Guide/How-to| Animal Shelter, Plan to Scan, Veterinarian Awareness

Did you know that more and more owned and community cats are getting microchipped?

Microchips can save lives! When owned cats go missing, microchips help reunite them with their families. Microchips also help reunite community cats with their feline families, called colonies. In both situations, cats get home instead of staying in animal shelters, where they are at risk of being killed.

Veterinarians implant the microchip under the cat’s skin through a quick injection, like a routine vaccination. No anesthetic is required. Microchip implantation is quick, simple, inexpensive, essentially painless, and virtually stress-free for animals. The microchip serves as a permanent ID tag. It is registered with owners’ or caregivers’ information, so animal shelter staff or veterinarians will know who to contact if the cat gets lost and brought to them.

Microchipping the cats you own, and the community cats you care for, could save their lives.

  • Owned cats with microchips are over 20 times more likely to be reunited with their families than those without microchips.
    Microchipped cats are reunited with their family 38.5 percent of the time, compared to just 1.8 percent of the time for cats who aren’t microchipped, according to a 2009 study in the Journal of the American Veterinary Medical Association.
  • Microchips increase the chances of community cats being returned to the correct colony.
    Community cats’ microchips can be registered with information for their caregiver or a Trap-Neuter-Return (TNR) group. That way, if community cats accidentally get brought to an animal shelter, staff can contact the caregiver or TNR group to return community cats to their outdoor homes, where they live with other cats they have a bond with.
  • Microchips help animal shelter staff and veterinarians track animals.
    Microchip scanning helps shelters and veterinarians ensure they have correctly identified animals for procedures. Each chip has a unique number that is associated with only one animal, so there are no mix-ups!
  • Microchipping is in compliance with national veterinary guidelines.
    The American Veterinary Medical Association agrees that microchips are crucial to identifying animals and returning them
    to their families.
  • A microchip is a permanent ID tag.
    A single microchip can last a cat’s full lifespan.
  • Microchips help reunite cats with their families or colonies in emergency evacuations.
    Owned cats and community cats can sometimes get lost during a natural disaster. Microchips are a permanent identifier, which is especially helpful during these situations when cats may lose collars and ID tags, or be difficult to recognize after weathering the disaster.
  • Microchips are necessary for travel outside the United States.
    Most countries require microchips for visiting animals. Research requirements before you travel.


Be Sure to Register Your Microchip! 

Getting your cat microchipped isn’t enough. Don’t forget to register your microchip with your contact information too! If a microchip is not registered, whoever finds the cat will not be able to contact you. You can either register with the microchip company, which may charge registration or annual fees, or with free databases such as Found Animals Registry, which is a nonprofit service. Registering the microchip will help veterinarians and animal shelters contact you if your cat has been found.

Note: If your cat is already microchipped and registered to a previous owner, remember to contact the registry to update the microchip with your information.

Additional Resource

Learn more about microchipping and the Plan to Scan Campaign