What Is A Pet Microchip
Today, microchip technology is found everywhere, from computers and cell phones, to implants in wild animals for tracking of their movements, to pet microchips that provide identification information. Different types of microchips work in different ways, depending on their purpose.
The purpose of microchips used for pets is to provide a form of permanent identification. These microchip implants are called radio frequency identification tags. They are tiny, about the size of a grain of rice, and are passive. This means that they passively store a unique identification number and do not actively transmit any information. The microchip implanted in your cat has no battery and no internal power source, so it sits inertly in the cat until it is read by a special microchip scanner.
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Are microchips dangerous? Do they cause cancer in dogs and cats? As the irreverent veterinarian, Ill work to give you information and alternative opinions about controversial topics. Here is information about the controversy surrounding dog and cat microchips.
Microchips are FDA approved devices used for permanent identification of pets. The chip is small, compact and easily inserted under the skin. Lost pets are scanned and the chip identifies a number that can be subsequently traced back to the owner. Millions of pets have been microchipped and approximately 2,000 devices have been implanted in humans worldwide without significant problems being reported.
The question is
Where Do I Go To Get My Pet Microchipped
A microchip can be implanted at most primary veterinary offices and animal shelters. Most pet rescue shelters microchip their cats and dogs before they are placed for adoption. If you are unsure whether your pet already has a microchip, bring your pet to a veterinarian or animal shelter to be scanned.
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Chip Malfunction Means Chip Failure
A microchip is an RFID device. When an RFID scanner is on, it emits energy when it passes over the chip, the chip absorbs the energy and uses it to send its frequency signal back to the reader. Different scanners read different frequencies.
As with any technology, microchips arent foolproof. The US doesnt require that all microchips use the same frequency.
Not all vets and shelters are able to read every microchip frequency, as RFID scanners are expensive.
The AVMA explains that in the past, shelters have unknowingly euthanized microchipped pets because they werent able to read the chip.
This can happen for three different reasons: one, the microchip itself was broken or malfunctioning two, the shelter didnt have the right scanner for the particular chip or three, the chip couldnt be located or read.
An active, functioning chip can still be missed by the correct scanner. Long or matted hair above the chip, too much fat around the chip, a metal collar , and even a squirming cat can prevent a clear scan.
How Is A Cat Microchip Used To Identify My Cat
Once the microchip is inside the cat, we have microchip scanners. We push the button, and it’ll say, “Searching,” and then we put it over top of the cat in the area. We know that everyone microchips their cats in the same area. The number, a unique number, comes up that would only be for, in this case, Willis. Then, we can call a company, tell them that number, and be able to find out who this cat is and then who they belong to.
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When Is My Kitten Old Enough For A Microchip
KIttens may be equipped with a microchip as young as five weeks old, though the size and age of the animal being microchipped is not what determines the appropriate time to insert the microchip. Rather, it is the health and stability of your kitten. Although the insertion of the microchip is noninvasive and does not require anesthesia, kittens younger than five weeks old are still very fragile and most likely still nursing. In most shelters it’s standard practice to wait until the kitten is eight weeks old to insert the microchip.
Why Does My Cat Need A Microchip When He Already Wears A Collar With Tags
It is a great idea to invest in a collar ID tag for your cat. Collar ID tags are the first line of defense in locating and identifying a lost animal. For example, if a neighbor finds you lost cat, they will not likely have a microchip scanner and will simply rely on the collar ID tag. However, microchipping cats is the second and in some ways most important line of defense for your cat. This is because microchipping cats ensures that your pet’s identification is never lost, stolen, removed or compromised.
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Can Anyone With A Scanner Access My Contact Information From The Chip
Microchips carry only a unique identification number. If your pet gets lost and is taken to a vet clinic or animal shelter, your pet will be scanned for a microchip to reveal his unique ID number. That number will be called into the pet recovery service, and you will be contacted using the contact information on file with your pets microchip. **It is vital to keep your contact information up to date so that you can be reached.
Remember To Register Your Microchip
This side effect comes from human error. Just implanting the chip doesnt complete the process. When a chip is scanned, the reader produces a number.
In order for a chips number to lead its owner, it needs to be registered with its manufacturer.
Once a chip is registered, the manufacturer keeps your information connected to your number in their database.
Ingrid King, of The Conscious Cat, reports that companies charge a fee for this some charge for updating your address or phone number.
