WHAT IS A PET MICROCHIP?
A pet microchip is a tiny (about the size of a grain of rice) encapsulated biocompatible electronic microchip that carries a unique code that identifies your pet when scanned. These microchip implants are called radio-frequency identification devices (RFID), also called a transponder.
The microchips are considered passive, meaning that they passively store a unique identification number and do not actively transmit any information. Instead, the microchip is activated by the handheld scanner as it's passed over the area of the chip, and the chip then sends the identification number to the scanner.
When is the right time to microchip my cat?
The right time to microchip your cat is during their first vaccination appointment, at around 8 weeks of age. Another good time is right after their vaccinations, during their neutering/spade appointment. You will find most shelters, and veterinarians also subscribe to this timeline.
It's never too late to get your adult or senior cat microchipped.
How is the microchip put into my cat?
In the first step before insertion, the microchip is scanned to confirm the identification code is correct. Next, the needle retaining the microchip is inserted into the application gun (syringe), and the cat is positioned for the injection. First, the loose skin between the shoulder blades of the cat is gently pulled up; the microchip is implanted in the subcutaneous tissue (between the skin and fat layer). After insertion, the cat is scanned to ensure that the chip is reading correctly.
How long does it take to microchip my cat?
The time it takes to microchip your cat is relativity fast, taking about the same amount of time it takes to give any other injection. You will spend more time completing the registration paperwork.
Is microchipping painful for my cat?
Microchipping hurts your cat about as much as having blood drawn. Although the needle is large, it is sharp so that most animals do not even flinch when the chip is inserted. The chip is usually inserted without incident.
Some pet owners choose to have the chip implanted when their cat is neutered or spayed while the cat is under general anesthetic (asleep), but this is not necessary.
Is The Cat Microchipping Procedure Dangerous?
The cat microchipping procedure is considered highly safe. However, there is always a risk of development, as with any medical procedure. One of these developments is the potential migration of the chip into another location.
While this isn't considered harmful to the cat, it can make the chip harder to find, harder to scan, and therefore less effective when it comes to bringing a lost cat home safely. In addition, there have been reports that shelters miss several chips each year due to the migration of the chips.
Will A Microchip Tell Me My Cats Location?
A microchip will not tell you your cat's location. A microchip is not a GPS device that provides real-time tracking capabilities. Instead, the chip is only activated when the scanner is waved over the chip. Then, the scanner will read the identification number, which is linked in a database to your ownership information.
Once my cat has been microchipped, is there anything else I need to do?
Yes, after your cat has been microchipped, you must register the chip's identification number with the appropriate agency. In addition, you need to provide your contact information to be added to the database. Adding your contact information to the database is how shelters or veterinarians will contact you if your cat has been found. In most cases, many veterinarians will submit the paperwork on your behalf.
How do I Transfer my cat's Microchip Registration?
You can transfer your cat's microchip registration simply by going to the registered agency website and completing the documentation. Depending on the agency, there will be different requirements. If you do not know who the agency is, contact your veterinarian that installed the chip.
How do I know if the cat I just adopted from the animal shelter microchipped?
If the shelter scans the cat, they should be able to tell you if it is microchipped. Some even go as far as to implant microchips into every cat they adopt.
Also, most veterinary clinics have microchip scanners, and your veterinarian can scan your new adopted cat.
Why are microchips sometimes not found?
Like everything in life, it's not a foolproof system. It's infrequent, but microchips can fail and become unable to be detected by a scanner. The chip could have migrated, and the cat may have been scanned in the wrong location. The human fallacy can also play a factor at times.
How will the microchip help my cat get home?
Yes, a microchip can help your cat get home. The microchip is used for identification should your cat get lost and wind up at the shelter or a veterinary hospital. They will scan the cat for a chip, the chip number will show up in the database with your contact information, and then you will be contacted about your found cat.
Does my cat still need a microchip if they never go outdoors?
Yes, your indoor cat still needs a microchip, especially if you want peace of mind. Cats are wanderers by nature, and one day they will find a way out and may not find their way back home. Even the most responsible owner cannot ensure that their cat will not get lost.
If my cat already wears a collar with a tag do they still need a microchip?
While a collar with identification tags is a beautiful line of defense for a lost cat, the collar can also become physically separated from your pet. Microchipping your cat ensures that a veterinarian or animal shelter can adequately and quickly identify them.
What should I do to "maintain" my cat's microchip?
For maintaining your cat's microchip, there are two things you should do. First, keep your contact information updated in the agency database. Second, request your veterinarian to scan your cat's microchip during visits to ensure the microchip is still performing.
I hope this article helped answer most of your questions or ease your mind about getting your cat microchipped. You and your pet should have the added protection to make sure they find their way back home. There are so many lost cats that never see their owners again each year.
At Love4Cats, our practice involves consistent collaboration with licensed veterinarians and reputable industry experts. However, it's important to note that the content provided on Excited Cats is not intended as veterinary advice. While we strive to enhance your understanding of feline care, the information presented on this blog should not replace professional veterinary guidance.