If you’re a new cat owner, you may be wondering about the process of microchipping cats.
It’s perfectly common to ask how the microchipping procedure works, at what age it should be done, and how safe it is.
To help you understand better, Catonsville Cat Clinic has gathered answers to a few of the most common microchipping cat questions below.
Why Your Cat Should Have A Microchip ID
A microchip ID is the leading way to ensure that you can find your cat if they happen to get lost.
Whether your cat is an indoor cat or they actually roam outside, cats have a curious nature. Even if they prefer the comfort of their cat bed, they may end up exploring a little too far from home. That can lead to them getting actually lost, or picked up and placed into a shelter. With cat microchip IDs, you’ll have a way of being reunited with your pet.
While collar ID tags are also important and can help your cat be identified quickly, they’re not failsafe. Because they need to be loose enough to not hurt your cat if the collar gets caught, they can fall off. By microchipping cats, animal shelters and veterinarians can be sure to have a way to identify your cat.
Still, we know that any procedure, even one that helps ensure their safety, can raise certain questions. We’ll speak more about the procedure of microchipping cats below so you can make the right decision for you.
How Do Vets Implant A Cat Microchip?
Microchipping cats is done through the use of a syringe. Since the chip is about 12mm long, or the size of a grain of rice, it can be injected just underneath the skin.
Though there is no one single location veterinarians have agreed on for inserting the microchip, most implant it near the shoulder blade.
The injection process for microchipping cats takes a few seconds, while the benefits of having the microchip should last for your cat’s whole life.
How Dangerous Is Microchipping Cats?
Implanting a cat microchip is very safe. Since it is a medical procedure, some side effects are possible, if rare.
Potential side effects of microchipping cats include:
- Movement of the microchip ID to another location
- Development of a tumor at the spot of the injection (no proven cases of this happening)
As noted, these are very rare side effects, especially when compared against the millions of cats who have received and receive microchips. The reward of finding a potentially lost cat far outweighs the small risks outlined above.
Does Microchipping Hurt Cats?
Because microchips are implanted with a syringe, the feeling is comparable to having blood drawn.
The applicator needle is aimed at the loose skin between the cat’s shoulder blade. Though the needle does not penetrate deep, it may cause a small pinch. The brief, shallow injection also means your cat won’t need any anesthetic.
Does Microchipping Cats Help Me Keep Track Of My Cat?
No, a cat microchip is not a GPS device and does not provide real-time information. Cat microchips are considered RFID, or radio frequency identification devices. These don’t require power.
Instead, they are registered when an animal shelter or veterinarian brings an RFID scanner near them. Once the scanner is near when the microchip was implanted, the number is activated, and the ownership information is pulled up in a database.
With that information and the chip’s number, it’s possible to contact the company that made the chip to find the cat’s owner.
Which leads us to another essential part of microchipping cats: keeping your information updated. Without current information, like an updated address or phone number, the chip company will have no way of contacting you.
Make sure to check in with your veterinarian about the registration process and the steps you should take to update it when you move.
How Many Shelters Actually Scan Lost Cats?
In our experience, nearly all veterinarians and shelters use RFID scanners to find cat microchips.
There are some variations between microchip manufacturers, so it may be the case that certain scanners only pick up certain microchips. Still, most veterinarians and shelters will keep multiple scanners in-house to deal with this eventuality.
For your own peace of mind, you can also ask your vet to scan for your cat’s microchip once in a while. That way you’ll know the chip is still in the right place and easily scanned.
Should My Cat Have A Microchip And A Collar ID?
Collar IDs are a great way to help your cat get found locally. Chances are your next-door neighbor doesn’t have an RFID scanner, so they’ll just be looking for the number to call on the tag.
A collar ID isn’t as secure for actually ensuring your pet’s ID. Because the microchip is injected, you’ll be sure your cat’s identification isn’t lost, removed, or otherwise compromised.
Is The Cat Microchip Tied Directly To My Contact Information?
They are not directly tied, meaning your personal privacy isn’t compromised just because someone has an RFID scanner. Instead, the RFID scanner can pick up the chip’s identification number from the chip’s manufacturer.
From there, that number is given to the pet recovery service, and that service contacts you. The intermediary keeps your information safe. You can also see why it’s important that the information connected to the chip’s ID is updated.
At What Age Is Microchipping Cats A Good Idea?
Most cats can actually get their microchip starting at about 10-12 weeks. Though this may vary some depending on the breed and the size, it’s a good rule of thumb most veterinarians and shelters use.
Ready To Have Your Cat Microchipped?
Have a cat or kitten you’d like to have microchipped?
Our expert team of veterinarians at the Catonsville Cat Clinic is here to help. You can schedule your cat microchipping appointment with us today by clicking here.