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Microchipping is a method of identification that can help to reunite owners with their lost pets, and is becoming much more widespread. The microchip itself, no bigger than a grain of rice, is injected underneath your cat’s skin, between her shoulders, and contains all of your contact information.
According to Central Animal Records, the first Australian microchip registry to be accredited by both the Domestic Animal Registries and the Australian Veterinary Association, they reunited a total of 503,265 pets with their owners in 2013. That’s a lot of lost or missing pets; just think for a moment what might have happened if they weren’t microchipped.
Microchipping is actually compulsory legislation in some states within Australia, but even if it isn’t compulsory where you live, there are a number of reasons why microchipping your cat is important.
Why is Microchipping so Important?
You may have doubts about microchipping your cat, but think of what might happen in the following circumstances:
- Your cat gets lost and adopted by another family, or even stolen by someone unscrupulous.
- Your cat gets ill or injured while she’s out, and taken to a vet where a decision needs to be made about treatment.
- Your cat tragically gets killed on the road. Without a microchip, you may not be identified as the owner and may never know what happened to her.
- Your cat gets lost and taken into a shelter, where she could be either re-homed or euthanized.
Common Reasons for Not Microchipping
The following are the most common reasons pet parents give for not getting their cats microchipped:
1. My cat’s an indoor cat
Although an indoor cat is not as likely as an outdoor cat to get lost or injured, it’s still possible that she might be let out accidentally, or escape the house if given the opportunity.
2. I don’t want to cause my cat pain
The microchipping procedure is similar to any other injection, you cat may feel some slight discomfort but it’s over in a matter of seconds. Just because your cat yowls in protest doesn’t indicate the procedure is painful.
3. I’ve heard that microchips have health risks
Microchips are of course ‘foreign bodies’, so there is the risk of the cat’s body trying to reject them. There has also been some suggestion that microchips can cause cancerous tumours at the site of the microchip, however there are hardly any documented cases and data is limited on whether this is a genuine concern. It’s common veterinary opinion that the benefits of microchips far outweigh the possible risks.
4. My cat wears a collar and tag for identification
Collars can easily fall off, or be taken off in the case of cat theft, whereas a microchip is a permanently implanted form of identification and can’t be removed. A microchip is an ID for life.
5. Aren’t microchips a risk to my security?
Although a microchip links to an animal registry database with your contact information, you have to ask how much of a risk your name, address and phone number can cause. If you have a child at school, they probably have this basic information written on the inside of their school bag. And realistically, how often would your cat actually be scanned?
6. I’ve heard that scanner technology in shelters doesn’t always work
Scanner technology is accurate most of the time, but no scanner on the market today performs with 100% sensitivity. There are several factors that can impact the effectiveness of the microchip scanning process. Some shelters don’t have ‘universal’ scanners that allow them to read every different type of microchip. Human error is also a possibility – shelter employees must be trained in the proper scanning technique, ensure that the scanner batteries are fully charged, and interference with metal and electronic objects in the room when scanning a cat in a shelter environment.
As well as the initial process of microchipping your cat, it’s important to let the microchip company know if you’ve changed your phone number or you move house. You’d be surprised at how many lost and found cats are microchipped but don’t get reunited with their owners because their microchip details aren’t up to date!
Is your cat micro-chipped? Why or why not? Please share in the comments below.
Top image: Tambako the Jaguar via FlickrSaveSave
Aimable Cats says
I was debating whether or not to chip Parker. Then the tornadoes hit Moore (Oklahoma), and several inside cats became outside cats. I chipped her, and her chip number is on her collar as well.
Kimberly Gauthier says
This is a great post. Both of my indoor cats are microchipped, but I haven’t kept up on the chips. I will take them to the vet to have them scanned and if their scanner can’t pick it up, I have a friend who manages a local shelter who can help.
Thanks for the push.
Ellen Pilch says
It is a great idea to micro chip. We never know if disaster will srike and cause our pets to get out.
Cathy Keisha says
Great post! I’m an indoor cat but the peeps got me microchipped right away. I could slip out or something.
Cascadian Nomads Bethany says
Microchipping wasn’t done back when I got Emily and Gryphon but the way Gryphon would blow through collars, I would have rested a lot easier had he been chipped. I am glad all of my pets are now microchipped though I wish for more bugs to be worked out of the processes. The different types of scanners used in different countries frustrates me since we travel. I also hate that out of five pets, I have five different companies to register with unless I am willing to pay several hundred dollars a year. I am pro mandatory microchipping if there is a consolidated database with no annual fees and universal scanners that work more effectively. (Of course, every bad scan story I have heard of was due to human error!)
Beth | Daily Dog Tag says
I should get my cat microchipped. He is an indoor cat and has some neurological problems. If he ever gets outside, I don’t know if he would figure out how to come home.
Sharon Seltzer says
Microchips are important for all animals. Thanks for dispelling the myths and excuses people give. Microchips save lives.
Kitty Cat Chronicles says
Microchipping is very important! None of our cats came microchipped when we adopted them, so we have been microchipping them one-at-a-time as we are able. Hope to get them all done soon!
P.S. Of course you can have a play-date with Sophie at BlogPaws! Anytime you’d like. She would love it! 🙂
Melissa & Truffles says
I really do need to talk to my vet about having Truffles microchipped since she refuses to wear a collar of any kind. She’s an indoor cat but accidents happen.
Hannah and Lucy says
We were both microchipped before we left the cattery and our vet always checks when we get taken there to make sure they haven’t moved.
The Swiss Cats says
Microshipping is as important for indoor cats as for outdoor cats. We wrote about it when Zorro disappeared for four days last year. Thank you for that great reminder ! Purrs
The Island Cats says
Thanks for this important info on microchipping. We aren’t chipped, though we do wear collars with name tags. We need to remind the mom to get us chipped!
With the exception of Mom, our whole family is chipped. I don’t know why Mom doesn’t get chipped but she refuses.
Layla Morgan Wilde (Cat Wisdom 101) says
We’re on the same page today. Wait until you read about a cat from Paris found in NY. The most important piece of advice is to update the microchip info when moving especially overseas.
I am microchipped – but my human can’t log onto the microchip company’s website! 🙁