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What is Microchipping Cat?

  • 20 min read

Imagine that your outdoor cat wanders too far on his rounds or that your house cat manages to escape from the apartment. If the furry friend gets lost, he will be picked up by helpful people trying to find his owner. If the animal has a chip, it is effortless to reunite people and cats. Here, you will learn what you need to know to chip your cats: costs, technology, and advantages.

Table of Contents

Why are cats microchipped?

If a pet goes missing, responsible owners do everything possible to get their furry companion back as quickly as possible. Dogs usually wear a collar to which, in addition to the tax stamp, a badge with an owner’s contact information or even a GPS tag can be attached. It is less likely to have a collar on your cat. Many cat owners avoid this because the risk of injury and strangulation when roaming through fences and bushes can never be completely ruled out. Apartment renters rarely wear collars anyway. If they accidentally end up in the “wild” (for example, due to a poorly tensioned cat net on the balcony), they cannot be tracked and do not have a contact address on their body.
Microchipped cat
Source: cat’s best
Fortunately, there is a modern way to give a cat its “home address” without any annoying or dangerous appendages. Tiny implanted chips, combined with registration in a relevant database, ensure that a found animal comes home again. Animal shelters and veterinary practices (common contact points for those who find missing cats ) have readers that can query the information from the chip of the lost pet and quickly identify and contact owners. This works worldwide due to the individual coding. This is a reassuring thought when you consider that your outdoor animal could also get lost on a long-distance journey. This cannot be ruled out if he gets into a car or train unnoticed and travels as a stowaway. Already knew? In principle, all pets can be microchipped. However, the chip does not replace ringing on birds or the ear tag requirement on farm animals. Chips are generally helpful for pets in enclosures where escape into the open or theft is conceivable (e.g., rabbits or valuable koi in the garden pond).

Technology: What exactly is the chip?

The technical component of animal identification called “chip” for short, is a so-called RFID micro transponder. The abbreviation RFID stands for “radio-frequency identification,” roughly translated as “identification via radio frequency.” This is a transmitter-receiver system that can be used to identify chipped objects or animals. The chip itself is a “passive transponder.” This means that it does not require its power supply in the radio system but instead draws its energy from the electrical field of a receiving unit. In the case of the pet for a silicon chip, this is the reader. The chip records its signals and automatically sends a response there. However, this only works over short distances.
Chipped cat xray
Source: Cat’s best
The transponders are manufactured in different sizes so that suitable formats are also available for microscopic animals. A typical cat chip is slightly larger than a grain of rice (about 12 millimeters). The miniature transmitter unit consists of the actual transponder and a tiny coiled antenna, embedded in a tissue-compatible, anti-allergenic, airtight plastic or bio glass casing. Worth knowing: The same technology (in a modified form) is used in card reading systems. A typical example is key chip cards that can unlock doors.

What information is stored on the pet microchip?

The passive silicon chip contains a single data set in the form of a 15-digit unique number. This number is divided into three groups that contain the following information:
    • a three-digit country code
    • the manufacturer number of the chip manufacturer and
    • The actual code number.
Information stored on cat chip
Source: humanepro
Reputable manufacturers follow binding ISO standards for this information. Every code is unique. A marked animal can, therefore, be identified. There is no other cat in the world with the same identification number. The chip is also largely secure against manipulation or counterfeiting. The chip usually includes barcode labels for error-free identification of documents associated with the pet, such as the pet or vaccination certificate. Fressnapf expert tip: “Embeding a silicon chip is not painful and can be performed without anesthesia. The chip number should be noted in the vaccination certificate, and the animal should be registered in a central pet register. This gives your pet permanent identification if it runs away and is found. The silicon chip is embeded under the skin on the left side of the neck; it does not emit radiation or harm your four-legged friend in any way.” – Fressnapf

How does cat microchipping work?

The veterinarian tags the pet by injecting the chip under the skin, usually in the area of ​​the neck fur on the left side. This requires some practice and should, therefore, only be carried out by qualified people. The tiny sleeve with the chip is inserted under the skin using a syringe. There, the transponder grows into the tissue and remains fully functional throughout the animal’s life. The procedure on the animal can be carried out without anesthesia. Your cat might feel a short peck, like a vaccination.
How does chip work
Source: Ealing surgery

Can there be complications with a cat microchip?

