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Trovan Reader Offers Solution for Feral Cat Problem!

Feral cats are responsible for killing huge numbers of native wildlife in Australia but controlling feral cats has enormous challenges. Many feral cat control programs rely on initially trapping the animals in non-harmful, self-closing wire mesh cages after the cats are enticed by food baits. It is important to determine if the cat is a true feral cat or an owned cat at large by scanning the animal for the presence of a microchip. This is easier said than done as these cats can be extremely aggressive and dangerous to handle outside of the cage.

Metal causes significant interference with radio-frequency identification devices so reading a microchip in animal contained within a metal cage is problematic.  

One approach to this problem is redesigning or modifying the cage to make it more "RFID-friendly". This can be done, for example, by cutting out one side of the metal cage and replacing it with a clear Perspex panel.

Although this will significantly improve reader performance, many readers will still struggle to read the chips through the perspex because of the amount of metal still present.

Another approach to the problem is using a reader such as the Trovan Pocket Reader (LID560 or LID573) with the straight pole antenna extension (see HERE). By manipulating the pole antenna through the mesh of the cage, the microchip can eventually be detected and read. However,again this can be easier said than done. Because the antenna is concentrated in the tip of the pole, it can be difficult to manipulate the pole into the correct position through the mesh to confidently detect a microchip if present in a cat..... especially if that cat is extremely unsettled!

So, are there any other answers to this problem? The performance of the entire range of Trovan readers in this specific situation was tested – both by our own company in our testing facilities and also by some animal rangers, wildlife officers and wildlife researchers in the field. The stand-out performer in reading chips in animals inside metal cages is the AREH5 Reader.



This finding means that the AREH5 reader can be used to scan for microchips in feral cats still safely contained within the restraint or capture cage!

[Please note that, if you are screening feral cats for possible microchips, you need to use a reader that detects and decodes ALL microchips that are commonly used and have previously been used in Australia i.e. ISO FDXB as well as FDXA. Our LID560, LID575, LID573ISO, AREH5 and GR251 are all capable of reading all of these microchips.]