Originally Posted by Natalie_ca
Both of my cats have ear tattoos, not micro chips and they were done free when they were each spayed.
If I ever get another cat I will still opt to go with an ear tattoo because unlike a microchip, you can see the tattoo if you look inside the ear. So anyone who finds my cats will see right away without having to go to a shelter or vet's office (which many people wouldn't bother to do) and know that they have a home, and hopefully just pick up the phone and call the humane society for the particulars.
I know for me it would never occur to me if I found a "stray" to take it to the vet or humane society to have a microchip checked. Chances are I would post flyers and if no one claimed her/him, I would just keep the kitty. Now if I saw an ear tattoo I would know that the kitty had a home and was just lost and not a "stray".
Ear tattoo's are ok, but they are definitely not the best method out there for identification purposes. However, microchipping is. The reason for that is if the animals gets loose, oh say in a natural disaster (think about hurricane katrina) the benifit to the microchip -is that if the animal winds up in another state/etc due to rescues/etc- it can be relocated with the owner hopefully because the micrichip registry is a national thing. So as long as the owner follows up after the animal is chipped and registeres them- they should be covered for life. Any shelter or vets office they wind up in SHOULD check them for a chip. (i say should because sometimes you'll find a lousey one that doesn't. i do know that all of the shelters in our area, including mine, and vets offices check all new animals for chips.) The problem with the tattoo is that it is limited to the vet's office that did it- so if in a natural disaster, the vet's office were to be destroyed- we have no way of finding the owner from a tattoo only if they are displaced as well. With the chip- there is a chance because no matter if your vet's office, shelter, or you home gets destroyed...the animal could still have it's chip traced anywhere in the country and be relocated. Another good thing about the chip- if you do wind up being displaced...you can access a computer anywhere and update your pet's inforamtion/ new address where to find you!
There is no such luck with the tattoo. Also another problem with the ear tattoo's is the color of the ink.
Most places only use one color. This makes it very hard to trace where the animal was origionally inked because there isn't a color code for each shelter/vets office. At all of our local shelters and many vets offices- for the spay/neuter tattoos -each has a different color so it's easier to trace. My shelter uses a teal green, another uses blue, another purple...and so on. That way if an animal comes in with the tattoo- we know which shelter/vets office they originated from and then we can see if they have a file on the animal. With ear tattoos there is no such luck as most places use only black ink. (we have had several come into the shelter since i've been there with ear tattoos- we had to call every vet's office/shelter in the area! That's hundredes to weed through in a huge city like Memphis. It can be exceptionally hard/impossible to find). We had one come in this week for instance with an ear tattoo. The dog was older and the tattoo had faded considerably to the point we could not read the infomation well. (one of the officer's fortunately recognized the dog from a previous call he had taken at that home- and was able to contact the owner from his memory - they didn't want her back
) The thing was though- the tattoo was no help at all.
The best visible form of id is a proper fitting collar and id tag. The other most reliable source would be the microchip for the above reasons.