Microchip- To Chip Or Not To Chip?

Diana Faye

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How many owners here choose to microchip their cat, and why?

I've had my kittens for less than a year, and I'm starting to feel like the mischievous one is getting a bit too curious at the door. I see so many missing pets on local FB posts, and my kitty's curiosity has me a little concerned. I've decided to get them collars/ ID tags, but of course those can (and should) fall off. I started reading up on micro-chipping, but reading up on the associated risks has me feeling doubtful that it's for me.

My senior (RIP) was never chipped, and only wore a collar (no tag) when being transported to the vet. He was street smart, and while he had slipped out numerous times, I never worried about him finding his way home. With 2 young cats whose wisdom is questionable, I am less confident.

Environmental concerns- I live in a rural area, and my community has plenty of wild areas. I have neighbors close by, I'm within walking distance to the nearest shelter, and the overall community is pretty close knit. Most people are very familiar with local vets, as there are only a handful at best, and there's a few locals who are dedicated to rescuing cats. IF my trouble maker were to get out and was found, I feel like I could easily utilize local FB groups. Downsides would be the overall wild spaces where he wouldn't be found (he's also scared of strangers) and other than the few dedicated "crazy cat ladies," I'm doubtful if locals would think twice about seeing a cat outside, let alone have it scanned. I'm also not sure if local shelters/ vets even have a scanner.

I might be leaning more towards a visible collar and personal diligence being my best bet, but I want to explore all my available options. Any thoughts/ opinions on the subject would be greatly appreciated.
 

Furballsmom

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Hi!
Please chip them. You'd need a breakaway collar, and just because you have an option or two now doesn't mean things won't change.

I don't have any questions or concerns about chipping. There are too many situations that occur where we may think we're in control but find out that we're not. Car wrecks, fire, or he gets out, loses the collar and gets chased by a predator into unknown territory, ...there's no reason not to chip and keep the information up to date.
 

di and bob

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There have been instances of the cat developing tumors at the injection site. but these can also happen with any injections. There is ALWAYS a small risk with anything medical. But like the parents of all those unimmunized children are finding out, to listen to FB and the internet and other unreliable sources, you are risking even worse by NOT having it done. Autism(never proven) and tumors (so small a risk as to be almost nonexistant) are are horrible, but so is death and suffering.
 

Lari

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The tnr I adopted from has all cats spayed/neutered and microchipped before adopting them out, so it was never a question for me (I just registered her to my address), but it ended up being super helpful when my grazer kitty moved in with a food vacuum cat. I was able to train her on a microchip feeder (opens only when it scans her chip) and the fact that she can eat at her pace in peace makes it worth it, even if she never gets lost.
 
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Diana Faye

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There have been instances of the cat developing tumors at the injection site. but these can also happen with any injections. There is ALWAYS a small risk with anything medical. But like the parents of all those unimmunized children are finding out, to listen to FB and the internet and other unreliable sources, you are risking even worse by NOT having it done. Autism(never proven) and tumors (so small a risk as to be almost nonexistant) are are horrible, but so is death and suffering.
I'm def not an anti-vaxxer type, and I do understand there's always minimal risks. I was so anxious getting the one cat neutered, but there was no question that I was going ahead with that. Mostly my reaction is because I hadn't heard of any kind of risks with microchipping, so finding out about it was a little surprising. Before that, it was just something I hadn't put much thought into but now my circumstances are a little different. I'm also feel like dogs are more likely to get the most benefit from them, but I'm unsure if it's the same for cats.

I feel like neuter/ spay is a very necessary procedure. I'm not 100% on whether chips are for me, but I can see how they can be useful for others. Right now I want to learn as much as I can about it so I can make the best decision.
 

sivyaleah

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Chipping is fairly inexpensive in the grand scheme of cat care. We opted to do it for all the reasons already stated. If a collar gets off, it's the only other way the cat can be identified. That in itself is enough was enough of a reason to go ahead.
 

Rhall

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Both mine were chipped at their spay/neuter. They are both indoor kitties. Just makes sense to do it in the event they get out.
 

jen

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YEEEESSSSS chip the cat. You could put all the collars in the world on the cat and someone can always take it off and claim the cat as their own. I always use a collar also. IMO Break away collars are a waste of money, I always successfully used a PROPERLY FITTED simple buckle collar with ID on it for years and years, works great.
 

