October is "Get your Cat Microchipped for Free Month," the County Department of Animal Services announced Wednesday.
Throughout the month, the three county shelters will offer free microchipping for cats. The Department is partnering with AVID Microchip Company to provide free microchips, including national registration for cats. The owner's information will also be entered into Animal Services' database.
The service is available for cat owners who reside in the unincorporated area of the county and the cities of San Diego, Del Mar, Solana Beach, Carlsbad, Encinitas and Santee.
Fewer than 4 percent of lost cats brought to shelters are reunited with owners. A microchip gives pets the best chance of being identified and returned home safely should they ever become lost, according to the animal services department's press release. A microchip is a small transponder, the size of a grain of rice, which is injected under the skin and remains there for the life of the pet.
The department scans all incoming animals for the presence of a microchip. Animal Services is then able to locate the owner's information through the number on the microchip.
As an added incentive to get peoples' cats microchipped, PETCO Foundation is providing a gift with each microchip, and an opportunity to win a special prize at the end of October. In addition, $50 spay and $25 neuter coupons will also be available to cat owners to help with the cost of surgery.
The program is available at the three county shelters Tuesday through Saturday
between the hours of 10 a.m. and 5 p.m. No appointment is necessary and cats must be in carriers
The locations include 5480 Gaines St. in San Diego, and 5821 Sweetwater Road in Bonita and 2481 Palomar Airport Road in Carlsbad.
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