Should You Microchip Your Cat?


Cats need some form of identification, regardless of whether they’re indoor or indoor/outdoor cats. Even indoor cats can slip out the door and get lost. Wearing identification, whether it’s a collar and tag, or a microchip, can increase the chances of a lost cat being returned to its home.

While most veterinarians and cat experts recommend microchips for all cats, there can be some problems with them.

In a recent article for, I wrote about the risks and benefits of microchips for cats. I also addressed the issue of whether the chips can cause cancer. Click here to read the full article.


Allegra and Ruby are microchipped, even though they never go outside.

Are your cats microchipped?

Photo by Liz West, Flickr Creative Commons

30 Comments on Should You Microchip Your Cat?

  1. Ruth
    December 3, 2015 at 5:36 pm (2 years ago)

    We are indoor cats, but our Mom had us chipped, because if we got picked up and taken to a shelter, she didn’t want us to be left there.

    She also has our wear collars and tags all the time, because we live in a rural area where not everybody bothers to scan cats for chips.

    She would give us a bulletproof vest and a concealed carry permit too, if she could.

    ~Tiger & Spottie

  2. Maxwell, Faraday & Allie
    February 10, 2014 at 9:06 pm (4 years ago)

    Of course, with Sebastian’s story over at, we know how critically important a microchip can be when there is fire in a home. And we think many people don’t realize that microchips aren’t “always on”. They only send out a signal when queried and “awakened” by a scanner.

    Sometimes not having the right knowledge can cause people to fear unnecessarily. Having a foreign body implanted is another matter, and we do understand the concerns there. But we agree, the risk is so very low and the benefits so high, that we completely support chipping pets. Although if we had to do it all over again, we would have waited to microchip Allie until she was sedated for her dental. We could tell the injection HURT.

    • Ingrid
      February 11, 2014 at 6:22 am (4 years ago)

      I agree that the risks outweigh the benefits when it comes to chips. And I’m with you: even though it’s a very quick procedure, I can’t imagine that inserting such a big needle doesn’t hurt!

  3. Leslie
    February 5, 2014 at 1:18 am (4 years ago)

    My kitties are indoor only and micro chipped but I also have them clicker trained so I have an additional tool if ever I had to search for them. I hope I never do!
    To clicker train…buy a clicker at your pet store. Use the clicker every time you feed them or give them their favorite treat. Once trained to the clicker (two to four days!) all you need to do is reinforce the training each week or so. Cats are SMART!
    Mine will sit and stay and shake hands too but I just do that extra training for fun!

    • Ingrid
      February 5, 2014 at 6:13 am (4 years ago)

      That’s a great way to use clicker training, Leslie.

  4. Lisa
    February 4, 2014 at 11:02 am (4 years ago)

    Having a hard time accessing your article Ingrid, maybe bc I’m on a cell. I look forward to reading it though.

  5. Lisa
    February 4, 2014 at 11:02 am (4 years ago)

    Having a hard time accessing your article Ingrid, maybe bc I’m on a cell. I look forward to reading it though.

  6. Lisa
    February 4, 2014 at 10:55 am (4 years ago)

    We adopted our cats as kittens from the ASPCA 2.5 years ago. Our Molly had a skin irritation where the chip was implanted which took awhile to heal. She has had periodic itching and scratching in that area to the point of getting a bald spot. Same with our male cat. Our vet suspected a food allergy, chicken. They are now on an all meat and partial raw diet and yet both cats have periodic itching in their neck area. My male cat has to wear a bandana of sorts bc the fur has taken so long to grow back. We suspect maybe the microchips are causing the irritation and are considering removing them from both cats. The vet said that although he has not seen microchip problems with any of the cats he has treated, a microchip irritation would not be outside the realm of possibilities. Through process of elimination, we’ll eventually narrow down what causes them to periodically scratch theie necks raw. I wish ASPCA had given us the option of having the cats microchipped. They are indoor apt cats.

  7. Pam
    February 4, 2014 at 8:10 am (4 years ago)

    I once found a cat huddled by the side of my house. He was obviously an indoor cat. When he saw me, he was so relieved he came to me instantly. I scooped him up and took him to the local vet. They scanned him and he had a chip.

    They called the number on the chip and Charlie’s parents didn’t even know he had gotten out.

    They were there within ten minutes to pick him up.

    The chip worked and it was a great day!

    • Ingrid
      February 4, 2014 at 10:42 am (4 years ago)

      That must have been such a great feeling to be able to help get Charlie back to his home!

  8. Sue Brandes
    February 3, 2014 at 8:14 pm (4 years ago)

    Thank you Ingrid. I always wondered about these and if they were safe.

  9. Caren Gittleman
    February 3, 2014 at 2:47 pm (4 years ago)

    I keep debating doing it for Cody and I know I should. There could be weather disasters, anything, which would make it a good idea. I really need to do it.

    • Ingrid
      February 3, 2014 at 3:43 pm (4 years ago)

      You bring up an excellent point, Caren: in the event of a natural disaster, microchips can make the difference between a cat being returned to his home or left at a shelter.

  10. Glogirly and Katie
    February 3, 2014 at 1:54 pm (4 years ago)

    Both Katie & Waffles have chips. Even though I’m super careful and neither cats are ever allowed outside without a leash or pet carrier, I know that accidents happen. In fact, when Katie was just a kitten, she slipped out when some groceries were being delivered. It was the middle of the winter and VERY cold. While unpacking the groceries, I noticed she wasn’t around. After a frantic search of the house (and my husband telling me she was just hiding or sleeping somewhere) I went outside. Standing in the cold and calling her name, I was shocked and relieved when little Katie came running towards me meowing away. I hate to think of what could have happened.

