Getting your cat microchipped can make it much easier to be reunited with your feline friend if they go missing, and it also means you can make use of microchip cat flaps.
This article looks at the benefits of getting your cat microchipped. Feel free to drop by the comments if you have any questions.
First of all, what is a microchip?
There is a common misconception that when you chip your cat, that you are implanting some sort of GPS tracking device on them.
This isn’t true!
The microchip is a very small chip (about the size of a grain of rice) that contains data – an ID number. When vets or animal rescue centres scan your cat, they get the ID number. They can then use this to query a database to find out your contact details – very handy if your cat has gone missing and then handed into one of these organisations.
Any vets (or various other trained professionals) are qualified to perform the procedure and it will usually cost you in the range of £20 to £30. You will only ever need to do this once.
The procedure is very simple and doesn’t cause your cat any discomfort. The microchip is inserted just under your cat’s skin, between the shoulder blades. The subcutaneous tissue will bond with the chip over time, holding in place. However, in some cases the chip may shift position as the cat grows – this is perfectly normal and nothing to be concerned about.
According to Purina:
Depending on their breed and size, most cats can be microchipped from the age of 10-12 weeks onwards. You may find, therefore, that a cat you adopt from an animal shelter is already microchipped, and some breeders also arrange cat microchipping as part of their service to new owners.
There are a number of different companies in the UK that offer chipping services. These companies each maintain their own database (you would be responsible for keeping your own contact details up to date). The PDSA website has a list of some of the main ones.
So, what are the benefits of microchipping your cat?
There are many benefits to getting your cat microchipped. The main reason to do it is to be able to recover your cat if they go missing and are handed in to a rescue shelter or vet. According to PetPlan:
Petlog, the UK’s largest lost-and-found database for microchipped pets, recently revealed that more than 100,000 cats go missing each year – which means that more than a quarter of all cat owners will experience the heart-wrenching fear of a lost pet. However, only 45% of felines are safely reunited with their owners
It’s not just you who benefits from this. Animal shelters are often underfunded, so if we all do what we can to minimise the volume of animals that use these services, then it benefits the less fortunate animals that really need them.
But having your cat returned to you can also mean its life could be saved. Consider a situation where your cat is injured and handed into a vet. While most vets (and animal charities) will do what they can for the animal, it’s possible decisions will be made without your input.
Even worse, if you live in an area that may need to be evacuated due to natural disasters, then having your cat microchipped can be a useful way to prepare your cat for evacuation and ensure you are reunited if you happen to get split up.
Those are very extreme situations though and we hope that they won’t occur. There are a number of positive ways that a microchip can benefit your cat.
Take microchip enabled cat flaps and feeding bowls for example. These can be great for house cats when their owners are out at work. It means they can come and go (and eat!) as they please, but within the boundaries you set for them. This can end up being much more convenient for both the cat and its owner, improving the quality of their relationship.
It’s also worth noting that it is now mandatory for dogs to be microchipped. The legislation does not yet cover cats, but there are many animal charities pushing for that change to be made. The legislation has great increased the number of lost dogs returned to their owners and given cats are more prone to wandering off, it’s likely that it will be even more beneficial to cat owners.
So there you have it. For a relatively cheap and quick procedure, you can do your cat a lot of favours and even make both your lives a little bit easier!
Cat collars are also an option
Not everyone agrees with putting a collar on their cat as it can cause the animal discomfort or even pain if it gets caught on something when they are out and about. There are options, though. Newer collars have a safe release feature where they will come off if too much pressure is applied to them. This keeps your cat safe (but also means you might go through a lot of collars!). Some GPS trackers even let you listen in on your cat
Do you have your cat chipped or do you use a collar? Let us know your story in the comments!
Also, check out our cat toy reviews: