Cat microchipping is essential to your cat’s safety, allowing for their safe return if your outdoor cat gets lost or your indoor cat escapes into unfamiliar surroundings. This simple procedure of inserting a microchip between their shoulder blades permanently connects them to you, reuniting you once they are found and brought to a local veterinarian or shelter.

At Animal Farm Pet Hospital , we work extremely hard to bring you the accurate information you need. We’ve taken the most frequently asked questions about cat microchipping and answered them as thoroughly and accurately as possible, so you have trusted information to make an informed decision. If you’re looking for a highly trained veterinarian in San Francisco, CA, we’d love to see your cat for microchipping, so please call us at (415) 333-0813. 

What does it mean to microchip your cat?

Microchipping your cat means that we will plant a very small chip — roughly the size of a grain of rice — between your cat’s shoulder blades at the back of their neck. It gives them a permanent identification number, much like a human’s social security number, that is unique to your cat. If your cat becomes lost, a microchip can help you reunite once they’ve been found and brought to a local veterinarian or shelter.

Why do veterinarians recommend cat microchipping?

Veterinarians recommend microchipping because cats are very independent pets. Sometimes their curious nature about the outside world leads to them bolting out the door when given the opportunity. A microchip allows for the identification of your cat when someone locates them after they’ve made their great escape. A lost cat is a stressful scenario that can be avoided by having them microchipped.

Is microchipping dangerous or painful for my cat?

Most cats and dogs have microchips implanted without any reaction at all. It comes in a syringe with the microchip already inside. Your veterinarian simply takes it out of the package, picks up the skin at the back of the neck, and inserts it right under the skin. It feels the same for them as a standard vaccination or shot.

How is the cat microchip used to identify my cat?

Every microchip has a unique number that helps identify a microchipped cat registered to a company with all your contact information. You must keep the company informed of any changes to your contact information, including new phone numbers or addresses. 

The following is the process for identifying a microchipped cat:

  1. Your cat becomes lost, and an individual locates them
  2. That good citizen takes the cat to a local veterinarian, animal shelter, or rescue
  3. The veterinarian, animal shelter, or rescue uses a specific scanner to detect and read the microchip under their skin
  4. The microchip number scanned connects to a database that identifies the owner
  5. The owner is contacted to retrieve their lost cat

Why does my cat need a microchip if they already have a collar with pet ID tags?

Sometimes when cats get lost, they hide in bushes, and their collar can get snagged on leaves or branches. If their collar comes off, there is no way to identify them. In other instances, their tags get pulled off or scratched to the point of being illegible. In addition, many indoor cats don’t even wear collars, and they escape their home without any physical identification at all. In other instances, a person who finds the cat might remove the collar and tags and claim the cat as their own. These are all excellent reasons to microchip your cat to ensure they make it home to you.

Will my cat's microchip be able to tell my cat's location?

A microchip is not a GPS tracker, so, unfortunately, it won’t help to locate your cat. When someone finds your cat, they will bring them to a local veterinarian, humane society, or shelter to check for a microchip, and that’s how they will ultimately be returned to you. 

Who can scan my cat's microchip information?

Almost all veterinary offices, shelters, animal welfare, humane societies, and rescues have a scanner to check for microchips in cats and dogs. They want to return pets to their rightful owners, so they are equipped to help when a lost cat or dog is brought to them. At Animal Farm Pet Hospital , we scan the microchip at every wellness visit and can do it any time someone asks us to. 

What if I forget or lose my cat's microchip information?

Each microchip is registered to a specific company, so you can contact the company it’s registered through even if you lose the information. They’ll be able to provide you with the information you need. Your veterinarian also has the information available in your cat’s record. You should have your veterinarian check for the microchip once a year to ensure it’s working correctly.

What is the difference between a GPS and an ID microchip device?

GPS and microchips serve two very different functions. A GPS is a battery-operated technology that detects where something is located in real-time, such as your lost smartwatch or phone. A microchip doesn't have a battery and is a tiny chip with a unique number for identification from a database. A microchip is best compared to a human’s social security number or a motor vehicle’s license plate number, both of which are exclusively for identification purposes. 

The AVMA has also detailed the most common microchipping FAQs to help pet owners better understand the process and benefits. If you have further questions about cat microchipping, reach out to your veterinarian. If you live in or near San Francisco, CA, we’d love to see your cat for all their wellness and safety needs, so please don’t hesitate to call us at (415) 333-0813.