Cat's Colo.-NY saga piques interest in microchip

By the Associated Press | September 16, 2011 | 4:25 PM EDT

Willow, a 6-year calico cat that went missing from her Colorado home during a renovation 5 years ago, sits in a cage at her temporary home on Wednesday, Sept. 14, 2011, in New York's Animal Care and Control (ACC) facility. Willow, found as a stray in Manhattan and brought to ACC, had been tagged with an identification microchip and will soon be reunited with her owners. (AP Photo/Bebeto Matthews)

NEW YORK (AP) — Intrigued pet owners are asking veterinarians about a microchip that linked a calico cat found in New York City to its family in Colorado after five years and more than 1,600 miles.

Willow's owners had the chip implanted when she was a kitten. When she arrived at a Manhattan shelter on Wednesday, a routine scan found the chip. The chip led to a registry, which led to the owners in Boulder, Colo.

Vets have been recommending the chips for years. Some say interest has been sparked recently by Willow's story and by natural disasters that forced the separations of many pets and owners.

Some shelters won't let an animal be adopted without first having a chip embedded.

The chip is inserted beneath an animal's skin through a syringe like a vaccine. No sedation or anesthetic is needed.