When you are getting a kitten or a rescue cat, you will often here people talk about getting a microchip for their cat. While it may sound strange and somewhat painful, it is actually the most effective and efficient method of ensuring your cat can be identified if it gets lost and that it makes its way safely back to you.
Why have a microchip?
The first thing that happens when a stray cat arrives at a vets is that they check to see if it has a microchip. This means that if your cat has a chip, your information is contained on it and you have a far better chance of being reunited with your beloved pet than if you had simply stuck a collar around their neck with your name and address on. Remember collars can be lost and can also be removed whereas a microchip remains in place for life.
If the worst happens and something terrible happens to your cat without your knowledge, the microchip means that the police or vets can get in touch with you and end your worry. This also means that the vets can get authorisation for any procedures that may need to be carried out to save your cat’s life by speaking to you quickly.
Some animal rescue centres will rehome a cat after a week if no-one claims it so by having a microchip in place, they can quickly get in touch with you for you to be able to reclaim your cat. The microchip is also an excellent way for you to prove the cat is yours – only you have your ID and personal details that match the information on the chip. However, if you move house remember to get in touch with the company who implanted the chip to update your details, as there is no automatic update system.
Finally, microchipped cats are less likely to be targeted by thieves as stealing expensive pedigree cats is unfortunately something that happens. If a cat has a microchip, the thieves know it will be far harder to sell on than a cat without one. Many microchipping companies will provide free tags that can go on a collar around your cat’s neck that show they are chipped and will dissuade thieves from targeting them.
The one thing a microchip isn’t is a GPS tracker that allows you to find your cat if it goes missing. The chip can only work if it is scanned and the information held in conjunction with it is accessed. This means the chip is only effective if you need your data current with the chip company. It also only help if the cat is taken to a vet surgery, animal shelter or animal charity who have the facility to check the chip and access the data it contains.
How a microchip works
While having a microchip implanted may sound uncomfortable, it is actually a simple and relatively painless process. A needle is used to push a tiny chip under the skin, normally between the shoulder blades. This chip has a unique number that is picked up by a scanner and that number relates to your information. Many animals as well as cats are now microchipped including dogs, horses and many small mammals.
The process is no more painful for the animal than having blood taken and takes about the same amount of time. It doesn’t have to be done by a vet but for safety and in case anything goes wrong, a vet is usually the best person to do the process.
The cost of a microchip can vary and some animal shelters and charities will do it automatically before rehoming a cat. Speak to your vets for exact details although the cost can normally be minimalized when combined with other procedures such as neutering or spaying.
While microchipping doesn’t solve every problem that can occur with a lost cat, it can help in a lot of scenarios. Having access to you quickly in the event of an accident can potentially save your cats life and by being able to reach you within a short time can save the heartbreak of tracking them down to find they have been rehomed. Therefore, for the sake of a simple procedure, it may be better to have the process done and find you never need it than the other way around.