A microchip is a small implant, the same size as a grain of rice, which sits underneath the skin. When the area containing the microchip is scanned, a unique 15-digit code is retrieved. This code can be registered on a national database against your details, meaning if your cat ever gets lost or stolen you can be easily identified as their owner.
Does my cat need to be microchipped?
It is strongly advised to microchip your cat, preferably before they are allowed outside. It will be compulsory for all cats over 20 weeks old to be microchipped by June 2024.
Due to the large numbers of stray cats in the UK, and the tendency for owned cats to roam, compulsory microchipping will make it much easier to determine which cats are owned and reunite them with their families.
When should I get my cat microchipped?
It is strongly recommended to keep your cat indoors until they are neutered (usually at 4-5 months old). This reduces the risk of unwanted litters and likelihood of car accidents and getting lost, as unneutered cats are more likely to roam. Most commonly cats are microchipped while they are under anaesthesia for neutering. This means it can be placed easily and they do not feel it.
Should indoor cats be microchipped?
Indoor cats should also be microchipped, if they do escape, they are less likely to find their own way home. From June 2024, it will be a legal requirement for all cats to be microchipped, whether they are allowed outside or not.
Getting my cat microchipped
Placing a microchip is straightforward but should only ever be performed by a veterinary surgeon or other trained professional (such as a veterinary nurse). A special needle is used; this is larger than the ones used for a standard vaccine but makes placement quick, and most pets are unbothered by it. Some cats may experience mild discomfort or be sensitive in the area for a few days afterwards.
Keeping your cat’s microchip details up to date
It is your responsibility to ensure the details held against the microchip number are kept up to date. This means you must contact the database the microchip is registered to if you move house, change phone number, or rehome your cat. If your cat does get lost or stolen, let the database know as most will mark this against the microchip number.
Other uses for a microchip
Did you know your cats unique microchip number can be used in everyday life?
Microchip cat flaps are programmed to only open for pre-set microchip numbers. When your cat inserts their head into the frame the microchip is scanned and, if the number is authorised, the cat flap unlocks. This is great for cats in areas with lots of pet or stray cats, who may try to come inside and steal food or make themselves at home.
Microchip feeders are also available, which work in the same way as the cat flaps but lift a lid to allow access to a food bowl. This can be a great solution for households with multiple cats where one is on a prescription diet, or if one cat is overweight and one is underweight. Different foods or portion sizes can be placed in each feeder so the cat can only access its allotted meal.
Microchipping is included with your The Healthy Pet Club membership for dogs, cats and rabbits!
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