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Cat advice: microchipping your cat

Despite our best efforts, it is not uncommon for cats to get lost or struggle to find their way home. Should this happen, a microchip will give them the best chance of being reunited with you.

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What exactly is a microchip?

A microchip is inserted under the cat’s skin, between its shoulder blades, via a quick injection. Once inserted, a cat cannot feel the microchip and the special capsule around it means that it does not break down and is designed to last your pet’s lifetime.

A microchip is coded with a unique number that can be read by a scanner. Microchips do not store personal data – this is kept against the unique identification number on a secure database. If a cat is found and scanned, the microchip database is accessed online and they can use the number to find the owner’s details. The owner can then be contacted and the pet safely reunited with them.

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Why microchip your cat?

One of the things that many cat owners love about their pets is their inquisitive nature. It is also one of the main reasons that cats end up lost, as they investigate the world around them. Sadly, pet theft is also a very real problem, particularly in rare or expensive breeds. Sometimes life events like moving house can cause some cats to become confused enough that they get lost and struggle to find their way home. 

Collars and tags are not a guaranteed method of identification, as they can easily be lost or replaced. A microchip offers a reliable and permanent method of identification that is designed to last a lifetime. 


Friendly stray cats –those who are more likely have a family but are lost – can be taken in by well-intentioned people. In these scenarios, or those where a cat has been stolen, a microchip can be the only way to prove ownership.

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When should I microchip my cat? Will they feel and discomfort?

A cat can be microchipped from the age of five weeks and onwards. It is always ideal to make sure your cat is microchipped before letting it outside for the first time in case they get lost.

The procedure is very quick and is considered relatively painless, it should be no more painful than an injection or having their blood being taken. Many owners ask for their pet to be microchipped whilst they are being spayed or neutered.

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Outdoor cats

The majority of cats naturally love being outside, roaming and hunting, but the outdoors can pose certain threats to cats. From cars, to fights with other cats over territory, there are many reasons cats can become spooked, run away and end up lost miles away from home. 

Some cats can even end up accidentally trapped in somebody else’s shed or garage and can be missing for days. Collars and identification tags are never a guarantee as they could easily break and fall off when cats are out and about. 


Microchips are designed to last for a cat’s lifetime and so if a cat does become lost or stolen, the chances of them being returned to their owner are hugely improved by the presence of a microchip. 

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Microchip cat flap

If your cat is microchipped, you may also want to consider fitting a microchip cat flap in your home. These cat flaps scan for a microchip and only allow entry into the home if the cat’s microchip number is programmed to the cat flap. This will help keep unwanted cats out of your home and keep your cat safe from strange cats fighting with them in their home.

A microchip cat flap doesn’t require your cat to wear a tag on a collar which can be uncomfortable and is easily lost, leaving your cat at risk of being stuck outside.

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Indoor cats

All cats are unique individuals and whilst most may enjoy spending time outside, many prefer staying indoors instead. This means that if they ever do explore outdoors, they are likely to be more easily spooked by the unfamiliar surroundings and run away. 

Due to their little experience outside they are likely to get lost and be unable to find their way back home. Getting your cat microchipped, even if it is more of an indoor cat, is always the safest option because you can never predict that they won’t venture out at some point and go missing.

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What should I do if my cat goes missing?

It is a horrible experience if your cat goes missing, but there are some important things that you can do: 

  • Tell the microchip database where the chip is registered immediately

  • Contact your vet, local vet surgeries and rescue centres in your local area and leave your cat’s details (including their chip number) with them

  • Ask your neighbours to check sheds, outbuildings, garages and cars

  • Put up posters in your local area with a good photo of your cat and your contact details

  • Use social media to post about your missing cat and ask your friends, neighbours and local forums to share the posts