Microchip Facts: Chip Your Pet Month

MicrochipAccording to the ASPCA, the number of feral cats in the United States is estimated to be in the ‘tens of millions,’ and the stray cat population is ’impossible to determine.’

Pet parents need to do all they can to ensure their cat doesn’t become a statistic. Collars with identification tags and even bells are often lost when a cat ventures outdoors. Improvements in technology have made it easier to bring about pet-parent reunions when a cat has a microchip.

Dr. Cristiano von Simson, DVM, MBA, Director of Veterinary Technical Services at Bayer Animal Health Care, LLC, Animal Health Division says, “a study published in the Journal of the American Veterinary Medical Association found that the microchip identification method has provided more happy reunions and a greater frequency than any other method of identification.” As a matter of fact, the late Jack the cat was identified and his pet parent contacted because he had a microchip.

Pet identification microchips are the size of a grain of rice and painlessly injected between a cat’s shoulder blades. They last a lifetime and can provide peace of mind. Microchipping your cat is only part of the process. Cats need to be registered on a database. Registration information includes the microchip number, the cat’s color, gender and the pet parent’s name, address and contact information.

Newer microchips don’t tend to migrate out of the area in which they were placed. Past concerns about Feline Injection Sarcoma, an aggressive form of cancer, have been found to be the probable result of vaccines being  given in the microchip injection site.  Chronic inflammation at the injection site can cause cancer in extremely rare cases.

Another common concern in the past was the issue of standardization as to reading the information on microchips. Not all scanners could read them in the past due to a variation of frequencies. However, as Dr. von Simson says, “the United States and Europe have adapted the same ISO (International Standardization Organization), meaning standardization in microchip frequency for the past three to four years; therefore, newer scanners read older microchips, European microchips, as well as newer ISO microchips.” Even so, scanners may need to be replaced every five to six years.

In the end, it’s up to pet parents to judge the benefits and risks of the injection.

As always, it’s best to consult your cat’s veterinarian with any questions about microchips for cats.


Written by Stephanie Newman

Stephanie Newman

Stephanie is author of the blog, The Musings Of A Crazy Cat Lady, and a freelance writer whose work regularly appears on Examiner.com. Stephanie’s work has been featured on Catster and in print in Natural Awakenings Pet – east Michigan and the Oakland Press newspaper. She’s a professional member of the Cat Writers’ Association, Inc. and a member of Pet Professionals for Pet Adoption.