tiny, out of the way rural area, service may not be available. TAGG can track your pet anywhere that has Verizon coverage. Check the coverage map here to see if your area is included:http://www.pettracker.com/support
  • the tagg must be charged every 30 days
  • Useless if your pet’s collar is removed.

Still, the best option I’ve seen yet!  TAGG- The Pet Tracker http://www.pettracker.com

3. Micro-chipping

photo by rileyporter

A chip about the size of a grain of rice is implanted under your pet’s skin. Vets and animal shelters can scan incoming pets to check for these microchips. If someone finds your pet and takes it to a shelter or vet, the microchip gives the vet or animal shelter your information so they can contact you when your pet is found. The fee for this varies and I have seen it as low as $10 on special occasions.

pros:

  • affordable.
  • You never have to replace it.

cons:

  • you still need to combine it with a collar and engraved tag, otherwise your pet will still look like a stray if it gets lost.

4. Tattooing

photo by britt selvitelle

Tattoo-a-Pet boasts a 99% recovery rate, although I’m not clear on what that means. They claim to painlessly tattoo a number on your pet and when you register your number with Tattoo-a-Pet, your contact information is entered into a database. Local police and shelters are informed about tattooed pets in the area.

I called the company to ask about locations in Little Rock and they confirmed that there is a vet in North Little Rock who does tattooing. If you are located outside Little Rock, call 800-828-8667 to find someone in your area.

Pros:

  • Tattooing is the only pet I.D. option that is also a theft deterrent.
  • Animals cannot be sold to medical labs if they are tattooed. It’s the law.
  • Affordable: $35 for tattoo and registration
Cons:
  • Tattoos can be altered or fade over time
  • Still needs to be combined with a collar and tag

Remember to keep it classy, folks! No tramp stamps for Fluffy! 😉

Now that you know your options, you can make a well-informed decision about what kind of identification your pet needs. Both for getting him home safely and…

getting carded at the liquor store!

photo by celynek

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