Cat Microchip Side Effects

Cat Microchip Side Effects

Cats are inquisitive and even if they are contented just hang around your home they may also tend to sneak outside and do a little exploring and hunting. There is a great risk your cat may wander off and get lost especially if you’re living in an urban area. Microchipping your cat is a good option to prevent this from happening.

There may, however, be some side effects to cat microchips, although that is relatively rare.

What are the the cat microchip side effects?

While microchipping your pet cat may be a great help in recovering her it also has its downsides. Here are some known cat microchip side effects that you should be aware of:

1. The microchip may move

There’s a tendency for cat’s microchips to move under the skin from its original location to another part of the cat’s body. Often, chips may even move towards the cat’s leg and an RFID scanner may not be able to locate it. 

2. Microchipping your cat may result in an infection

Cats can be microchipped by the time that they’re around 8 weeks old and once they’re already weaned from their mother. However, you should be aware that this is a delicate procedure that may result in skin infections. Your cat may develop swollen sores because of an improperly placed microchip. 

3. An improperly placed microchip may cause neurological symptoms and other health issues

There are cases where microchips placed too close to the spine caused temporary paralysis while forceful injections may cause limb weakness and labored breathing as reported by The American Veterinary Medical Association or AVMA. 

4. There is a tendency that a microchip may malfunction

Just like most technology, microchips are also prone to malfunctions and some shelters and vets are unable to read each frequency due to expensive RFID scanners. 

5. Some microchips tend to be missed or can’t be located

Even though a microchip may be functioning well it can still be missed or can’t be located by scanners due to long or matted hair, the chip may be enclosed in too much fat, due to a metal collar, the cat is squirming,  or if the chip has moved or migrated to an undetected part of the cat’s body. 

7. There may be medical side effects because of microchipping your cat

There are reported minor cases of side effects among pets that were microchipped while some cats have reportedly developed cancer on the site of the microchip injection.  However, studies reveal that any injection can potentially cause cancer called fibrosarcomas. It’s usually associated with feline leukemia vaccines as well as steroids. To clarify, the probability of microchip-related cancers is relatively low although ongoing research is still looking into such cases.

An improperly placed microchip may cause neurological symptoms and other health issues
Image: / monkeybusinessimages


Microchips that were injected too deeply can not be detected by a scanner, thus, it should only be done by a trusted professional. While the procedure only happens in a matter of seconds and comparable to a blood draw, aggressive and squirmy cats may still be sedated so the chip may be implanted properly.  Most importantly, proper registration of your cat’s microchip should be done so that it’s easily scanned by any shelter or a vet’s clinic.  

What is a microchip and how does it work?

A microchip is a small chip that contains relevant information about you, the cat’s owner, should your kitty wander off and get lost. It’s about the size of a grain of rice and its dimension is more or less 12mm by 2 mm. It takes just mere seconds to inject, which should only be performed by a professional such as your veterinarian.

The microchip works through the use of radiofrequency waves and this radiofrequency identification device (RFID) is scanned using an RFID scanner to extract the information from the chip. It usually costs around $40 to $50 and most vets provide package deals that may include other necessary costs like registration. 

Microchips are implanted with the use of a hypodermic needle underneath the cat’s skin just between the shoulders. Your cat does not have to be sedated because it only takes seconds to do the implant. It has a unique code that’s registered in a database and it can be easily scanned in a shelter or vet’s office assuming that the person who found your pet brought her in the said place. However, it will only work if you’ve registered the microchip ID with the manufacturer although most veterinary clinics now take care of the registration process for a certain fee. 

Why is there a need to microchip a cat?

Microchips are a big help in helping to reunite pet owners with their lost pet cats so long as the chip is in good condition and it’s easily scanned. 

Why is there a need to microchip a cat
Image: / Kalinovskiy

Here are the reasons why there’s a need to microchip a cat:

It can help locate pets in case of emergencies.

Having a  microchip on your pet cat means there’s more probability that she’ll be reunited with you in cases of emergencies like a fire, typhoon, and other natural calamities. Also, shelters can return pet cats to their rightful pet parents more quickly with the help of their microchips.  

It can help track down your pet cat should it be stolen. 

If your pet cat has been microchipped she can be easily tracked down should she be stolen or taken away from you through the help of the database.  It’s important to register your pet’s microchip so that you’ll be immediately alerted should your pet becomes lost or stolen. 


As a pet parent, it would be nerve-wracking if your cat wanders off, becomes lost, or worse if she was stolen by someone. Microchipping your cat provides an extra layer of protection aside from the usual cat collars and ID tags. It can be scanned by your vet or a pet shelter and there’s a higher chance that you’ll be reunited with your pet cat as long as the chip is properly registered and the data is updated at least annually.