If you’re planning to adopt a cat or kitten, you’ll likely have the opportunity to have your pet microchipped when you take your new companion for his or her first vet visit. As a cat parent, you want what’s best for your cat, which means making good choices about their health and well-being.
The microchipping process involves placing a small chip in the loose fur on the back of your cat’s neck. When properly set up, these microchips contain information that can be used to identify your pet in an emergency. Although it is a great option and increases the chances of your pet being returned safely, this technology is far from foolproof. So, what are the downsides of microchips?
Microchip readers can malfunction, and you should take steps to register your cat’s microchip with a registry that has access to your contact information. Microchips can be used to identify your pet, but they do not have your contact information encoded. You may also need to insert another microchip if you are traveling internationally with your cat. Read on for six things to consider when deciding whether or not to microchip your cat!
Pros of microchipping your cat
1. Microchip process
It only takes one second to slice a cat. Your veterinarian uses a needle to insert a slice the size of a grain of rice into the skin between your pet’s shoulders. It’s similar to your friend getting vaccinated. After the chip is implanted, your veterinarian will examine it to make sure it is working.
Most cats adopted from shelters are neutered or spayed at the same time as they are neutered or spayed. If you decide to purchase a kitten from a breeder, check whether they plan to neuter your new family member or whether this is something you will need to take care of. This procedure can cost anywhere from $100 to $300, but many organizations offer no strips or offer a low cost. They are often included as part of kitten adoption fees at shelters. While most accident and insurance plans won’t cover microchips, some health options focused on kittens do.
2. Online records
The microchip contains a unique identifier that makes it easy to identify your pet. But microchips do not contain information about you. Nothing on your pet’s microchip can be used independently to link your cat to you. For these microchips to work, pet parents need to register their pets with an online registry.
When you register with an online registry, you will submit your pet’s unique microchip ID and contact information. Without a registration link, a microchip alone will not do much to recover your pet if it becomes lost. Many microchip makers have registries that offer free registration of pets that have a chip made by that manufacturer.
The first three numbers of the chip identify the manufacturer of the product. Some veterinarians will take care of your registration after your cat is chipped.
3. Lost cats
Cats get lost for all kinds of reasons. Domestic cats sometimes run away, wander around, and have trouble finding their way home. Pets can also get lost in emergencies such as fires and hurricanes. And if you decide to let your pet out, the microchip provides an extra layer of security by making it easier to find you in an emergency.
While microchips are not absolute guarantees that your pet will be returned quickly or that you will be contacted immediately if something tragic happens, the technology creates an extra layer of protection if something happens to your pet. Most shelters and veterinarians in the United States have radio frequency device (RFD) readers that work with almost all microchips.
As long as you record your pet’s unique identification number and contact information with the registry, any shelter or veterinarian in the United States will be able to contact you if your pet is found and brought to them.
Cons of microchipping your cat
4. Pain and infection
The microchipping process seems to bother cats as much as getting vaccinated, and veterinarians have reported few side effects. If you’re concerned that this procedure will harm your cat, talk to your veterinarian about implanting the microchip at the same time your cat is neutered or spayed and under anesthesia.
Side effects are rare, although there have been some reports of local pain and occasional abscess development at the injection site. You can get your pet microchipped when they are 10-12 weeks old, and your vet can take care of this process during regular checkups. Microchips are passive. It does not send signals or require a battery to operate. It also does not contain chemicals known to be harmful to your pet. They don’t wear out, don’t need to be replaced, are less painful than tattoos, and are easier for shelters and veterinarians to use for reunification and notification purposes.
Unfortunately, you may need to have your pet re-chipped if you plan to take it with you on a trip to the European Union. The European Union requires pets to have ISO-compliant microchips. The United States has different requirementsso EU customs officials, vets or shelters will not be able to read the US microchip.
You may need to revaccinate your pet after he or she receives the new chip, which may add at least a few weeks to your discharge time. Check the latest EU regulations regarding microchipping before purchasing your ticket, and consider consulting a USDA-certified veterinarian early in the process to get good guidance on how to prepare all of your pet’s paperwork.
If you are moving to the EU, you will need to register your pet’s new microchip with a European registry. Your new vet will note your cat’s microchip number during your first visit. You will need an EU pet passport to travel within the EU with your cat.
6. Other safety precautions
Microchips are not enough to keep your pet safe. RFD scanners can malfunction when reading the chip, and it’s always a good idea to have a backup plan for your pet’s safety. It is considered Purchase an inexpensive ID card You can hang it on your friend’s collar. If your cat hates dangling items, look for an option where you can engrave or embroider your contact information directly onto the collar.
There’s no need to spend time searching for an emergency scanner, as your contact information will be clear and easy to find. If your cat wanders off, a detailing collar may prevent a painful shelter trip.
Microchipping your cat increases the odds that your pet will be returned safely if They run away and get lost. If you register with an online registry, any vet or shelter with a microchip reader will be able to contact you. However, unregistered microchips won’t do any good when reuniting you and your friend, and if you’re planning to travel internationally, microchips are often an absolute requirement. To boost your pet’s chances of being recovered if it wanders off, don’t rely solely on the microchip. You can attach an ID card with your contact information to your pet’s collar.
Featured image credit: Yvonne Werink, Shutterstock