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      Pet owner uses microchipping to find lost cat

      From flyers, to rewards, to a search party -- some people would do almost anything to find a lost pet but if those animals have some form of identification on them, they'll be that much easier to find.

      That reminder comes as part of National Pet Identification Week from Wednesday, April 18 to Wednesday April 25. Dr. Rob Ballinger with Palo Duro Animal Hospital said one of the easiest ways to identify your pet is by keep a collar and tag on it that's engraved with your contact information.

      "You can get them lots of different places engraved with your information," he said. "Your veterinarian, when they do rabies vaccination will give you a tag, a lot of us will engrave your number of the back. That's an easy one."

      However, one Canyon pet owner said when her cat ran away he was wearing a collar, but wasn't when someone found him.

      "My cat had a collar but it was a break-away collar so he wouldn't get stuck in the fence," said Susie Flenniken.

      Because collars can come off, or be taken off by someone else, a good backup identification for your cat or dog is microchipping.

      "It's a little rice grain size RFID chip that goes between the should blades and then can be read with a scanner and that will head out a specific number that we get then call a database and find out who that number is registered to," explained Dr. Ballinger.

      Luckily, Flenniken had all of her pets microchipped and it was that tiny chip that helped her recognize her own cat weeks later when someone found him in North Amarillo.

      "I had taken his certificate that showed the chip number on it to prove that he was my cat and sure enough, he was my cat and I started crying," said Flenniken. "I was so happy."

      But owners who don't register that microchip number online, render it almost useless.

      "Take that final step," said Dr. Ballinger. "It's a little frustrating to find a chip, find a number, call it in and it says it's not registered. Sometimes we can track it back through the veterinarian but that's rather arduous so make sure that chip is registered."

      But whether it's through microchipping or a simple tag, make sure your pet always has identification. Because when unidentified, lost pets end up in the pound or a shelter, they're even less likely to make it back home.

      "About five percent of cats or 15 percent of dogs will end up in a rescue shelter or animal control or whatever that don't have a good ID will ever eventually find their home," said Ballinger. "The odds are very high if they end up, quote institutionalized, without identification they're going to be put to sleep."

      If you have had your pet microchipped, you can get it registered online at www.getmehome.com.