Ramona Marek, a vet at Tufts University, tells us that an astounding 6 out of 10 implanted microchips are never registered.
These can have a random code or a 900-number, which are not assigned to manufacturers.
These numbers can be nearly impossible to trace. Before microchipping your pet, ask your vet what number is assigned to the chip.
If it is a 900-number, you need to register it with several of the most well-known chip companies.
This way, if your cat is lost and found, there is a higher chance that a vet or shelter will be able to find your information.
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Why Microchip A Dog Or Cat
You might be thinking, My pet wears a collar with an ID tag, so she doesnt need a microchip He never runs off and he always comes when called or, That sounds so painful and cruel! Well, lets break those down a bit.
First of all, securing an ID tag on your pets collar is always a good idea. Its a quick and easy way for someone to find your contact information and get a hold of you in case your dog or cat escapes your watchful eye. However, what if your dogs ID tag falls off of the collar or becomes worn or illegible? What if your cats collar gets caught on a branch and breaks away, leaving her collarless and ID-less? Wouldnt it be nice to have a more permanent backup planlike a pet microchip?
Likewise, teaching your dog or cat to come when called is always a good idea, too. If your dog runs into traffic or toward another danger, a come command could prevent her from getting injured or worse! But what if your pal catches a delicious scent and takes off sniffing? What if your dog escapes the unescapable backyard fence, or your cat dashes out the front door and flat refuses to come when called? Again, in cases like these, having a backup plan is a good idea.
Is Microchipping Painful For Cats
Its not painful, no. My cats didnt even flinch when they were given their chips, but it does involve a needle so its fair to say its as painful as any type of injection.
If the pain or discomfort for your cat is something holding you back, put this to one side. Its way more important that your cat is microchipped than you stress over them having a needle quickly poked into them.
Theres no anesthesia or pain meds or anything like that even needed. Its not a surgical procedure, its really just a routine procedure that takes a minute or so. I couldnt see any evidence or feel where the needle when in after my cats had theirs. In all honesty, due to being wary about being in a vets office I dont think they even noticed.
The purpose of this article was to answer, can you feel a microchip in a cat? As well as convince you to get your cat microchipped if you havent already.
Its estimated that around 15% of cats go missing at some point in their lives. Thats a huge number. There are a few things you can do to make sure your cat is safer than the average cat, but you can never assume it wont happen.
If your cat does go missing, I dont need to tell you its going to be an incredibly stressful and time-consuming time trying to find them. Something as simple as a microchip will make it so much more likely, quicker, and easier for a shelter or vets office to reunite you with them.
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What Are The Limitations Of The Microchip Cat Id
While its definitely sensible to microchip your cat, this is only minimally helpful. It is very useful to help locate the cats owner if someone finds the animal, but a microchip wont help to locate the lost cat in the first place.
Microchips for cats have the following limitations:
Now that you are more familiar with the topic of microchips for cats, you might ask yourself what other tracking options for your feline are available. The good news is:
ð¾ For real-time tracking of your cat for peace of mind, you can use a GPS cat tracker.
GPS trackers for cats are explained in more detail in the next section below.
What Is A Microchip For Cats
Letâs start with the basics. A microchip is a tiny radio frequency identification chip that gets implanted under your petâs skin to serve as a permanent ID tag.
RFID chips donât require power, and donât emit any kind of signal. How they work is that when a microchip scanner passes over one, it gives the chip just enough power to transmit the information it contains â usually an ID number and the name or phone number of a registry. Itâs the same technology thatâs in your credit or debit card.
A petâs owner can use the microchip ID number to attach their contact information to the chip, via its registry. This doesnât mean the ownerâs contact information is actually on the chip â whoever scans it would have to contact the registry and give them the ID number to retrieve any contact information thatâs associated with it.
A microchip is considered to be one of the best ways to increase the odds of being reunited with your pet if they ever get lost. According to one study, having a microchip greatly increased the odds of a lost cat being returned to its owner â less than 2 percent of cats without microchips were returned, while 38 percent of microchipped cats were returned home after getting lost.
