Despite our best efforts, and while we might think that cats will always find their way home, it is not uncommon for our feline friends to get lost or even stolen. Should this happen, a microchip gives them the best chance of being identified and returned to you.
What is a microchip?
Microchips are Radio Frequency Identification Devices (RFID) that are approximately the size of a grain of rice. They are inserted under the skin between the shoulder blades using a sterile needle applicator by a veterinarian or a suitably trained person. A microchip is detected by a RFID scanner and it will activate an identification number which is then used for animal identification and ownership details.
Why should I get my cat microchipped?
From 2024, it will become a mandatory requirement for cats to be microchipped by the time they are 20 weeks old but getting your cat microchipped can also provide peace of mind especially as identification tags, while useful, can easily be lost or replaced.
Getting your cat microchipped can provide peace of mind especially as identification tags, while useful, can easily be lost or replaced. As cats are keen wanderers, their inquisitive nature is often the reason why so many end up lost or separated from their owners.
Making sure your cat is microchipped can help increase the chances of a reunion if they do struggle to find their way home.
Pet theft is also a problem and having a microchipped cat can make it difficult for would-be thieves as you can report your cat as missing, so that if anyone tries to re-register the chip number, you will be notified by the microchip company.
When should I get my cat microchipped?
Does my indoor cat need to be microchipped?
Michaela, one of the expert vets at Joii Pet Care says that “it is just as important to microchip indoor cats as it is outdoor ones. Cats are naturally very curious animals and for many reasons an indoor cat can escape no matter how safe you think you are being. An indoor cat will be less familiar with the great outdoors and much more likely to get lost and frightened.”
What happens when I get my cat microchipped?
The process involves inserting a chip under the skin between their shoulder blades. The procedure is done using a syringe and is quick and painless just as if they were having an injection.
Your cat won’t be able to feel the microchip once inserted and only needs to be done once as it’s designed to last your pet’s lifetime.
Our Joii Vet Expert says:
“Placement of a microchip is a simple procedure, and it is generally no more painful than a routine vaccination. Although the needle can look alarming it very rarely causes a pain reaction in animals and the materials used do not cause tissue reaction.”
How much does it cost to get my cat microchipped?
The cost to microchip a cat can vary depending on where you live, but you can expect to pay anywhere between £20 and £30. This can be done by any qualified implanter.
Is my cat already microchipped?
If you’re unsure whether your cat is already microchipped, they can be scanned by a vet, rescue centre or organisation which is likely to encounter stray animals. This will be done with a hand-held scanner and if it detects a microchip, the scanner will display its unique number.
Once you have their unique microchip number, you can use a chip checker online to find out who they're registered with so that you can check or update your details. If your pet's microchip number doesn't bring up a database, you might have registered with a database that's not DEFRA compliant.
A list of government approved databases:
- Animal Microchips
- Animal Tracker
- MicroChip Central
- My Animal Trace
- National Veterinary Data Service
- Pet Chip Register
- Pet Database – FREE TO USE
- Pet Identity UK
- UK PETtrac MicroChip Database
- We Trace Pets
Are there any ongoing costs associated with microchipping?
If you need to amend the details on your cat’s microchip, there may be an admin fee payable to the database you have chosen to register with. This may be a one-off payment that will cover you for any future updates or changes or an amount payable each time you need to update.
It’s important to make sure the details are kept up to date as having the right information is key in enabling you to be contacted quickly if your cat was to stray or be lost.
Good to know: Petdatabase.com offers a free Defra-compliant pet microchip database and lost pet service.
Things to remember once your cat has been microchipped:
- Always remember to keep the ownership details up to date so that you can be contacted should your pet be found
- Although rare, occasionally chips can stop working or can migrate from their usual position between the shoulder blades. Therefore, it is important to have them scanned and checked at least once a year during any routine health checks. This is not always done by every vet as a matter of routine but you can request it at your appointment
- Microchips can have other benefits. They can be used to activate things like cat flaps and feeders which may have some health benefits
- Microchips are not GPS tracking devices so you cannot locate an animal’s whereabouts in real-time.
Animal Friends and your cat's microchip
As one of the leading pet insurance providers in the UK, we are committed to ensuring our customers have the support and information they need to be responsible pet owners, and can continue to ensure their pets remain safe, healthy and protected. If your cat is microchipped, you can add their microchip details onto your policy so that you will have them to hand if you ever need them.