microchip

Keeping Track of Your Cat: GPS vs. Microchip Technology

GPS-pet-tracking

Guest post by Loren Brutsch

One in three pets go missing in their lifetime. Over 10 million pets go missing every year. Sadly, many are not reunited with their guardians. In addition to the heartache caused by a lost pet, it can cost hundreds of dollars even when a pet is found. This is why an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure.Continue Reading

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Disaster Preparedness for Cats

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How many times have you watched an unfolding disaster on the news and wondered how you would cope if it were to happen to you? Would you be ready to evacuate your home with your cats on short notice if you had to?Continue Reading

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MeowSpace Solves Feeding and Litter Box Problems in Multiple Pet Households

MeowSpace

Do you have a bully cat who won’t let your other cats eat in peace? Does one of your cats need a special diet?  Does your dog eat your cat’s litter box deposits? If you’re dealing with these issues, you’ve probably wondered why nobody has invented something to solve the problem. Well, now somebody has.

Casey and Berdell Moffett-Chaney and their son Corey Bruesch invented MeowSpace® after getting frustrated with their two family cats, Mitchell and Flopsey. Flopsey was becoming overweight because she would bully Mitchell away from his food. Mitchell, who is a grazer, was losing weight. They came up with the ideaContinue Reading

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Benefits and Risks of Microchipping Your Cat

microchip-cat

Cats need some form of identification, regardless of whether they’re indoor or indoor/outdoor cats. Even indoor cats can slip out the door and get lots, and wearing identification, whether it’s a collar and tag, or a microchip, can increase the chances of a lost cat being returned to its home.

A microchip is a small, electronic chip enclosed in a glass cylinder that is about the size of a grain of rice. The chip has a unique identifier which can be read by a scanner.Continue Reading

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How to Prevent your Indoor Cat from Running Out the Door (6 Tips)

cat_inside_door

Last week, a friend experienced every cat guardian’s nightmare: a family member was careless about leaving the door open, and her two young kittens got out.

My friend had left to run some errands. She had asked that the kittens be closely watched while she was gone. When she returned home, she called the kittens. They didn’t respond. She went from room to room searching. No sight of the kittens. She went outside and walked all around her large property, shaking a treat bag, and calling for them. Becoming increasinly hysterical, she got into her car and started slowly driving down the road, all the while calling their names. She found them about a quarter of a mile down the highway, huddled together on the front stoop of an auto repair shop.

My friend’s story had a happy ending. The kittens returned from their adventure safe and unharmed. My friend’s nerves may take a little longer to recover. But not all stories of indoor cats running out the door end this well.

The following tips and safety precautions can help keep your indoor cat safe inside, where she belongs.Continue Reading

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Review and giveaway: FurCode – the high tech ID tag for your cat

FurCode-pet-id-tags

FurCodes are a modern upgrade to the pet tag of previous generations. Each tag links to an online Pet Profile allowing pet owners to keep their pet’s contact, vet and care information current. You simply enter the tag ID in a web browser and it instantly renders your Pet’s profile page. You can even scan the tag with a Smartphone’s QR code reader. You select which information displays, and you can update or change the information at any time.

The profile section on the FurCodes website allows you enter your contact information, your pet’s veterinarian’s information, medical and vaccination history, and registration information. I particularly like the option to enter medical information, this can be lifesaving if your pet requires medications, is diabetic, or has allergies.

A combination of a tag and microchip are the best method for returning a lost petContinue Reading

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Product review: Sureflap Microchip Cat Door

SureFlap Microchip Cat Door

Guest review by Fern Crist, DVM

The SureFlap Microchip Cat Door is a new-to-the U.S. product from the United Kingdom.  It uses RFID technology to read a cat’s veterinarian-inserted microchip and determine whether or not to let the cat inside. This prevents strays, and other animals, from entering a home and adds a high-tech level of convenience to the homes of outdoor cat owners.