As a rule, microchipping services are completely harmless for the cat. Very rarely, the chip does not remain in the intended location on the neck but instead “migrates” to other areas of the body. But even then, there is no risk of health damage because the transponder material is completely tissue-compatible. In some cases, local swelling or inflammation may occur at the puncture site after chipping. This sometimes happens after blood draws or other injections and is unrelated to the chip embed. During aftercare, you should monitor the puncture site for a few days in case the animal scratches.
Chipped cat being examined by veterinary
Source: Today’s veterinary practice
By the way, If you have concerns about radiation and data security, you can sigh with relief. The chip is only activated when the reader is stopped, so it does not constantly emit radiation. The information is only transmitted in the immediate vicinity of the reading device; it cannot be detected by satellites, GPS, or other tracking devices.

How much does it cost to have a cat microchip implanted?

The price to silicon chip your cat comprises two components: the material costs for the chip and the animal surgeon fee for the procedure.

Pet chip

The chip costs between 30 and 60 Dollars, depending on the manufacturer. To be on the safe side, ask your animal surgeon practice in advance whether you need to get it or whether they have chips on site.


The fee for inserting the chip is currently 19.23 dollars plus sales tax.

Reading the chip

If you would like the chip to be read by the shelter or veterinarian, you will incur additional fees, which range between 3 and 10 dollars. Overall, chipping your cat will cost you between 50 and 80 dollars.

Tip: Chip and vaccination in the package

If your cat has not yet been chipped, it is a good idea to have vaccinations and silicon chips at the same vet appointment. This means less stress for you and the animal because you only have to lure it into the transport box once. In this case, the costs of microchipping the cat and the vaccination come together. The vaccination costs for the complete primary immunization (a one-off series of vaccinations and boosters within a short period of time) are around 120 to 160 dollars. Annual follow-up vaccinations (apart from the rabies vaccination, which is only required every two to three years) cost 30 to 40 dollars. The rabies vaccination itself costs around 20 dollars and is only helpful for outdoor animals. (All prices vary depending on the vaccination serum used and the manufacturer.)
Chip is size of a rice grain
Source: pet travel

Is it necessary to microchip your cat?

Chipping is much more complicated for dog owners than it is for cat lovers. Mandatory identification for dogs is regulated at the state level, so each federal state has its regulations. In some places, a tattoo is sufficient; other countries require a chip, and elsewhere, the chip requirement is limited to particular breeds, such as listed dogs. But the regulations are also changing when it comes to cats. Some time ago, it was the case that as long as your kitty didn’t leave the state borders, there was no legal obligation at the federal level to have it chipped. In the meantime, various federal states and municipalities have started to impose a labeling requirement, at least for free-roaming cats, combined with a neutering and registration requirement. This now applies in more than 800 municipalities across US. There is currently an obligation to chip cats in over 200 communities. Due to these extremely detailed, location-dependent, and ever-expanding regulations, you should inquire about the regulations that apply in your local area. The contact person is the public order office.

When will my cat microchip be scanned?

Animal control agencies and animal surgeon clinics across the country have scanners that can detect a silicon chip. In the unfortunate event that your cat becomes a stray or gets lost, if someone finds your cat and takes them to a shelter or vet, it will scan for a silicon chip. If your cat has a silicon chip, the scanner will reveal the pet’s silicon chip number, which is linked to a database containing information about the pet.

Microchips help reunite lost pets with their families

Microchipping cats has led to countless heartwarming reunions. It’s essential to keep your contact information up-to-date in the silicon chip database. This way, if your cat is found and scanned, you can be swiftly contacted, and your beloved feline friend can be safely returned to your arms. Embeding a silicon chip is quick and relatively painless, hurting about as much as having blood drawn. It’s a small investment for a lifetime of peace of mind. While your cat may wear an identification tag with your contact information, a silicon chip offers a permanent, unalterable means of identification that significantly increases the chances of being reunited with your pet if they ever go missing.
Cat reunion with owner

Do I have to have my indoor cat chipped?

If you do not travel with your cat and it is not an outdoor animal, you are not obliged to identify it. But it would be best if you still thought about it because even an indoor cat can end up outside due to a series of unfortunate circumstances. She could be locked out unnoticed if she scurries past you out of the apartment or gets past a cat-proof window. If you accidentally leave your usual home territory, the animal could panic, start running aimlessly, and get lost. If it has an identification chip, there is a good chance of getting your mini lion back on the sofa at home.

