What Is A Pet Microchip, And How Do They Work?

A pet microchip can be lifesaving for your cat - if your cat is lost and is brought to an animal shelter or local vet's office, the microchip can be scanned and you will get a call letting you know your pet is safe and can be picked up.

A pet microchip can be lifesaving for your cat - if your cat is lost and is brought to an animal shelter or local vet's office, the microchip can be scanned and you will get a call letting you know your pet is safe and can be picked up.

Many animal shelters are now microchipping pets before they are adopted to new families.

A pet microchip is a very small device (about the size of a grain of rice) that is implanted between the shoulder blades of your pet. In cats it will be implanted into their "scruff" area.

They are covered in non-toxic glass and have no battery. They contain a number unique to your pet and are read by a hand held scanner. The vet passes the scanner over the area and the number is quickly read.

Implanting a chip is a quick in-office procedure. The microchips usually come preloaded into a larger needle that is inserted into the area and after a quick motion they are done!

Your vet may ask you to bring your cat back for a re-check, to make sure the chip has not moved or migrated under the skin. They will scan the area and check the chip is still in place and working.

Some myths (and the truth) about pet microchipping:

Myth: Implanting it will hurt my pet.
Truth: The vet will use a larger needle to implant the microchip, but they will be putting it into an area of your cat that is fatty skin - the "scruff". The scruff area is how mother cats move their babies around - it is loose skin and has less sensation. Your cat may feel a bit of a sting, but probably not much more than their vaccinations.

Myth: My personal information will be on the chip.
Truth: The chip simply contains a number that will show up on the scanner. The vet or shelter will give the number to the company that provides the chips, and either they will give your phone number to the vet/shelter, or a representative from the microchip company will call you. Your personal information is not available from just scanning your pet.

Myth: It is too expensive.
Truth: Prices do vary from place to place, but the average is under $100. The chip is in place for the life of your pet. Costs to get your pet back from a shelter can run much higher than $100, plus you have the ability to have the shelter contact your and let you know your cat is safe.
Also, some pet insurance companies and cities that require cat licences offer a discount if your pet is microchipped.

Remember, though, the chip is only effective if it is kept up to date - If your contact information changes, make sure you update your provider!

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