We are often asked whether it is a good idea to have your furry feline friend microchipped or not. The first thing to say is that cats, unlike dogs, are not currently required to be microchipped by law (although it was recently announced by the government that it will become compulsory under new animal welfare plans to microchip your cat before it reaches 20 weeks of age). That said, we still think that, for your furry friend's own safety (and your peace of mind), you should get them microchipped and ensure that they have a collar and ID tag. This post takes you through how to get your furry friend microchipped and the benefits of doing so.
What is a microchip?
As the name suggests, a microchip is a very small electronic device (often described as being around the size of a grain of rice) that can be used to identify your furry friend.
How do I microchip my cat?
A microchip can be inserted by your vet, your local authority and in some cases by your local animal welfare organisation. The microchip itself is inserted by a painless injection under the skin in between your furry friend's shoulder blades. This will feel no different to any other injection that your cat may have as part of his or her usual health regime.
How does a microchip work?
Whilst you can't see the microchip once it has been inserted, the details contained on the microchip (a unique code) can be read by using a microchip reader or scanner. You can register your cat's unique microchip number with your local vet and on online databases.
Why should I get my cat microchipped?
By registering your microchip number along with your address and contact details with your local vet and on a microchip database, you can be sure that if your furry friend ever goes missing and is handed in at a vet, local authority or animal charity they will be able to scan your cat's microchip, find out your contact details and get in touch with you. This will give you the best possible chance of being reunited with your furry friend as quickly as possible.
It is also worth noting that if you plan to travel or move abroad your cat will require a microchip and it should meet ISO standards. When we moved back to the UK from Mauritius with Noggins and Binkles, they both required a microchip. They had been microchipped previously, but if they hadn't been at the time of their vaccinations that were required to travel from Mauritius, they would have needed to be microchipped on the same day. This is because their microchip number was on their vaccination card and paperwork and allows the authorities at the point of entry to check that it is the same cat who has had the required vaccinations. If you are planning on travelling with your cat you should always consult your vet in good time to ensure you have met all the requirements for the country you are travelling to. You can read more about travelling with pets and Noggins and Binkles journey to the UK in this post.
How much does it cost to get my cat microchipped?
The cost of getting your furry friend microchipped varies but typically ranges between £15 and £30. Often when you adopt a kitten or cat, the cost of their microchip will be included in the adoption fee. You should also consider the ongoing costs of including the details of your cat's microchip on a microchip database. Different databases charge in different ways. These range from a higher one off upfront fee (this might be around £20) which then allows unlimited address and contact details changes to a lower one off upfront fee but charges for each address and contact details update that you make. We think that these costs are more than worth it if your furry friend goes missing.
Should my cat still wear a collar and ID tag if he or she is microchipped?
Whilst a microchip is an effective way of identifying your furry friend, it is not always the case that the person who finds your cat will have a microchip reader or have time to take your cat to your local vet or animal welfare organisation. As a result, we think that it is a good idea for all cats to wear a well fitted breakaway safety cat collar and cat ID tag with your name, address and telephone number on it as well as their microchip. Cats that are not wearing collars are often mistaken for strays; we think it is more likely that someone will try to find you if your cat looks lost if your cat is wearing a collar. This means that it will be easier for you to be reunited with your furry friend if he or she has a personalised name tag.
You can read more about what details to put on a cat ID tag in this post and how to ensure that your safety breakaway cat collar fits perfectly in this post.
Our luxury brass polished cat name tag with personalised engraving (also available in polished stainless steel).