Needle to inject microchip into cat

Microchips are a great thing.

Microchips are a great thing.

A microchip implant is an identifying integrated circuit which uses passive RFID (Radio Frequency Identification). These chips basically consist of three different elements:  the integrated circuit (chip), the inductor and the capacitor. By the process of inductivity, the chip receives its power from the scanner. Microchips are a great thing to have for your cat. Beyond the obvious reason of it being a permanent id tag which can reunite owner with their lost cat so easily. It can also act as a data registry for your cats’ medical record and can be retrieved by anyone who has the appropriate scanner. Whether it’s a new vet, an animal shelter, the municipal animal catcher or even border and customs officials. It can be used to verify compliance with shots, such as rabies. It can also be used to identify any pre-existing ailments such as diabetes, allergies, etc.  It can even be used to allow access through doors or passages, which read the chip and thus disengage locks. In the rare circumstance, it can be used to settle claims of ownership.

Sometimes a lost cat taken to the Vet can identify the rightful owner, should that person bring the cat to a vet which does scan and is aware of the microchips presence. Although none of my cats have microchips, my dog Marbles does. It’s a relief to know he does. I’ve never chipped my cats, because they are all stay at home indoor cats with no opportunity to get outside. Also, I foster most of them and chipping all of them would be beyond my budget.

As for concerns regarding safety in its implementing and presence, they are limited. In fact, all these concerns should be reasonably dismissed. For starters, the concern that they can cause tumors is rare. In a recent UK study, they measured that possibility at one in a million. It should also be noted that the microchip itself emits nothing. It has no battery. It is powered by the scanner by way of completing a circuit. A rather small and brief circuit, just enough to record the id number. That id number is then used against the registry which in turn provides all the information. From owner details, the cats’ Vet, medical records and any other information you might want available on the registry data. The only real threat with the microchip might just be in its installation. Regarding that, it should be a sterile process. Although animal shelters can implement them, it’s probably best left to the vet within a sterile clinical environment. As for pain, that’s negligible. Being the size of a grain of rice, it is installed with a syringe and gives as much discomfort as that of a regular injection. It takes only a couple of seconds. The chip itself is usually installed behind the neck and between the shoulder blades.

As for its actual use, there seems to be a bit of disarray, in that all is not universal. There are 4 manufacturers of Microchips for cats and each use a different scanner. The basic difference between these chips and scanners amongst these manufacturers is the frequency they each utilize. However, there is good news. Some of these scanners can now read three different types of microchips. You might be asking the same question I am. Why wouldn’t it be standardized? I guess that’s because of their competing technologies and hope that their brand (technology) will get a greater market share. I don’t know if you remember the battle between VHS and Beta video formats? Well this is basically what’s goingon here. Hopefully, in good time they should have standardized readabilities. This will probably be enforced by government, or animal welfare organizations. In the meantime, most animal shelters will have the different suitable scanners on hand. Here are the four basic types of Microchips. Since the popularity of anyone type over another might be different in different areas, I won’t be indicating that here neither will I rate them, because that is a matter of opinion. Your Vet is best equipped to discuss the best one for your cat, based on suitability and where you may be geographically situated.


  • The ISO Conformant Full Duplex type
  • The Trovan Unique type
  • The FECAVA or Destron
  • The AVID brand Friendchip


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