Having your cat microchipped gives you peace of mind and gives an assurance that your cat will be returned to you after it has wandered off. But have you noticed that your cat’s microchip has moved? The best thing to do is to have your vet check regularly if the chip is in place. A radiofrequency identification (RFID) scanner is used to scan the microchip but if it cannot be located or has moved, a full-body scan should be done.
A microchip usually lasts a lifetime and they do not need to be replaced. However, if it becomes cracked, damaged, or is not functioning at all, due in part because of the migration, it has to be removed.
Why does a cat’s microchip move or migrate?
A microchip is a radiofrequency identification device the size of a grain of rice that’s inserted into your cat’s skin usually between the shoulder blades. It usually should not move. What may cause it move is the activity within your cat’s body especially when muscles and tissues move across each other or when fat levels change. Microchips are usually injected in between a cat’s shoulder blades but if it is positioned high up the neck there’s a tendency for it to move from the shoulder to the leg or chest area. Also, if it’s placed too far back and not within the shoulder blades’ pockets then a microchip may migrate around the belly or even to the rear leg.
While the manner of placement is usually the culprit why a microchip moves, it may also be caused by differences in some cats tissues especially for more active cats who also tend to hang out in the outdoors.
Also, pet owners should not check the microchip all the time. Some pet owners tend to feel around the microchipped area constantly and this may increase the chances that a chip may move. It’s best to leave the area alone so the cat’s tissues can knit or embed around the chip and keep it in place.
Microchip manufacturers have recently introduced innovations to keep microchips in place by using polypropylene encasement and anti-migration caps made of perylene. However, it may cause reactions for some cats. Others use medical-grade bioglass because it’s inert and doesn’t result in tissue reactions. Usually there are no side effects resulting the microchip.
Why do cats need to be microchipped?
Cats need to be microchipped because it provides permanent identification and to make it easier to locate them should they become lost or if they’ve been separated to you because of some accident or disaster. If your cat is found by someone else they will hopefully bring it to a pet shelter where it can be scanned and be able to identify the rightful owner.
It’s worth noting that as a responsible pet owner, everything doesn’t stop at having your cat microchipped. It should be registered online in multiple pet microchip registries or the chip is almost completely useless. Usually, your vet will handle the registration process along with the microchip procedure. Your vital information should be updated should there be changes in your contact details.
Some disadvantages of having your cat microchipped may include chip migration, malfunctions, and possible health issues that could arise like skin infections. However, it also has benefits that outweigh the drawbacks. It’s not only an effective way to locate displaced or lost cats but it’s also tamper-proof, won’t wear away, and it’s permanently embedded in your pet’s skin.
It is also a big help should there be ownership disputes and you’ll have an advantage of reduced insurance premiums from your animal insurance company as well.
There is generally no reason to worry if your cat’s microchip has moved. This usually happens especially if you have an energetic cat and also depends on the manner of placement. Chip migration rarely happens but if it does it need not be a cause for alarm. However, it’s best to have a proper consultation with your vet so he can check it and do a full-body scan if necessary.