SureFlap offered to send one of these doors to Ingrid, and since Allegra and Ruby don’t go outside, but my cats do, she asked me to test and review it for The Conscious Cat.

Let me start out by saying that the Sure-flap Cat Door is a wonderful invention. My favorite feature: it is unlocked by the microchips my cats already have in place.

Our last cat door was unlocked by a magnet hanging on the cat’s collar, a concept doomed from the start. Cats mostly regard collars as irritations, something to be chewed, ripped, or tugged off as soon as possible. End result: a lost collar, a cat stuck outside, and you have to keep buying new magnets.

This door runs on 4 AA batteries, allowing it to recognize the microchip and unlock the latch. The batteries pop into an easy-to-reach chamber on the top of the door. You don’t have to stand on your head to get to the batteries. Well done, engineering team!

The installation procedure was not appreciably different from any cat door. I really like the tube extender, an optional part we needed so that the tube remained unbroken through the full thickness of the wall. All the parts click together easily. The hardest part was cutting the hole in the wall.

Once installed, the door needs to “learn” your cat’s microchip. This is done by the simple method of pushing a button and having your cat walk through the door. Repeat as needed, once for each cat. I was delighted to discover that the door remembers the microchips even if the batteries are dead or missing, removing the need to “re-teach” the door every time the batteries need changing.

After we had our Sure-Flap in place, I taped the flap open for a week so my kitties could get acquainted with the door without unpleasant sensations. Since it is easier for them to push through the flap with the microchip feature turned off, the second step was to leave the flap down but unlocked — batteries out.

The third and final step was the reinsertion of the batteries. To open the door when the microchip reader is active, they do need to squinch themselves up a bit to get the microchip, which is between the shoulderblades, close enough for the door to read.  However, they figured out pretty quickly how to position themselves (this part of the learning process goes faster if you have food on the other side!) and now the mechanics of the door are no problem for them.

I’ve only had one issue with our Sure-Flap: the diameter is a little tight for my larger cat. At a lean 16 pounds, he doesn’t so much walk through the door as ooze through. He looks for all the world like toothpaste coming out of a tube. In future models, I’d suggest that the opening be a little bigger.

While I can’t testify that the door is totally raccoon-proof, I can say that as of this writing, we’ve had several raccoons attempt to get through, so far without success. With our last cat door, a raccoon just needed to insert a claw under the flap and pull, and in he came.  This door seems to be made of sterner stuff.

A warning to consumers: the Sure-flap people sell an adaptor that is supposed to allow you to install the flap in a glass door or glass window, through the glass panes. This only works with single pane, non-safety glass. You cannot install the flap through existing double pane glass (the manual suggests you purchase a replacement double-pane piece manufactured with a premade opening in it, which may be prohibitively expensive), and safety glass will just disintegrate if you try to cut a hole in it. Be sure you know what kind of glass you have before you buy the adaptor.

Our first Sure-Flap is installed between our kitchen and our sunroom. We plan to install a second one between the sunroom and the deck, creating a double level of security against those pesky raccoons. We had planned to install it in the sunroom glass, but – well – you guessed it.

So we will be installing the Sure-Flap in the aluminum wall of our sunroom. The manual is discouraging about installation in metal walls and doors, since the metal might interfere with the microchip reader. With no other choice, we plan to use the glass adaptor to install the flap through the metal. Worst case, we can turn off the microchip function and leave the outer flap unlocked.  Hopefully I can post the results of this experiment in the future.

Overall, I rate this as an excellent product. Great ease of use, fabulous concept, strong construction. It could be a little bigger, but apart from that, I’m delighted with my Sure-Flap!

For more information about the SureFlap Microchip Cat Door and to purchase, please visit SureFlap’s website.

Dr. Crist has been practicing veterinary medicine since 1982, and has been working exclusively with cats since 1993.  She served on the board of the American Association of Feline Practitioners.  Dr. Crist is married with four children, two of which are not fuzzy.

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