Why Should You Microchip Your Cat?

Microchipping your cat is an inexpensive way to have your cat identified and returned to you if they ever run off. Think of this as a modern day dog collar, even if your cat likely doesn’t wear a collar. Animal shelters and vet clinics have scanners that they can use to check to see if your cat has a microchip, and after getting your contact info they’ll call you to let you know that they have found your missing cat.

If you want peace of mind knowing that your cat can easily be identified if they run off, this is something you should have done early in their life.

Because of how easy this is it is required by almost every country if you ever wanted to travel with your cat.

What is a Cat Microchip?

A microchip is a small electronic device that is implanted inside the skin of your cat, usually in their back between their shoulders.  The microchip is an electronic device about the size of a large rice grain that acts as an identification tool for your cat. The microchip contains a unique identification (ID) number. The ID number references a database that contains information about the owner and can help reunite the pet with its owner.

Microchips are more reliable than collar tags. This is because collar tags can separate from the cats, and because most cats do not wear collars. Since the microchip is implanted inside the skin of the cat, there is no chance of it getting separated.

How to microchip your cat?

The process of microchipping your cat is straightforward and easy. You can contact your vet to have the microchip planted on your cat. The microchip is injected into the skin using a syringe. 

There is no fixed place where the microchip can be inserted but it is usually implanted inside the thick skin between the shoulder blades. The procedure will just take a few seconds and no anesthesia is required to be administered to the cat.
Microchipping dogs

How safe is it to microchip your cat?

Yes, it is extremely safe to implant the microchip on your cat. It usually does not hurt the cat and they will be absolutely fine after the microchip has been inserted. The only discomfort that they will feel is of a needle poking through their skin, similar to when a blood test is done.

One possible concern that needs to be looked into is the microchip moving to some other location. This rarely happens but you can ask your vet to check the location of the microchip when you take the cat for their regular check-ups.  The vet can use an RFID (Radio Frequency Identification) detector to check the location of the microchip.

How does the microchip work?

The microchip does not have a power source of its own and is only activated when an RFID scanner is used within 6 – 8” of the microchip. The embedded microchip then displays the identification number on the scanner.  The vet or shelter home can then use the identification number to find out information about the owner of the cat. This can be done by contacting the manufacturer of the microchip who can provide the information about the cat’s owner by looking into the database.

The microchip on its own does not contain information about the owner or residence of the cat. The only thing that the microchip carries is a unique identification number. This also helps to keep your information private. 

It is always important to keep your contact information updated in the database so that the pet recovery service can contact you. If you change your location or contact number, make sure to get it updated in the database. If you do not, it will become difficult for anyone to contact you if they find your lost cat. 

Another important thing to know about the microchips is that they are not a GPS device. What this means is that you cannot track the location of the cat in real-time.

Does microchipping my cat guarantee that I will get them back if they are lost?

The microchip is not a GPS device. It does not have the ability to track the physical location of your cat if they get lost. The only way you will get back your pet is if someone finds them and takes them to a vet or a shelter.

The vet or shelter owner will use an RFID scanner to read the identification number (ID) on your cat’s microchip. This will help them identify the manufacturer of the microchip and contact them to get the owner’s details. The company will look into their database and share the information associated with the number.

Benefits of Microchipping a Cat

There are two main benefits of having your cat microchipped.

Owner Identification

Every year millions of pets end up at shelters, many of which are not strays. A large number of them have to be euthanized because the owners of these cats cannot be found. If your cat gets lost somehow, having them microchipped will help others find you. When someone finds your cat they can take them to a vet or a shelter. Using the identification number on the microchip, they can identify you, and help reunite you with your cat.

Microchipping dogs

When moving abroad with a cat

If you are planning to move abroad with your cat, there are several things that you’ll need to do. Microchipping your cat is one of them.

Almost every country requires any cats entering the country to have a microchip. This helps the authorities to identify the owners of the cats and avoid any disputes if your cat is lost or stolen.

Cost of Microchipping a Cat

Microchips are inexpensive and there are no maintenance costs associated with it. Depending upon the manufacturer, it can cost between $15 to $20. In addition to this, there might be a fee that you may have to pay to the vet for the procedure.

Some shelter owners will have the cats already microchipped and there would not be a need for you to have them microchipped. Sometimes breeders will help to get the cats microchipped when you purchase the cat from them as a part of their services.  

Are there any side effects after microchipping a cat?

Any possible side effects are very rare. When considering the millions of cats that have had a microchip implanted into them over the years it is incredibly unlikely that your cat will experience anything. However, some cats may have a small amount of hair loss at the injection site. This is usually from scar tissue, but again unless you are looking for it, it is quite unlikely you will see it even if it happens.

Are microchips safe for cats?

Yes, millions of cats are implanted with microchips each year and the vast majority don’t even have the smallest side effects. When you consider the benefits of having your cat returned to you the cost should outweigh the inconvenience of an implanted chip.

Is microchipping painful for cats?

It will feel the same as if they received a vaccination or had their blood drawn. It is very minor, and they’ll forget about it seconds after it has finished.

How long does a microchip last in a cat?

Microchips are designed to outlast the life of your cat. They are designed to work for 25 years and very few cats will live to be 25.

Which microchip should I get?

There are several companies that manufacture microchips and for the most part they all do the same thing with few differences. Some microchips can be read by universal scanners while others would require specific scanners. The best thing is to use a microchip that is most commonly used in your area. The shelters and vets in your area will have the scanner to read these microchips allowing them to easily scan the number on the microchip.
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