Microchipping Your Cat
Read time: 4 min
You’re a hardcore cat parent. You never compromise on any part of your cat’s health. You go all-in for what’s best for them, 24/7. So making sure they have a microchip should be no exception.
The basics: what is a microchip for cats?
A microchip is a tiny implant, roughly the size of a grain of rice, so small that your cat won’t even feel it. It works using RFID technology (Radio Frequency IDentification). The chip doesn’t have its own power source, but when a scanner sends out a radio wave, it triggers the chip to transmit its information back.
Each microchip has its own identification number. When the microchip is first inserted, this number and details about the cat and their parents are recorded on the microchip database. This database is the one that vets and welfare organisations will use to scan cats and search for a parent’s contact details.
An X-ray where the microchip is visible at the back of the neck
Why you should get your cat microchipped
Microchipping your cat is about to become law
That’s it. That’s the tweet. A new law comes into force in the UK in 2023: all cats need to be microchipped by the time they reach 20 weeks old. If your cat is found not to have a chip, you’ll have 21 days to do it, or you could face a £500 fine. Pass.
Microchipping is what’s best for your cat
Even if it wasn’t mandatory, microchipping would still be the safest thing for your cat. It protects them in case of theft, for a start. If your cat is stolen and the thieves are caught or your cat is sold to another family, the microchip can help trace your cat back to you.
Similarly, if your cat gets lost and ends up being picked up by a shelter or a veterinary practice, the microchip means they can contact you, even if it’s been a long time. In fact, one KatKin cat parent on our Facebook community was reunited with her cat after three years – all thanks to his microchip.
Finally, having a microchip means that cats without collars don’t get mistaken for strays. If you’ve got a wanderer who’s befriended the neighbours, that family might mistake your cat for a stray and take them in. But fortunately, a quick microchip scan at the vet’s will help set things right. (Oh, and if you’re wondering about whether to get your cat a collar as well, take a look at our blog on cat collars.)
Microchipping is for indoor cats too
Does your cat really need a microchip if they’re indoors? Yes. This is about planning for the worst-case scenario. If your cat ever escapes, you want to know you can find them again. Plus, indoor cats aren’t exempt from the new law either.
Your cat’s microchip protects your house
If your cat has a microchip, it means you can take advantage of things like smart cat flaps. These tech wonders work by scanning your cat’s microchip, so that only pre-approved cats can come in and out – no other neighbourhood cats, or foxes for that matter. Chips also work for smart feeders, meaning that if you’ve got more than one cat in the house, you can make sure each cat has its own bowl and one cat isn’t eating more than their share.
How to get your cat microchipped
You’re sold on getting your cat microchipped, but you’re not sure how? We’ve got you. Here are all the details you need to know:
Organise a microchip with your vet
If you haven’t had your cat microchipped yet, or you’re rehoming a cat and you’re not sure if they have one, contact your vet. They’ll be able to check if your cat already has one, and if not, they’ll do it for you.
When is the best time to get my cat microchipped?
There’s no minimum age to get your cat microchipped, and the sooner you do it, the better. Microchipping is a quick procedure, involving an injection between the shoulder blades, and there’s no need for medication or recovery time afterwards – your cat won’t even notice the chip is there.
Even better: the chances are you’ll only ever have to get your cat microchipped once. The microchip will normally last for their whole life, and it’s rare for it to move or develop a fault. Your vet will monitor this at health check-ups – one of many good reasons for regular visits.
Keeping your cat’s microchip up-to-date
It’s surprisingly common to let a chip get out of date: in a study from Battersea Dogs and Cats Home, less than a fifth of microchipped stray cats brought to the centre had accurate information on their chips.
Keeping your cat’s microchip up-to-date is just as important as having it in the first place. If the worst should happen and your cat gets lost, you don’t want a vet trying to contact you at an old phone number or an old address.
Your vet will be able to advise you on how to update your cat’s particular microchip, but most are now quick and easy to update online whenever your details change.
Want more advice?
Talk to our in-house team of cat-loving vets, nurses and customer champions. We’re here seven days a week on 020 4538 4144 and at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Don’t forget: you’ll find other hardcore cat parents just like you on our Facebook group. Whether you’re looking for advice, cat chat, or you just want a 24-hour stream of cat photos, we’re here for it on the KatKin Facebook community.