This Saturday, August 15 is National Check the Chip Day. It’s a reminder to all of us that getting your cat microchipped isn’t the only step in the process in giving her a much higher chance of getting home. Cats have a 20 times higher chance of being returned to their owners after entering an animal shelter if they are microchipped.
Just having a microchip isn’t enough. You have to be that the chip is readable and that your information is up to date. That’s what Check the Chip today is to remind you about.
If your cat isn’t already microchipped, getting her chipped is a simple procedure that can be done at your veterinarian’s office. Reduced-cost and sometimes even free microchips are available at events in your community. Microchips are implanted under the skin with a large-gauge needle, like getting a vaccination.
Get Registered and Keep Contact Information Current
Make sure your chip is registered, and keep it up to date if your contact information changes. New phone number? New address? Don’t just change the information with your friends. Update it with the microchip registration for your cat, too.
This is important because one of the leading causes of microchipped pets not being able to get home is not being able to find the current contact information for the pet’s home. If you get a microchip implanted in your kitty and then move across the country, your old vet who implanted it may lose touch with you. If your microchip isn’t registered, the last person the microchip company knew had the chip was your old vet. Keep your contact information up to date with the chip registry to be found when your pet needs you most.
Check the Chip
Check the chip! Microchips are implanted between the shoulder blades. When Ashton was a bony, little kitten, you could feel the chip, about the size of a big grain of rice, if you scritched her shoulders just right, just past the end of her neck at her shoulders.
In rare cases, a microchip can migrate. Pierre’s chip has migrated about two inches so it’s over his shoulder blade instead of between his shoulders. This is unusual enough that when our vet felt it, he let some of his vet techs feel it so that they would recognize a migrated chip if they felt one.
Chip migration doesn’t hurt your cat, but it does mean that if someone passes a microchip scanner over your pet’s shoulders, it might not be energized by the electromagnetic field produced by the scanner. This can lead to the microchip not being detected. To be sure this hasn’t happened, ask your veterinarian to scan for your cat’s chip as a part of their routine veterinary exam.
References and Further Reading
Ohio State University Research News, Microchips Result in High Rate of Return of Shelter Animals to Owners
Light Warrior, Wikimedia Commons
Joel Mills, Wikimedia Commons
Oscar111, Wikimedia Commons