Everything you need to know before microchipping your cat

With an aim to help reunite lost or stray cats with their owners, the UK Government recently announced plans to introduce mandatory microchipping for cats.   

Under these new rules, all cat owners must ensure their puss is microchipped before they reach the age of 20 weeks, and their contact details correctly registered on a pet microchipping database. Owners found not to have microchipped their furry friend will be given 21 days to organise the procedure, or may face fines of up to £500.  

PDSA Vet Nurse Nina Downing said: “With thousands of lost or stray pets every year, this is a welcome initiative which animal lovers and vets will support, which will help reunite pets and their owners across the UK. Here’s everything you need to know before getting your cat microchipped. 

When should I get my cat microchipped? 

“Microchipping your puss will help ensure that if they ever become lost, stolen, or injured then they have the best possible chance of being reunited with you as quickly as possible. I’d always recommend that all cats are microchipped before they start going outside, just to be safe. Kittens can be microchipped at the same time as they have their vaccination. Alternatively, as cats can be neutered from 4 months of age, this provides a perfect opportunity to have them microchipped at the same time, so they won’t even know it’s been done. 

Does microchipping hurt? 

“Your cat’s microchip is implanted under their skin between their shoulder blades. Just like any injection, microchipping can sometimes cause a small amount of discomfort at the time, but fortunately it’s a very quick procedure that takes just a few seconds. Microchips are made out of non-reactive materials, so once it’s in place, it shouldn’t hurt or cause any problems. 

“Most pets barely notice the microchipping procedure, but providing them with a reward such as a tasty treat can help to calm them down if they are upset at all.  

Where can I get my cat microchipped?  

“Microchips can only be implanted by professionals, such as vets, veterinary nurses, or those who have been specially trained to do so. Most cat owners take their four-legged friends to get microchipped at their vet, but if you do go elsewhere such as a rescue centre or grooming parlour, it’s important to do checks beforehand to make sure the person chipping your puss is qualified to carry out the procedure. 

How do I register my cat’s microchip? 

“Once the chip has been placed, the number will need to be registered along with your information (name, address, phone numbers, email address, pet’s details, and an additional emergency contact or two) on a government approved central database. The professional that microchips your cat will give you all the details on how to do this. 

“You can use www.checkachip.com to confirm which microchip database your furry family member is registered with. There are various microchip databases in the UK, so it’s really important that you make sure your pet is registered with one that is approved by the UK government.  

“If your furry friend becomes lost or stolen, contact your microchip database company to let them know as soon as possible, so they can change your pet’s status to lost or stolen. This will alert anyone who may have found and scanned them to the situation, hopefully speeding up the process so you’re reunited as quickly as possible. 

How long do microchips last? 

“Microchips are hardwearing and should last for your four-legged friend’s lifetime. It’s extremely rare for them to become faulty, but in the unlikely case one fails, the chip manufacturer will provide a replacement chip. There is no need to remove the faulty chip, your vet can simply place the new chip alongside it.”