Microchipping for Your Cat’s Safety

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Microchips are small devices implanted under the skin that contains a code to identify your cat. In this article, we will explain how microchips work if indoor cats should have microchips and if they are right for your cat.

Why Should You Consider Getting A Cat Microchipped?

Your cat escapes the house and is found a few miles away by an animal control officer, who takes the cat back to the shelter and scans the cat in hopes of finding a microchip and microchip code. When a code is found and displayed on the scanner, the shelter employee is able to determine which database to contact for further information. Once the database is contacted, the microchip code is given.

At this point, there are two outcomes. If the owner did not register his name and telephone number with the database, the veterinary clinic that purchased the microchip is listed. Unfortunately, the cat must stay at the shelter until the veterinary clinic can be contacted, usually the next business day, in order to determine the name and telephone number of the owner.

The other potential outcome is based on owner’s paying an additional fee and registering his name, address and telephone number, including alternates, with the database. In this situation, the database is able to supply your telephone number to the shelter employee. The shelter can then contact you directly, resulting in reuniting you with your cat that night.

Do You Need To Microchip Your Cat If They Stay Inside

A common question cat owners ask if they need to microchip a cat that is indoors only. The answer is always yes. It can be even more important to microchip an indoor cat because when they get out, they are often very disoriented and can become lost forever. Some reports suggest that only 2 to 3 percent of cats that get out and are lost are reunited with their owners.

In many cases, indoor cats that get out are not due to the owner letting them out but due to unforeseen circumstances such as a service worker or neighbor leaves the door open. Dr. Debra Primovic, an emergency veterinarian and writer, shared that her indoor cat got out when she had a house fire. The local firemen broke down the door to fight the fire and Sammy ran out. They found her cat Sammy hiding in bushes several doors away. So even cats that are indoor only can get out.

Cat Microchip Recommendations

Below are recommendations for microchipping cats:

  • It is recommended that all cats be microchipped. Even those cats that do not venture outside may escape one day.
  • Register your cat to you. Pay the additional fee and have your name and telephone number listed with the microchip code.
  • Use an identifier on your cat’s collar that indicates that he or she has a microchip and what kind. If you use a collar, use one that has a quick release (also known as a “breakaway” in case your cat get caught with his collar.
  • During your annual visit to the veterinarian, ask them to test the microchip. Have your veterinarian scan your cat to determine if the chip is still transmitting data and confirm the number.
  • Ask your veterinarian or their staff where the chip is located in your cat. Most chips are injected over the back but they may migrate to the side. Routinely feel the area in the location of the microchip for abnormalities. Report any masses or lumps to your vet immediately. I’ve personally never seen a mass result from a microchip in a cat.
  • On an annual basis, confirm your cat’s information with the microchip database and ensure that all contact information including your address, home, and cell phone numbers, and email address are all current.

How Accurate Are Cat Microchips

Microchips are a popular method for permanent identification of cats. The chips are considered reliable, accurate, and an effective way to identify lost cats. Most companies guarantee the chip for the lifetime of your cat.

Do Microchips Cause Cancer

There have been some reports of tumors caused by microchips in laboratory mice and rats. There is also a report of a dog that had a tumor removed that was next to the microchip. However, there is no definitive proof suggesting it was from the microchip. The manufacturers of the microchips also claim they are safe.

In general, microchips are considered very safe. This author has personally never seen a problem or cancer caused by a microchip.

Should Your Microchip Your Cat?

Should you microchip your cat? Absolutely Yes! Microchips are the best way of permanent identification of cats. The chips are considered reliable and an effective way to identify lost cats. At this point in time, we believe that the likelihood of a cat being lost and possibly euthanized because he cannot be identified is way higher than the chance of a tumor.

Additional Articles that May Be of Interest About Cat Microchips

All About the Pet Microchip: Is it Worth it?
Should You Use a Dog Microchip? 
Microchipping for Your Cat’s Safety
What is a Pet Microchip Scanner? 
What is Pet Insurance?
How Does Pet Insurance Work?
When is the Best Time to Get Pet Insurance for Your Cat?
Questions To Ask When Choosing A New Vet

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