Should You Microchip Your Cat?

Make sure your cat always makes her way back home with a microchip.

Microchipping is a brilliant and cost-effect way to reunite lost pets with their owners. So why doesn’t everyone do it? Many cats are left out in the cold because they’re not microchipped—some people believe cats have a “built it” GPS and will always find their way home. But that’s not true, and both indoor and outdoor cats should be microchipped. Let’s talk about what microchips are and how they help your lost cat get home.

What is a Microchip?

Also known as pet ID chips, microchips are about the size of a single grain of rice. They use radio frequency waves that contain information about your cat. In a quick procedure, the veterinarian implants the microchip using a syringe and places it between the shoulder blades, right beneath the surface of the skin. Your cat’s subcutaneous tissue will bond to the chip to keep it in place, although there’s always the small chance that it may migrate a little bit before it settles in one spot.

A microchip lasts the lifetime of your pet, so you don’t need to worry about it replacing it. If your cat ever loses his way, an animal shelter or a veterinarian can use a handheld scanner to retrieve the chip’s information. This information includes a registration number, the microchip’s brand, and its contact information. The person who calls the registry can obtain your contact information, reuniting you and your kitty!

microchip cat

©istockphoto/IvonneW

Why Microchip Your Cat?

The main reason to get your cat microchipped is if your cat gets lost and is found, she can easily be scanned and then reunited with her family. The really great thing about a microchip is that it’s in your pet and will remain there no matter what. Unlike collars and tags that can get lost, these ID chips can help ensure your pet will find his way home.

Shelters often microchip cats that are up for adoption. When they find their forever homes, these cats are already set with their microchip and identification so that, if they ever get lost in the future, their owners will be able to find them right away.

Potential Drawbacks of Microchipping

Despite all of the great things about microchips, there are some cons associated with them. For example, some universal scanners may not be able to read the data from your cat’s microchip, even though there have been advancements to ensure these microchip will be scannable no matter what its registry and brand. Also, shelter workers may not be trained to use a scanner properly and end up missing a microchip completely. That means even if your cat has a microchip, it’s not foolproof, so other forms of identification (such as collar IDs) should still be used.

When it comes to microchipping cats, there are certainly pros and cons that need to be weighed. In the case of microchipping, make sure your cat can always find her way back home and ask your vet about the procedure.

Meet the Author: Amy Tokic

Amy Tokic is the Editor of Petguide.com, the flagship site to over 70 different pet communities, which offers pet parents a one-stop-info-shop for all things dog and cat related. Amy's been with PetGuide since the beginning, guided by the wisdom of her Shih Tzu mix and furry roommate, Oscar. Together, this pet power couple has their paw on the pulse of the pet industry, sniffing out trends, advice, news, tasty treat recipes and other tail-wagging stories.

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