    So despite the risks, we are pro-microchip here.

    • Ingrid
      February 3, 2014 at 2:58 pm (4 years ago)

      Oh my goodness, Debbie! How scary! Thank goodness she didn’t go far.

  11. Heather and Ellie Mae
    February 3, 2014 at 1:40 pm (4 years ago)

    Ellie Mae couldn’t come home with me from the rescue unless she got a chip. It was part of the package when she was adopted. Ellie Mae is an indoor only cat but I had hoped she would wear a collar in case she got outside but she refuses her collar. Any tips on how to get a cat used to a collar? 🙂 She must have never worn one in her whole life. She was adopted at age 4 and a half.

    • Ingrid
      February 3, 2014 at 3:01 pm (4 years ago)

      Try starting very slow and for very short periods of time. Reward her if she tolerates the collar, and gradually increase the length of time you leave it on.

  12. Margaret
    February 3, 2014 at 11:14 am (4 years ago)

    Basically I think most of us are in favour of microchipping. There are advantages and disadvantages to most methods, but it has to be better than collars I think, however “fail-safe” those are.

    As regards cats getting lost – not everyone would be prepared to take a cat to a vet or rescue centre to find out if it is microchipped although I’d like to think most people would.

    We only have one of our (three) cats microchipped;’ she was four when she came to us and had already been done, but we never had a problem, thank goodness with any of them going missing, and the older they get the less inclined they are to wander.

    By and large – it has to be the best idea and I note your current two are microchipped even though they don’t go outside.

    Peace of mind for the owner has to be the best!

    • Ingrid
      February 3, 2014 at 3:42 pm (4 years ago)

      It’s definitely peace of mind for me, Margaret.

  13. Viki Worden
    February 3, 2014 at 11:12 am (4 years ago)

    Only one of my cats is microchipped. He came to me microchipped when I adopted him. I have never had my other cats microchipped. I never really saw the need to do it because they are indoor cats. I have had one of them for over 10 years and the others 5 and 6 years. I guess I have been lucky that they have never escaped. I am always very careful. I have an enclosed front porch and always put them back in the house before I open the porch door to the outside. This article has made me think about it though. Like I have always told my children, nothing is 100%, so I know there is always a chance that at least one of them could get out at some point. I shudder to think of it though because after you go down my front steps it is only a couple feet to the road, which is busy almost 100% of the time. There have been issues with the traffic going too fast. It would be a miracle if any of my kitties survived if they ran into the road.

    Thank you very much for the information. I have learned so much from you!

  14. Bernadette
    February 3, 2014 at 10:37 am (4 years ago)

    Our human tells people about this all the time but we are not chipped! She says she doesn’t want to pack us all into a car and take us somewhere, and really, we don’t mind that–our vet comes to the house–but she tells us this year may be the year.

    But still, many shelters and rescues who chip pets as part of the adoption package now register the chip to the shelter, so even if new owners don’t update, the chip can at least be traced back to the shelter, which can research the adoption, but the more twists and turns the longer it takes to find an owner and there can be mistakes. There are very reliable free services if cost is an issue. At our TNR clinics we scan the whole cat while it’s still under anesthetic after spay/neuter surgery. For the number of chipped cats we’ve reunited with owners locally, it’s very well worth the effort!

    • Ingrid
      February 3, 2014 at 3:41 pm (4 years ago)

      That’s good to know that your TNR clinic scans the cats, Bernadette.

  15. Sweet Purrfections
    February 3, 2014 at 10:26 am (4 years ago)

    We are not chipped and Mom Paula is debating whether to do so.

  16. The Island Cats
    February 3, 2014 at 9:57 am (4 years ago)

    We are not chipped, though we do wear collars with tags. The mom keeps saying she needs to get us chipped…even though we are inside cats.

  17. toni / rctees
    February 3, 2014 at 8:34 am (4 years ago)

    Yes mam….we are chipped.

  18. Vickster
    February 3, 2014 at 8:27 am (4 years ago)

    We microchipped our two indoor cats last year, and I’ve had one feral microchipped too. If had had known a few years ago that I could have gotten ALL of the ferals chipped, I would have done that. Hopefully, I’ll get the process completed when I’m able to trap them again for a complete physical workup by my veterinarian.

  19. Tricia
    February 3, 2014 at 6:22 am (4 years ago)

    Make sure to register your microchip! Many rescues chip their cats before adopting out and you need to call the company to update the chip with your information. Same goes for if you move -update your info! We found a cat near some abandoned homes after superstorm Sandy. We took her to a vet to scan for a microchip to find it registered to a humane society. When I called them with the chip number on hopes that they could tell me who adopted her, all they could tell me is that she was adopted in 2001 because their records had be destroyed in another hurricane. Perhaps her could have found her owners if they had registered the chip.

    • Ingrid
      February 3, 2014 at 3:40 pm (4 years ago)

      That’s one of the problems I highlight in the article, Tricia: chips can only work as well as the information that cat guardians provide and keep updated.

  20. Bernie
    February 3, 2014 at 4:36 am (4 years ago)

    Even tho none of my6 4 go out they are chipped.
    Definitely chip your babies.


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