Microchip Your Cat

Microchip Your Cat

By Eric Hartwell

A safe and effective way to keep track of your cat is microchipping. “Microchips” are small computer chips, approximately the size of a grain of rice. The veterinarian imbeds the chip under your cat’s skin, usually in the scruff of the neck, to give your cat a unique number that is used to identify your cat if it gets lost or goes missing. This minor procedure is as painless as an injection or vaccine and most cats have no reaction when they undergo microchipping. The number and information stored on the chip is used when your cat is lost and can be scanned by a microchip reader at veterinarian’s offices, animal shelters and animal hospitals.

The microchip reader functions much like a scanner at your local supermarket. The information stored on the chip includes your name, address, telephone number and your cat’s physical details. It is imperative that the owner keeps the information up to date so the cat can be returned safely home if it is lost. If an owner has a change of address or telephone number, this information should be reentered into the microchip and stored so your cat’s details are current. This is not a foolproof method, if your cat gets lost in an area where a scanner is not available, your best bet for identifying your cat is an ID tag and safety collar containing all necessary information. If your cat is wearing a safety collar and ID tag, this can help prevent your cat from going to an animal shelter when it is lost. The ID tag will ensure that your cat will not be considered a stray and the person who finds it can more easily return it to you.

Microchipping is not an expensive procedure, in most areas the cost of this safety precaution is $50 USD. The owner must pay an additional fee to register the cat’s microchip ID information. This registration fee is used to make sure your cat’s information is entered into databases at shelters in your area. If you get your cat from an animal shelter, it may already be microchipped and you will only have to pay the small registration fee. Contact your local animal shelter to find out if they provide a free microchipping service.

Each year, 10 million or more pets are lost in the United States. About 75% of cats have lost their collars by the time they reach an animal shelter. There is some controversy regarding the microchipping process used to identify your cat. Some microchips are scanned at a higher frequency than others, depending on the scanner. Find out more information from your veterinarian or local animal shelter about the frequencies used in the microchip that is provided for you and your cat. If a scanner cannot scan the information on your cat’s microchip then the microchipping process is futile. Shelter workers may assume there is no microchip in your pet and will not be able to contact you if your cat is lost and ends up at the shelter.

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