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When Will A Cat Microchip Be Scanned
It should be done upon taking an animal in to see a vet. So, as a veterinarian, if a client comes in with a cat and says, “Oh look, I just found this cat, he’s new, but he’s so sweet. I think we’re going to keep him.” Okay, that’s great. The cat might be a stray, but they should be scanned right then. And that’s what we try to do here. So anytime somebody comes in with a new pet, I try to just make it a habit to just scan them. Not that I don’t trust people, but I just want to know if it’s theirs or not, or maybe this was a cat that belonged to somebody else. Also, if your cat gets displaced and is picked up by animal control, then one of the first things they’re going to do when they get back to the shelter is scan for a chip. And if the cat is chipped and it has your information associated with it, you should have your cat back pretty quickly.
Weighing The Risks And Benefits
Each year, pets all over the world are microchipped, and with owners becoming more educated about this option, the numbers continue to grow. Unfortunately, questions still come up about whether microchips can potentially cause cancer. We will discuss what a microchip is, what the studies show, if microchipping your pet is a safe method of identification, and whether the benefits outweigh the risks.
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How Is A Cat Microchip Implanted
A cat microchip is implanted through a syringe that injects it underneath the skin. Although there is no universally agreed upon location, a cat microchip is usually implanted between the shoulder blades. At approximately 12mm long, it is about the same size as a grain of rice. Implanting a cat microchip only takes a few seconds, and it is meant to last for the entirety of your cat’s lifetime.
How Do Dog Microchips Work
Each microchip contains a registration number and the phone number of the registry for the particular brand of chip.
A handheld scanner reads the radio frequency of the chip and displays this information.
An animal shelter or vet clinic that finds your pet can contact the registry to get your name and phone number.
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Is Microchipping Painful For My Cat
Certainly doesn’t seem to be. I’ve microchipped hundreds and hundreds and hundreds of cats, and it’s a syringe with a needle on it. We just place it right under the skin. We barely hear a peep out of them, and they’re all done. We just put the hair back. It doesn’t bleed. The microchip doesn’t migrate, and it’s done in no time flat.
Why Should Your Cat Have A Microchip
Every pet should wear a collar with tags that have your contact information, but a microchip provides an additional form of ID that cant ever be lost or removed.
Microchips provide an extra level of protection in case your pet loses their collar and tags, Kimberley Alboum, shelter outreach and policy engagement director for the Humane Society of the United States, says. Providing your pets with both tags and a microchip can increase the chances of a reunion if your pet gets lost.
If your cat ever goes missing, youll have the peace of mind their microchip connects them back to you. According to the microchip specialists at HomeAgain, less than 2 percent of cats without microchips returned home. However, if a cat is microchipped, the return-to-owner rate is 20 times higher than if the cat was not microchipped.
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Where Are Microchips Placed In Cats
Microchips are typically inserted just beneath the skin on the back of the neck between the shoulder blades for both cats and dogs.
The thin layers of tissue under the skin hold the chip in place. In some instances, it will move, however. This makes finding it hard by just feeling around. A vet will not struggle to locate it as they use a scanner.
Can A Cats Microchip Fall Out
If you cant feel or find the microchip on your cat, you might worry that its fallen out. While its possible, this typically only happens at the time of implanting the chip.
In some cases, the needle that houses the microchip wont fully penetrate the skin and the microchip can slip out or never fully make it through the skin. Thats why its typically best practice for veterinary staff to not only rub their hand over the implementation site but also scan the area with a microchip scanner to make sure the chip didnt slip out without them noticing.
So if your cat has had a confirmed microchip for a few years its pretty unlikely that its fallen out.
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High Tech: Identifying Lost Pets With Microchips
Despite your best efforts, accidents can happen. Someone leaves a door ajar, an intrepid pooch digs under a fence, and your best intentions go awry: Your pet escapes and gets lost. If they’re wearing a collar and identification tag, chances are good that youll get them back.
But what if the collar comes off?
To protect their pets, many owners turn to technology, in the form of identification microchips implanted in their pets. Microchips are tiny transponders, about the size of a grain of rice, that can be implanted in your pet’s skin by many veterinarians and animal shelters some shelters implant one in all pets they place.
Microchips are a good back-up option for pet identification, but should never be the main one. Reading a microchip takes a special scanner, one that an animal control officer or shelter will have, but your neighbor down the street will not. And if Fido wanders off, it’s likely to be a private citizen who encounters them first. That’s why, in the event of accidental separation, identification tags are your pet’s first ticket home.
That said, microchips provide an extra level of protection in case your pet loses their collar and tags. Providing your pets with both tags and a microchip can help ensure a happy reunion if the unthinkable happens.