What Should You Put On Your Cat’s ID Tag?
Those of you who read the blog regularly will know what a huge fan I am of cat ID tags. They bridge the all-important microchip gap, show others at-a-glance that your cat is loved and has a home, and significantly raise your cat’s chances of being reunited with you if they ever escape or get lost. What’s not to love!
Or as the Humane Society puts much more eloquently than I ever could…
“Microchips are a good back-up option for pet identification, but should never be the main one. Reading a microchip takes a special scanner, one that an animal control officer or shelter will have, but your neighbor down the street will not. And if [your pet] wanders off, it’s likely to be a private citizen who encounters him first. That’s why, in the event of accidental separation, identification tags are your pet’s first ticket home.”
The Humane Society
YOUR TELEPHONE NUMBER
I’d say this is my number one choice – if you only put your telephone number on your cat’s ID tag it will probably do the trick. It will allow members of the public to contact you quickly and easily if they find your cat, and also to notify you if it has been injured and is in need of urgent help.
Make sure that this is a number that is up-to-date and that you’re likely to answer (e.g. don’t put your home landline if you’re out at work all day).
This is a really useful piece of information to include on the tag. If your cat escapes or gets lost it will likely stay in the local area, and an address will enable people in the neighbourhood to identify your cat as local and possibly even bring them home.
YOUR CAT’S NAME
When I first got an ID tag for my two cats, putting their names on was the first thing I thought of doing. But recently I have changed their tags to not include their name.
Why? Well, there are pros and cons. The upside of including a name is that if your cat goes missing and your put posters up, you can include their name prominently and then it’s really easy for members of the public to cross-reference that with the tag. E.g. if your cat’s name is MAISIE it’s much easier for someone who has found Maisie to look at her tag and check the name matches than to check that her tag’s telephone number or address matches your poster.
The downside is that it carries a very small risk of exposing your cat to theft. If your cat is particularly desirable or expensive, a thief who knows your cat’s name is much more likely to be able to convince the microchip company that they are the new owners than if the name remains a mystery to them.
In the end, it’s really up to you. But if you feel nervous about including your cat’s name, there is a good alternative…
Including your surname on the tag ticks the box for an easy thing to cross reference with a missing poster, but it doesn’t carry any risk of helping cat thieves. Win-win!
Other information you may want to include on your cat ID tag
PLEASE DO NOT FEED ME
Especially useful for outdoor cats, dissuade neighbours from giving them ‘double-dinners’ with a note asking them not to give your cat food. It’s amazing how many people think that feeding neighbourhood cats is ‘doing them a good turn’ or ‘they looked like they needed feeding up a bit’, so this note may help disabuse them of that notion!
A handy extra, but hopefully if your tag includes your phone number the person who finds your cat won’t need to take them to a vet to get their microchip scanned – so the fact your cat is chipped is somewhat irrelevant. The one thing it might do is help dissuade cat thieves.
If your cat is a pedigree cat, it may worth be pointing out to would-be cat thieves that they are not suitable for breeding from (which would reduce their value in thief’s eyes)
IF I’M OUTSIDE
If your cat is an indoor cat, it can be useful to include a note on the tag alerting anybody who finds them outside to ring you straight away. Obviously this won’t work if your cat has free access to the outdoors, as your phone will be ringing off the hook!
ANY MEDICAL ISSUES (e.g. allergies)
If your cat has medical issues that a vet should be aware of (e.g. life threatening allergies) it is worth including those on the tag. That way if something happens to your cat and it’s rushed to the vet’s, they will be aware of any medical issues right there and then.
ADDITIONAL CONTACT NUMBERS
If you’ve read all of the above and you’ve still got space left on your tag, is there anything else you should include? I would recommend using any additional lines of text to include back-up telephone numbers – either for your vet’s or a friend or family member – to increase the chances of someone who has found your cat getting through.
What have you chosen to put on your cat’s ID tag? Where do you sit on the question of including your cat’s name vs. leaving it off? I’d love to hear your thoughts. Just join the discussion in the comments below, or over on Instagram or Facebook (both @supakitstore).