Kflowers

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Chipped. Cat won't wear collar. I was thrilled when they started chipping pets, more when the vets gave the shelters scanners. I spent most of my life worried that the indoor cats would get out - during a burglary, a fire, what have you and that we'd never find them again. I worried that the shelter would put them down after three days (or in one case less than 24 hours standard) or in most cases a few hours if they aren't chipped and are hurt. Or even worse that they would be injured in a shelter and untreated, not even pain meds, because they didn't have an owner or a wallet.

Early days they tattooed my dogs. Said you do the inside of the leg because if you do the ear thieves will just cut the ear off. I didn't have purebreed dogs or cats. Ordinary dogs and cats are used as bait animals in dog fighting and small ones are used for snake food. Chipping means you get the first chance to claim your pet and that you can prove that black cat, that tabby IS YOURS.
 

Cat Buddies

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Hi there! We didn't microchip our cats as we kept them indoor and catify our house. Our cats are very comfortable and doesn't try to get out of the house as well.. so for our case we choose not to microchip it..
 

jcat

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I work at a small shelter. In 2018, we took in 55 strays, the majority of them cats. Many, many of them were indoor-only cats that accidentally got out. If a pet is microchipped and registered, it can be back home within minutes or hours; it seldom takes longer than a day.

A few weeks ago an apartment house one town over was completely destroyed by fire. One man died. A family living there had two indoor-only cats. They barely managed to let the cats out of the house before escaping with smoke inhalation. One cat turned up after several days, but the other is still missing. The "my cats don't need microchips because they're indoor-only pets" argument just doesn't cut it.

Many that are unchipped, or whose microchips are unregistered, remain unclaimed and are rehomed after they've been held for several weeks. Those unclaimed pets are held in quarantine cages with limited human contact for two weeks, then vaccinated and quarantined again till they've had their final shots and can be put in with the general population.

Please spare your pets that experience by getting them microchipped, registering the transponder, and keeping your contact info up to date.
 

Cat Buddies

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I work at a small shelter. In 2018, we took in 55 strays, the majority of them cats. Many, many of them were indoor-only cats that accidentally got out. If a pet is microchipped and registered, it can be back home within minutes or hours; it seldom takes longer than a day.

Many that are unchipped, or whose microchips are unregistered, remain unclaimed and are rehomed after they've been held for several weeks. Those unclaimed pets are held in quarantine cages with limited human contact for two weeks, then vaccinated and quarantined again till they've had their final shots and can be put in with the general population.

Please spare your pets that experience by getting them microchipped, registering the transponder, and keeping your contact info up to date.

Thanks for sharing this post.
 

Azazel

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Microchipping is one of those things that is socially acceptable and so people don't really question whether it should be done or not. The reality is that microchips aren't really that effective and can potentially cause health problems (short term or long term). I'm not completely against microchipping, but I think people are way too quick to accept injecting digital objects under animals' skins (most people would never do the same thing to themselves or their own children). It's good that you're considering the pros and cons. I chose not to microchip my cats because the probability of the microchip actually being effective over, say, me just calling around to shelters and animal clinics is very very low. Remember, someone has to actually take your cat to a shelter or clinic where they can scan her. So if you're diligent enough to let all your local animal shelters and clinics know that your cat is missing they will let you know anyway if the cat shows up. I'd just prefer not to inject my cats with unnecessary things. That's my perspective.

There are also other options. For example, if you take your cat for a teeth cleaning you can ask that they tattoo at the same time. It's fairly inexpensive.
 

Furballsmom

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The people who lived through the California fires (think the town of Paradise-because of the incredible wind speeds driving the flames those people had NO time to grab anything, never mind a frightened cat) and got their cats returned to them had the reunions happen much, much more quickly when the cats had microchips, which were scanned in the field.

The other cats were left on their own in a fire ravaged area, and if found and rescued had to go through what jcat described above.

This is a tool that has proven results, as in reunited cats/owners, time and time again which in my mind is extremely effective. It's only ineffective when not used, not registered or the information isn't maintained/kept up to date.
 
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Azazel

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The people who lived through the California fires (think the town of Paradise-because of the incredible wind speeds driving the flames those people had NO time to grab anything, never mind a frightened cat) and got their cats returned to them had the reunions happen much, much more quickly when the cats had microchips, which were scanned in the field.

The other cats were left on their own in a fire ravaged area, and if found and rescued had to go through what jcat described above.

This is a tool that has proven results, as in reunited cats/owners, time and time again which in my mind is extremely effective. It's only ineffective when not used, not registered or the information isn't maintained/kept up to date.
I agree that it was useful for that circumstance but not every circumstance is the same. I’m just saying that we tend to accept microchipping without thinking critically about it.

