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Feline Odyssey Shows Importance of Micro-Chipping

Has the incredible, movie-like story of Willow the calico cat from Colorado convinced you to have your pet micro-chipped? It should.

Five years ago, Willow, an indoor cat, slipped out a door a contractor had left open and disappeared from her Boulder home. Her owners assumed the worst (coyotes, an unfortunate encounter with a car, to name a few). But Willow, determined and decidedly lucky, turned up last week in the Big Apple, some 1,800 miles from home. The mystery of her transport east will likely remain just that.

But the microchip the veterinarian implanted in her when she was a kitten helped track down her owners, The Associated Pres s reported.

The tiny $50 microchip is a transponder that is injected under the skin – between the shoulder blades -- with a large needle. Each chip carries a tracking number linked to the owner's contact information. When veterinarians or animal control officials find a stray animal, they use a handheld scanner to determine if the pet is carrying a microchip.

Microchips should be treated as a backup identification, says The Humane Society of the United States . Tags are still the best and fastest way to retrieve a lost pet.

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