Should You Microchip Your Cat?

YES! 📣

microchip cat

It seems like most pets are microchipped these days — but should you microchip your own cat?

Microchipping your cat can actually be super useful if your pet wanders off or gets lost since it’ll increase the chances that you’ll be reunited.

The Dodo spoke with Dr. Chyrle Bonk, a veterinarian working with Doggie Designer, to find out what you should know about getting your cat microchipped.

What is a cat microchip?

A cat microchip is an implantable mechanism that goes under your cat’s skin and identifies you as his owner.

“A cat microchip is a tiny device that carries a unique ID number that is connected to your contact information,” Dr. Bonk told The Dodo.

The information stored in your cat’s microchip is pretty much all the same stuff that would be on the ID tag of his collar.

“It codes for a unique number that can be read with a chip reader,” Dr. Bonk said. “That number is attached to your address, phone number and other relevant information in the [microchip] company’s database.”

Getting your cat microchipped can really help out if he gets lost, especially since it can’t fall off like a collar or an ID tag.

“Cats typically don’t wear collars, and those that do usually won’t keep them on, so having any kind of ID on your cat can be extremely difficult,” Dr. Bonk said. “Microchips can be that ID for your kitty should they become lost. It’s a form of ID that can’t be lost or removed from your cat.”

How much does a cat microchip cost?

It doesn’t cost a ton to microchip your cat, and the price is pretty reasonable considering it’ll also get your information set up in the recovery database (and, of course, help find your lost cat).

“​​Getting your cat microchipped costs around $40 to $50,” Dr. Bonk said. “This is a one-time cost and often includes the registration fee for the database.”

Does microchipping hurt cats?

Since microchips actually get inserted under your cat’s skin, you’re probably wondering if it hurts. Luckily, it shouldn’t be too painful.

“A microchip is about the same size as a grain of rice, so in order to get it under your cat’s skin, it requires a larger needle than the one your cat gets their vaccinations with,” Dr. Bonk said. “However, it shouldn’t feel any worse than getting blood drawn, and there shouldn’t be any lasting pain or discomfort.”

How to find a lost cat with a microchip

Since scanners are usually at vets, shelters or rescues, if someone brings your lost cat to any of these places, a staff member will use a scanner to check for a microchip. When your cat’s microchip gets scanned, it’ll share your linked contact information from the database so you can be contacted.

“Veterinary clinics and shelters often scan found animals with their chip readers as a first step in locating the owner,” Dr. Bonk said. “If your cat has a microchip, it will be picked up by their chip reader, letting them know who your cat belongs to.”

But, of course, you shouldn’t depend on your cat’s microchip to reunite with your lost BFF. Take extra precautions by acting as if your cat doesn’t have a microchip, and follow the recommendations below.

How to find a lost cat without a microchip

Finding a lost cat without a microchip can be tough, but not impossible.

“​​Whether your cat’s microchipped or not, be sure to take action if they become lost,” Dr. Bonk said. “Contact all local veterinary clinics and shelters with a description or even picture of your cat. You can also take to social media with pictures and [search] the area where your cat was lost.”

If your cat isn’t microchipped, it might make tracking him down trickier, so make sure you’re trying any idea you can think of to find him — even the ones you think won’t work, because you never know.

“Don’t rule out print ads in newspapers or grocery stores and other common areas as well,” Dr. Bonk said.

So while it’s entirely up to you whether or not you should microchip your cat, the device does make it a lot easier for you to reunite with your BFF if he runs off.

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