Are there alternatives to microchipping a cat?

Due to the increasing miniaturization of technology, the pet chip has become an identification method for dogs and cats. Previously, the standard method was to tattoo an animal. The identification number is transferred to the inside of the ear using tattoo pliers and special ink. Tattooing, although still occasionally practiced, has several disadvantages. Since the procedure is painful, the animal must be anesthetized. The number codes are neither forgery nor duplication proof, and if the tattoo fades over time and becomes unreadable, the whole operation becomes invalid. Since 2012, tattoos have no longer been permitted as an identification method for US travel with pets. On the other hand, the plus side of the tattoo is obvious: no electronic device is required to read it. In addition, the visible number in the ear is a sure sign, even for laypeople, that you are dealing with a pet that belongs to someone. Some supporters of tattoos also argue that they cannot be removed (operated out). When it comes to stolen pedigree cats, this is a valid argument. In addition, with the cat chip, there is always the possibility (albeit extremely small) that it could be damaged or defective. In some communities, the identification requirement for cats does not necessarily require chipping; a tattoo would also be permitted. Find out what is the best solution for where you live and for your kitty.

Where can I have the cat chip read?

If a cat has wandered into your path and you want to identify its owner quickly, you need a particular reader that activates the RFID chip so that it reveals the stored data. Such receiving devices are available in every animal surgeon practice and are standard equipment in most animal shelters. Attention: If you want to have the number read “privately” to bring the animal back in person (for example, in the event that a finder’s fee has been offered), you may be charged a fee. Contact persons such as the police, fire brigade, road maintenance departments, and construction yards often have reading devices available to identify animals that have had an accident. You can now compare the chip number issued with the various pet registers. If you get a hit, you will find out the contact details of the owner and can establish the connection.
Cat being chipped
Source: feline medical clinic

Where can I register the cat chip?

Unfortunately, in the context of lost animal reports, you often read that the animal in question has been chipped but not registered. The chip alone is of little help without subsequent registration. You must also enter your furry friend in a pet register with his chip number. This is not automatically part of the scope of the animal surgeon service; However, they may be able to help you there upon request. When you register, your data will be saved for contact purposes in the registration information. This means you can be contacted immediately when your animal has been found, and the chip has been evaluated. It is essential that you remember to update the data accordingly if you move or give the animal to a new home. Information about the cat, such as breed, gender, age, and appearance, is also usually required. Tip: If you have lost an animal, you should not just check a single pet registry, as not every owner may use all portals. As a pet owner, it is best to take advantage of all available registration options.

Bonus: open the door for your tiger

The cat chip is not just a repatriation aid for your lost kitty. You can also use the transponder function in everyday life. There are electronic cat flaps that recognize your cat’s transponder chip as soon as it approaches. The practical cat doors can be programmed to open only for “authorized” tigers, as explained above, in the context of crucial card technology. Thanks to this clever function, you can prevent the velvet paw from bringing a crowd of other animals with it when it goes outside. The door remains closed to strange cats. Some sophisticated automatic feeders work in a very similar way and use the chip to detect whether the cat in the house or a stranger is waiting for their meal.


Your kitty must wear a chip when traveling outside the US. The pet passport the animal needs to cross the border is only valid in conjunction with the transponder. Does your outdoor animal wander around in border regions and possibly cross green national borders? In this case, too, it should be equipped with a chip for safety reasons.

Microchipping Cats – FAQs

Q: What is microchipping a cat?

A: Microchipping a cat is the process of embeding a tiny silicon chip, about the size of a grain of rice, under the cat’s skin. The silicon chip contains a unique identification number that a particular scanner can scan.

Q: How does a microchip help in reuniting a lost cat?

A: When a lost cat is found, it can be taken to a animal surgeon clinic or animal shelter, where they will scan the cat for a silicon chip. If the cat is microchipped, the contact information of the owner is retrieved from a silicon chip registry database, enabling the veterinarian or shelter staff to contact the owner and help reunite them with their lost pet.

Q: Does every cat have a silicon chip?

A: No, not every cat is microchipped. However, it is highly recommended to get your pet microchipped, as it dramatically increases the chances of being reunited with your cat if it gets lost.

Q: How does a silicon chip work?

