The Cat Question: To Microchip Or Not To Microchip?

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Microchipping is quite popular as a means of reuniting lost pets with their owners. But there’s also a bit of controversy surrounding microchips and their safety. Continue reading to get more information on this important topic and make sure you really do your research and think about the pros and cons before coming to a final decision.

Related: How Does a Dog Microchip Protect Your Pooch?

What is a Microchip for Your Pet?

Microchips are also known as pet ID chips. They’re only about the size of a single grain of rice and they use radio frequency waves that contain information about your cat. A veterinarian implants the microchip using a syringe and places it between the shoulder blades, right beneath the surface of the skin. The procedure is quick and feels like any other routine vaccination. Your cat’s subcutaneous tissue will bond to the chip in about a day to keep it in place, although there’s always the small chance that it may migrate a little bit before it settles in one spot.

A microchip is meant to last for about 25 years. If your cat gets lost, the animal shelter that finds your pet will simply use a handheld scanner to retrieve the chip’s information, which consists of a registration number along with the registry for the brand of microchip that’s in your pet. It will also provide the contact information for that registry. Once these workers have the phone number, they can call the registry and get your contact information so that you can get your cat back at home as soon as possible.

Related: Britain Passes New Dog Microchipping Law

The Purpose of Microchipping Pets

Many pet owners who worry about their cats getting lost someday will have their pets microchipped so that, when their animals are found, they can simply be scanned and then reunited with their family. This is certainly the case for many lost pets who have been microchipped, making it the best reason for getting the microchip implanted into your cat.

Shelters may also microchip animals that come into their care.When adopted, these pets are already set with their microchip and identification so that, if they ever get lost in the future, their owners will be able to find them right away. While some pet owners appreciate this effort, others who want more control over whether or not their cats are microchipped may be irritated by the fact that they weren’t given a choice in the matter.

The really great thing about a microchip is that it’s in your pet and will remain there no matter what. Unlike collars and tags that can get lost, these ID chips can help ensure your pet will find his way home.

The Potential Drawbacks of Having a Cat Microchipped

Despite all of the great things about microchips, there are some cons associated with this product that you should be aware of. For example, some universal scanners may not be able to read the data from your pet’s microchip, even though there have been many advancements to ensure a pet’s microchip will be scannable despite its registry and brand. Also, shelter workers may not use a scanner properly and may end up missing a microchip completely. Therefore, even if your pet has a microchip in place, it’s certainly not foolproof and other forms of identification should still be utilized.

Some studies have found that pets who have microchips are at an increased risk of cancer, particularly of aggressive tumors that grow at the site of the chip. Although some experts claim that the risks are low, many cat owners may choose to avoid getting their pets microchipped altogether. There are also cases where cats who have been microchipped have suffered from neurological damage or died as a result of an improperly implanted microchip that hit the brain stem or caused severe bleeding.

When it comes to microchipping pets, there are certainly pros and cons that need to be weighed. As your cat’s guardian, it’s up to you to decide what’s really best for your pet.