Every cat owner wants his furry pal to be safe. Microchipping a cat is an easy way to identify your can if it gets away from you. Even indoor cats have the ability to get lost. If your furry mate gets away from your home, a collar with a tag on it stating your home address and phone number can get snagged on a fence or lost in some way or another. A microchip stays in the cat forever and no matter where your cat goes the information that is on the microchip goes with it.

What is a Microchip and how does it Help My Pet?

Like the name suggests, a microchip is a teeny-tiny computer chip, about the size of a grain of rice, which can be injected below your pet’s skin. The chip has a unique number that identifies that specific chip. When a chip is assigned to your pet the chip’s number becomes your pet’s identifying number.

Much like your food products are ran across the scanner at the grocery store and their UPC codes give you the information you are looking for on that product, a special scanner is used to scan the pet and read the information that is contained on the chip. The scanner uses low frequency radio waves to read the information on the chip.

This information stored on the chip is only the serial number; the important identifying information for your pet is kept in a database that the chip manufacturer keeps updated. This database can be checked when a lost pet is found, to find out who the pet belongs to and any other pertinent information about the pet.

How is a microchip inserted?

Since microchips are tiny they are able to fit into a preloaded syringe, like those used for vaccinations. These are then injected into the pet between the shoulder blades. The injection takes seconds and is comprised of sterile water and the chip. The needle is a fairly large gauge to allow enough room for the chip to pass through. Most animals don’t notice being microchipped although, due to the size of the needle, smaller animals may feel the injection for a couple of seconds and be tender around the injection site for a few days.

Risks can include infections at the injection site just like any other injection. It is rare that infection occurs but if it does you need to keep the area clean.

What do I have to do to have my pet microchipped?

Having your pet microchipped is easy – you just request it from your vet or you can have it done at a local shelter. Many shelters are not allowing pets to be adopted without chipping them. This gives them a clear picture of how many pets are bounced back into the shelter.

Once the chip is inserted you need to contact the manufacturer and register the chip. Most give you the ability to add information and even a photo of your pet in case your pet is lost.

Drawbacks to Microchipping a Cat

Well, one drawback for the cat is he may have difficulty finding fourteen owners to feed and praise him as he nonchalantly wanders from home to home making everyone believe they are his one and only.

Ok, your cat will most likely still be able to pull off the ‘multiple owner cruise’ if he wants to. Most people won’t bother to take the time to scan stray cats to check to see if he has another owner.  Since the chip isn’t meant to keep the cat honest this isn’t usually a problem.

Drawbacks to the Microchipping process include the many companies that offer microchips. There isn’t a standard chip so it is possible to chip your pet and still have issues with losing the pet and not having it identified. Different chips need different scanners to read them. Most are using the same types now; it is older chips that are an issue.

The biggest drawback to Microchipping your pet is many people forget to register their microchip. If the microchip company only has a record of whom they sold the chip to, and not whom it was inserted in, the database won’t help your pet find his way home.  Too often a lost pet is found, scanned and the vet or shelter that bought the chip is the only information that was entered in the system.

Do indoor cats need to be microchipped?

All pets can find their way outdoors and get lost. It is important for any and all pets to have proper care and have a security system in place that gives him a way to be found and returned to you if something happens.  Some shy cats can get out and become too fearful to return to you for fear of being caught or harmed by others. If your indoor cat gets out and becomes lost having him microchipped can help him to return to you quickly.

Is Microchipping the only protection your pet needs?

Many pet owners allow themselves to believe that a microchip is the only pet identification system that your pet needs. Everyone can look at your cat’s tags that are hanging on his collar to see where he lives. Not everyone has access to a scanner. If your cat gets out of your home and becomes lost he has a better chance of returning to you if he has identification tags and a microchip.

If your cat is an outdoor cat your neighbors can assume he is a stray and ‘adopt’ him as well. In little to no time a friendly cat can find himself a whole neighborhood of owners. Microchipping a cat is not going to keep him from finding new owners in his neighborhood who are willing to care for him and even take him along when they move. If your cat is wearing a collar that clearly labels him as being a loved pet and not a stray.


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