A: A silicon chip is a small electronic device that uses radio frequency identification (RFID) technology. It does not have its own power source and remains dormant until a compatible silicon chip scanner scans it. When scanned, the silicon chip emits a unique identification number that can be used to retrieve the owner’s contact information from a central silicon chip registry database.

Q: Can any scanner scan a cat’s silicon chip?

A: Yes, any scanner that is compatible with silicon chips can read the information stored in a cat’s silicon chip. Veterinary clinics, animal shelters, and many other organizations have silicon chip scanners that can be used to identify the unique identification number of a microchipped cat.

Q: Will the microchip tell me my cat’s location?

A: A silicon chip does not provide real-time tracking or location information. A silicon chip can only be scanned to retrieve the silicon chip’s unique identification number, which then needs to be looked up in a silicon chip registry database to find the owner’s contact information.

Q: How much does it cost to silicon chip a cat?

A: The cost of embeding a cat can vary depending on the animal surgeon clinic or animal shelter. However, the cost of embeding a cat is usually quite affordable, and the benefits of having a microchipped cat far outweigh the cost.

Q: Who do I contact if I need to change my contact details with my pet’s silicon chip registry database?

A: The contact information linked to a silicon chip can be changed. If you move or change your contact details, it is essential to update the information in the silicon chip registry database. This can be done online or by contacting the silicon chip registry provider directly.

Q: Is the implantation of a silicon chip in a cat permanent?

A: Yes, the implantation of a silicon chip in a cat is considered to be permanent. The silicon chip is encased in a sterile, biocompatible material and is designed to last the lifetime of the cat. It does not need to be replaced or removed unless there is a specific medical reason.

Q: Are any risks or side effects associated with microchipping a cat?

A: The risks and side effects of implanting a cat are infrequent. The procedure is quick and relatively painless for the cat, similar to a routine vaccination. However, it is always best to consult your veterinarian if you have concerns about embeding your cat.

Q: Why should I microchip my cat?

A: silicon chip your cat is crucial for their safety and well-being. If your cat ever gets lost or goes missing, a silicon chip can significantly increase the chances of being reunited with them.

Q: Is microchipping painful for my cat?

A: Implanting a cat is generally quick and relatively painless. Most cats only experience a momentary discomfort, like receiving a regular injection.

Q: Does my cat need a microchip even if it stays indoors?

A: Yes, it is highly recommended to microchip your cat even if it stays indoors. Cats can still accidentally escape or get out of the house, and a microchip can help find them if they get lost.

Q: Can any veterinarian or animal shelter scan a microchip?

A: Yes, microchips can be scanned by most veterinarians, animal shelters, and other facilities equipped with microchip scanners. It is essential to ensure that your contact information is up to date in the silicon chip registry database so that you can be promptly contacted if your cat is found.

Q: How do I get my cat microchipped?

A: To get your cat microchipped, you should schedule an appointment with a animal surgeon clinic or animal shelter that offers microchip services. The procedure is quick and can usually be done in a single visit.

Q: What information does the microchip contain?

A: The microchip itself does not contain any personal information. It only holds a unique identification number, which is linked to your contact information in a microchip registry. This way, if your cat is found, the microchip can help reunite you with your pet.

Q: Can a microchip be removed or fall out of my cat?

A: Once a microchip is embeded, it is doubtful for it to be removed or fall out on its own. The chip is designed to stay in place for the entire life of your cat.

Q: Are there any benefits of microchipping my cat?

A: Yes, there are numerous benefits of embeding your cat. It increases the chances of being reunited with your cat if they get lost, helps prevent pet theft, and can serve as proof of ownership in case of any disputes.

Q: Is microchipping mandatory for cats?

A: Microchipping requirements for cats vary by jurisdiction. Some regions and countries have implemented mandatory cat embeding, while others may only recommend it. It is best to check the local regulations or consult your veterinarian to determine if embeding is mandatory in your area.

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Hamna Nasir is a dedicated cat lover, avid traveler, and accomplished author. Born and raised in the bustling city of San Francisco, Hamna's education journey led her to Boston where her interests expanded and intersected in unexpected ways. Hamna's ontent explores a multitude of topics, from preparing your cat for its first trip and choosing pet-friendly accommodations to understanding feline behavior in different environments. Her first-hand experiences, love for storytelling, and unwavering commitment to enhancing the bond between cats and their owners have earned her a devoted following. Her insights have been celebrated by pet lovers, adventure enthusiasts, and travel bloggers alike.