Having dogs microchipped is now a legal requirement in the UK, but it’s still just recommended for cats and other animals. The procedure is quick and easy and we think it can have a big positive impact on your cat’s lifestyle and security. Why should only dogs benefit?
Identity microchips for pets hold a unique coded identification number. They’re very small – generally about the same size as a grain of rice – and are injected just under the skin between the shoulder blades. You can have your cat microchipped at any time. The needle is slightly bigger than the one we use for normal injections, but it’s still relatively pain-free and is over in a second. If you would like your cat chipped and they have another procedure coming up such as neutering or a dental, then we will happily microchip them whilst they are asleep if you prefer.
Our top three reasons for microchipping your cat are:
It really helps lost cats get home
Thousands of cats are taken into shelters each year, and many of them because they’ve wandered too far and got lost. Around 74% of these cats get back home if they’re microchipped compared to a tiny 13 % of non-chipped cats. It’s really sad that 87% of lost un-chipped cats never get scratched in their favourite place, see the people they love, or sleep on their favourite bed again.
You might not imagine your cat disappearing, but they are naturally active, curious and sensitive animals. There might be changes in the house like visitors who they feel have invaded their territory with unusual smells and noises. New babies or even new cats, loud fireworks, building work or parties can upset them in their own territory, which can extend far from their home and can cause a lot of distress leading to them trying to get away.
They might investigate sheds, garages or even cars with open doors and end up shut in. If people find cats, they will often take them to a vet or call the council in an attempt to help, but without a chip, it’s often hard to reunite them with their owners.
Indoor cats are also likely to get in trouble if they never explore the environment around them and become familiar with it, and we often hear of indoor cats making a dash through a window or door even if they’ve never shown any interest before.
It’s the most secure form of identification
Collars and tags often fall off and are also potentially dangerous if they get caught on a branch as your cat jumps. Tags can become dirty, outdated and illegible. If your cat is an unfortunate victim of a cat-napping, which is becoming more common now especially amongst pure-breeds, then a collar and name tag are easily removed and you stand little chance of being reunited with your cat in the future.
Microchips solve all these problems and aren’t that much more expensive than a collar and tag.
We very occasionally see a microchipped animal whose chip has migrated from the implantation spot, but as we place it between the shoulder blades this is rare, and when it does happen it usually goes down the legs. We will routinely double-check in places other than the neck if a chip isn’t found, so these are quickly discovered.
You can benefit from microchip technology day-to-day
Some of the everyday items your cat uses are now available with built in microchip compatibility.
A common problem is aggressive, over-friendly or sometimes just greedy local cats coming in through the cat flap. You can buy cat flaps that only open to allow programmed cats in, and these can save your cat a lot of distress. Cats are highly territorial and can be really traumatised if a strange cat lets themselves into your house and pesters them or tries to eat their food. If the intruder is a male cat, there is also a good chance they’ll mark by spraying urine which is a smell that’s very hard to get rid of.
If you live in a multi-cat household and they have different dietary needs – for example, one is on a prescription diet and another needs to lose weight – then you can buy food dishes that open just for the programmed cat. This is a simple way to solve an otherwise difficult problem. Even if your cats eat the same food, it’s a good way to monitor their intake and make sure one isn’t eating it all!
Don’t forget that as a Delaware Healthy Pet Scheme member you can get your pet microchipped free of charge.
Not already a member but want to find out more about the best way to care for your pet?