Is your cat microchipped? If not, one of the best and safest ways to increase the chances of finding your lost cat is to have it microchipped. One in three pets get lost during their lifetime and without microchips, 90 percent never return home. Unfortunately, only about 2-5 percent of cats that come into animal shelters have microchips and are successfully reunited with their owners.
A microchip is the size of a grain of rice (12 mm), implanted in the subcutaneous tissue of your cat’s skin, typically between the shoulder blades. The procedure is done in a matter of seconds using a needle, similar to a routine shot, and is considered relatively painless.
Getting a microchip is a two-step process. Once you microchip your cat, then you will need to follow up and register your cat with the microchip company. This is a very important step! Most microchip companies offer annual or lifetime plans, so check with the company to see which plan works best for you. If you chose to pay annually, don’t forget to keep your plan up-to-date.
There is no universal standard of microchip, so there are several different microchip companies to choose from. You want to choose a microchip company that will be recognized by your local animal shelter and local veterinarians when they go to scan your cat, if lost. Many shelters and veterinarians today use a “universal” scanner, which is capable of reading all or most microchip frequencies (brand’s microchips). But in the case that your shelter or veterinarian doesn’t use a universal scanner, then you want to select a brand of microchip that their scanner will recognize. Call your shelter and veterinarian to find out what they recommend before microchipping your cat.
What is a microchip?
A microchip is a permanent identification with a unique ID code that uses radio frequency waves to transmit information about your pet. Each chip contains a registration number and the phone number of the registry for that particular brand. The microchip is read using a handheld scanner placed over the cats’ shoulder blades to display the unique ID number that will retrieve your contact information from the database, and reunite you with your cat.
Where can I get my cat microchipped?
It’s best to get your cat microchipped by your local veterinarian. If you adopted your cat from a local cat rescue group, they may be able to do it as well. Your local animal shelter may offer microchipping, and often will do it for less. If you adopted your cat, check to see if your cat is already microchipped the next time you visit your vet.
Though there’s no law requiring microchips be given by a medical professional, you want to be very careful about using a veterinarian, veterinary technician, or a professional with experience microchipping. There have been cases where chips have been implanted incorrectly and complications have arisen and led to severe injury and even death. But these are rare.
What do microchips cost?
Microchips implanted by veterinarians usually cost around $40-70 dollars, depending on your vet. This is a one-time fee that may include registration in a pet recovery database. Your shelter and local cat rescue group may provide them for less. But you will be responsible for the making sure the registration information is correct once the cat is microchipped, and will need to contact the microchip company to pay the annual fee or lifetime membership.
What microchip brand is best?
There are many different brands that offer microchips. The microchip company you choose should be based on the brand(s) your local shelter recognizes. It’s always safer to go with a larger brand like Avid, HomeAgain, 24PetWatch, or Bayer ResQ, but it really depends on whether your shelter and local vets use a universal scanner or scanner that only identifies one particular brand. Best to call them to find out.
Important things to remember about chips
- Missing microchips increase with heavier, fatter or weightier cats that have a lot of skin. Bigger cats need more thorough scanning.
- Microchips can move around your cat’s body, and may not necessarily stay in one place making it harder to find the microchip. This is more common in older cats. Again more thorough scanning may be needed.
- Have your vet scan your cat’s microchip periodically to make sure it’s still in the same location, or you know where it’s located.
- Kittens can be microchipped typically after 8-weeks-old or about two pounds. Younger kittens are considered too fragile, vulnerable and are still nursing.
Top reasons to microchip your cat
- Provides a very safe, permanent form of identification
- Increases the chances you will be reunited with your cat
- Procedure is quick, painless and inexpensive
- Increases the chance your cat will be found in a natural disaster
- Reduces the possibility your cat could be injured or victimized while lost
- Reduces the number of homeless or stray cats
- Reduces the number of euthanized cats at local animal shelters
Don’t wait till your cat escapes out the door or window, or a natural disaster or worst case scenario happens—get your cat microchipped as soon as you can to ensure your beloved cat finds you again.
Credits: Photos by Pixabay, www.pixabay.com