Various pet clinics offer free cat microchipping services during Wellness Clinics, and at the time of spay/neuter surgery.
Vetco clinics offer free microchip checks, while some vets or rescue centers can microchip your cat for $10.
Petco offers $19 microchips, and Petsmart does it for $30.
No matter how careful we are with our cats, they still can get lost. They can sneak outside the window or under the fence.
Losing your cat is a sad experience if you ask almost every cat owner. When such a thing happens, you hope you and your cat reunite soon.
Fortunately, technology has made it possible for this reunion to happen fast. Microchipping facilitates the safe return of your cat home.
At the same time, you don’t want to spend a fortune in the process of searching for your cat. So, I am going to show you how to get your cat microchipped for free, or at least at a lower cost.
Where to Get Free or Low Cost Microchipping
FixNation introduced a new microchip program in 2017 where all pets are microchipped for free at the time of spay/neuter surgery. This is just an example of offers you can take advantage of if you need your cat microchipped for free.
Keep a close eye on pet clinic promotion programs and on special occasions such as animal wellness shows, to learn more about any free services they offer.
Even if the service is not free, you can always find microchipping services at a low cost of about $10.
All vets and vet nurses can microchip your cat, and have special training on how to implant a chip. You can also find these services at rescue centers or in a pet groomer. If you are not going to a registered vet, ensure the person is qualified.
Most vets will charge a small fee to microchip your cat, but you can always find a charity event within your local area that offers free services.
You will need to provide the following at the time:
- Your cat in a secure basket.
- Proof of identity.
- The cat must be over 8 weeks and in good health condition.
Petsmart implant chips in cats at a cost of about $30.
How it works
A tiny microchip is a radio-frequency transponder about the size of a grain of rice that is inserted under your cat’s skin, mostly on the base of the neck area. Your pet might feel a pinch, but it is quick and relatively painless.
Before insertion, the vet scans the code, and it gives an identification number specific to your pet.
Your contact details match the scanned microchip, which vets, microchip professionals, and pet organizations can access.
You must keep your details up to date; otherwise, the entire process will not help you find your lost cat.
Whenever you change your number or move to a different house, inform your vet so that they update these contact details.
The process is simple, and there is no need for surgery or anesthesia. Once your cat has been microchipped, you can easily set up their account. Information needed include:
- Your pet’s name.
- Physical characteristics.
Pet Chip Registration
A microchip contains only a code and registration number. Therefore, it’s important to register with the service that works with your cat’s microchip.
The registration process is simple. Complete the paperwork and send it to the registry, or you can also do it online. Depending on the company, you might pay a one-time registration fee or annually.
This makes it easier to trace back the chip to the veterinarian who implanted it. There are multiple registration centers, each with its databases, and because of this, not all scanners detect microchips.
The good thing is that the Animal Hospital Association has a universal microchip lookup tool to make it easy to identify the company where a microchip is registered.
Importance of Microchipping your Cat
We lose thousands of cats each year. According to the ASPCA, 3.2 million cats enter U.S animal shelters each year because they escaped their homes and got lost.
Pet theft may also happen but on rare occasions. Although it is not a tracking device, a microchip has a permanent radio frequency ID for your cat, making it easy to find it. The thief could be just in your neighborhood.
Cat owners have sometimes used collars and tags to identify their pets, but these methods are not so effective because they can get caught or removed. A microchip identifies your cat permanently.
Microchipping your cat increases the odds of a joyous reunion in case your cat gets lost. Since the device is battery-powered and inserted on the skin, it lasts the lifetime of your furry friend.
Most organizations that microchip cats are willing to spread the news regarding a missing cat, so you have a list of friends ready to assist you if your feline friend gets lost.
Thus it is safe to say that this technology provides you with peace of mind, and is an effective tool to facilitate the safe return of your lost cat home.
Reasons Your Cat Might Run Away
Here are likely reasons why your cat can decide to run away, that further necessitates the need for a microchip:
Many things can pique your cat’s interest: a jumpy bird, a noisy squirrel, another cat, or an insect. Even if you trust that your indoor cat can never walk outside your door, these things can make it take the great leap outdoors.
Once outdoors, it can continue walking away from home, not realizing it is getting lost. An indoor cat may not be so used to being in unfamiliar territory outside, and might find it hard to go back home.
Cats have unique personalities. If your cat doesn’t enjoy meeting new people and recently your house has been full of too many strangers, this could drive your pet friend away.
For example, if you have a party and leave the door open, this can provide the perfect chance for your timid cat to escape.
Your cat can also find an opportunity to run away when you are having home repairs. Workers may not realize it when your cat walks out of the door.
As a cat owner, you may need to take your cat outside, such as taking it to the vet, pet grooming services, or just a walk in the park.
If your cat is terrified of car rides, such trips can be a scary experience, and it can jump out of your arms or the car.
Having your cat microchipped is an added security if any of these situations described above become a reality.
Microchip Side Effects
There have been cases of complications, but these are rare. Some cats develop tumors at the site of the microchip. This rarely happens compared to the millions of cats that have microchip implants.
Microchips need to stay at the same spot for 24 hours to bond with the skin. Otherwise, it can move to another area, and the scanner might not find it.
It’s good to ask your vet to ensure the chip is at the back near the shoulder blades, and it is still reading.