The stats for the effectiveness of microchipping are also based only on cats who are found and taken to a shelter. They are not representative of the entire cat population or the entire population of cats who have microchips.

Again, I’m not saying don’t microchip your cat. I’m just saying to consider the pros and cons and your individual circumstance and to make an informed decision. What I disagree with is the general mindless rule that all cats should be microchipped.
 

lutece

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Here is the AVMA's FAQ on microchipping animals:
https://www.avma.org/KB/Resources/FAQs/Pages/Microchipping-of-animals-FAQ.aspx
And the AVMA's reference page with more information:
https://www.avma.org/KB/Resources/Reference/Pages/Microchipping-of-Animals-Backgrounder.aspx
Microchipping is a safe procedure for cats with very few adverse reactions reported, as long as the microchip is inserted by a veterinarian (not by an untrained person). In fact, the number of adverse reactions is so small that I'm not sure what "cons" someone would have to consider in order to make an informed decision about microchipping. Azazel Azazel , what are the cons to microchipping, in your opinion? In what sort of circumstances do you think it wouldn't be a good idea to microchip a cat?
 
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Azazel

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Here is the AVMA's FAQ on microchipping animals:
https://www.avma.org/KB/Resources/FAQs/Pages/Microchipping-of-animals-FAQ.aspx
And the AVMA's reference page with more information:
https://www.avma.org/KB/Resources/Reference/Pages/Microchipping-of-Animals-Backgrounder.aspx
Microchipping is a safe procedure for cats with very few adverse reactions reported, as long as the microchip is inserted by a veterinarian (not by an untrained person). In fact, the number of adverse reactions is so small that I'm not sure what "cons" someone would have to consider in order to make an informed decision about microchipping. Azazel Azazel , what are the cons to microchipping, in your opinion? In what sort of circumstances do you think it wouldn't be a good idea to microchip a cat?
My vet who has been practicing for over 30 years was the person who warned me against microchipping. She said that she sat on a local veterinary board years ago when discussions of microchipping were first being entertained and that vets widely accepted microchips without adequate consideration or research on adverse effects. She believes that many cases of adverse effects may go unreported primarily because vets don’t think to link external symptoms to microchips. Her view is that there never was and still isn’t adequate research on the risks and that we have been too uncritically accepting of putting microchips in pets.

My experience with veterinary practice and vet associations is also that it’s a big business. Many of the foods, vaccines, and implants recommended by vets are part of a larger relationship between the vet industry and the companies that produce these products.

Again, I’m not saying don’t microchip, I’m saying that it’s not useful or reasonable to recommend microchipping as a rule for all animals when we actually know very little about the long term effects.
 
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Diana Faye

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It's been a little difficult for me to find more in depth info on risks of microchipping, as most sites celebrate it. I'm just naturally skeptical of that, as nothing is 100% fool proof. What I have found on potential risks seems to not have enough research, but involves small risks of cancer, infection at injection site (mostly when done by someone other than a vet), and a death that was the result of a chip moving into the brain stem. The few reports of cancers that developed seem to be quite aggressive and quick acting. One article claimed a kitten had difficulties with paralysis until the chip was removed.

Other negative reports claim that chips have a failure rate of 30%, chip migration issues, human error, faulty scanners or lack of, and failure to scan at all. Supposedly 1% of veterinary clinics scan new clients. I am not sure if this is accurate (I should have been saving links, but I didn't), but thinking back on my own experience I have never been scanned, including my 2 recent cats (one who was found on the side of the road, another obtained from a shelter).

Most of the "negatives" I can find are about the compulsory laws in places like the UK, which pertains to dogs. There have been a few claims where owners were located years after their pet went missing, but we not returned to the original owners and were instead given to the most recent ones (who failed to alert authorities or have the animal scanned). One man claimed that the chip company contacted him asking to transfer ownership of his dog who had been stolen, but would not give out the information of those who currently possessed the dog.

I can obviously see how microchips have been useful in returning pets to owners, and at the very least give peace of mind. Even a small chance of locating your pet is better than none. I think I saw a statistic for cats that those without microchips were returned approx 1- 2% of the time, but those with chips increased to 30-40%. However, I'm still feeling uncomfortable the aggressiveness of health risks (even if a small chance) and I'm not feeling very confident that people would do the right thing and get an animal scanned.

I think for right now, I want to hold off to continue doing some research and talk to my vet. I may have to try to look into my area and see what the practices are for scanning pets.

Does anyone know what the most common/ best microchips are?
 
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