There’s a Tracking Chip in Our Adopted Kitty
Science fiction is filled with stories about secret microchip implants tracking unsuspecting heroes. Who knew that this vision of the future already exists today…?
Fortunately, there’s a positive twist here, because it involves finding lost pets and helping them find their way home.
New Family Member
Recently, we brought a kitty home from an animal shelter. She’s a beautiful black/white/orange tabby, and I think she’s got even more energy than our seven-year-old son can muster! Needless to say, it’s quite the match up.
Before we brought her home from the shelter, I noticed that part of her paperwork included a microchip ID number. Yes, she already had a microchip tracker the size of a grain of rice implanted in the back of her neck.
(Courtesy of the animal shelter)
Technology Can Be Your Pet’s Best Friend
It’s been a while since I’ve adopted a pet, but I think these little microchips are standard issue today.
Here’s how it works… Your pet pulls a Houdini outside of your home and gets lost. Then, someone finds your pet and eventually (hopefully) brings your animal companion to a shelter, veterinarian or other location that has a microchip scanner to pull up your pet’s microchip number.
Once that happens, it’s checked against a National Pet Recovery Database.
If you’re signed up with the database, your address and phone number pop up, and the rest of the story becomes a happy ending.
The trick is… you’ve got to be signed up for all of this to work!
When you Google “pet microchip,” a bunch of companies pop up. The one our shelter had chosen to go with is HomeAgain.
When you take a look at the services offered, HomeAgain is actually a lot more than just a national database for lost pets…
- They’ve got a call center number to speak to a human being.
- They send out ‘Lost Pet Alert’ emails to the HomeAgain Pet Recovery Network in your area.
- There’s an Emergency Medical Hotline.
- They even offer ‘Travel Assistance.’
$500 towards airfare if your pet is found more than 500 miles from home.
(I thought this kind of thing only happened in the movies.)
Safety Comes at a Cost
There’s certainly a lot of support offered here when your pet has gone missing.
And no, it’s not free…
HomeAgain costs $19.99/year.
(As far as I could tell, there was no option to just sign your pet into the database without all of the other services.)
And remember, that’s twenty bucks a year over the course of hopefully 15 to 20 years. Let’s say 18 years… which means $360. And we’ll assume that the annual fee will creep up a bit over time.
So let’s call it 400 bucks.
Nobody ever said pet ownership was cheap.
Is this particular precaution worth it?
So I signed up our kitten.
Pet Microchips are Cool
Pet microchip implants can also integrate into your ‘Smart Home.’
- You can buy microchip pet doors that only let in your animals.
- Or microchip food bowls that only open up for a particular animal.
(That can help cut down on one pet raiding another’s dinner.)
Who knows what other cool tech-enabled products will be developed in the future for your pets and their microchips?
So nefarious future tech in the movies isn’t always such a bad thing in reality.
In fact, it puts a whole new spin on the popular “Terminator” phrase….
“I’ll be back.”