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Published: Mar 05, 2024 6 min read

A lost pet is a fear of nearly every pet owner. Unfortunately, it’s a true risk; the Animal Humane Society says an estimated one in three pets in the U.S. will go missing in their lifetime.

However, microchipping your cat can significantly increase the chances of being reunited with them if they do go missing. It can save your cat’s life and keep them out of the shelter.

Keep reading to learn more about microchip costs, how microchips work and their benefits.

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Approximate cost of microchipping a cat

Microchip implantation is typically a low-cost procedure costing between $25 and $70.

After that, you must register the microchip, which is sometimes included in the cost but not always. During the registration, you will input your information. This is necessary so someone can contact you if they find your cat.

If your microchip manufacturer doesn’t offer free registration, it typically costs around $20. Some companies also offer yearly memberships with extra benefits for an added cost.

Is microchipping covered by pet insurance?

A pet microchip is considered routine pet care. Therefore, traditional pet insurance typically doesn’t cover the cost. However, many of the best pet insurance companies offer wellness plans that do.

A pet wellness plan covers routine and preventative care, such as annual checkups, vaccines, routine dental cleanings, spay and neuter procedures and more.

What is a pet microchip?

A pet microchip is a tiny electronic chip that a veterinarian injects under your pet’s skin, typically between their shoulder blades. It’s about the size of a grain of rice. Microchip implantation feels like an ordinary injection, and your pet will not notice the microchip is there.

The microchip contains a unique identification number. If your pet is lost, they can be brought to a veterinary clinic or police station and scanned. A small scanner is held above your pet’s skin and moved along their body. The scanner uses radio frequency identification technology (RFID) to trigger the chip and get the ID number.

Using microchip registration databases, the veterinarian or police officer who scanned your pet can find your contact information. It’s important to know that microchips are not GPS devices, so you cannot track your pet.

What are the benefits of microchipping my cat?

Microchips are extremely helpful in identifying lost pets and reuniting them with their owners. Many cat owners may not think it’s essential, especially if they have an indoor cat. However, even indoor cats can get out of your house and go missing. Microchipping your cat is a low-risk procedure with great reward and peace of mind.

While a microchip doesn’t guarantee your pet will return home, it greatly increases the chance. According to a study from the Journal of the American Veterinary Medical Association (AVMA), only about 2% of lost cats without microchips were reunited with their owners. In comparison, nearly 40% of those with microchips were reunited.

Pet owners should still get identification tags to put on their pet’s collar because that is the quickest way to find a lost pet’s owner. However, microchips — in addition to ID tags — are essential if your pet loses their collar or isn’t wearing it.

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Microchip registration

Registering your cat’s microchip and keeping the information up-to-date is equally as important as getting your cat microchipped in the first place. If your cat goes missing and their microchip doesn’t have the correct information, you may not be reunited with them.

When your cat gets a microchip, you’ll receive information about its manufacturer and how to register it online.

Though there are many manufacturers, some of the common ones include:

  • 24Petwatch
  • Home Again
  • Free Pet Chip Registry
  • SmartTag Microchip
  • PetLink
  • Life Chip
  • Avid Identification Systems, Inc.
  • AKC Reunite
  • Pet Key

If you need help finding the manufacturer, ask your vet for the microchip ID number and use the American Animal Hospital Association’s (AAHA) universal pet microchip registry lookup.

Always ensure the microchip registry is up-to-date with personal information changes, including if you move or change your phone number.

When your pet visits the vet for their annual checkup, ask the veterinarian to scan their microchip to ensure it’s working correctly. The microchip could move, causing it not to scan. Or there could be another issue. The AVMA says these and other adverse reactions are uncommon but still possible, so it’s best to ensure it works.

Cost to microchip a cat FAQs

Is it worth microchipping your cat?

It’s worth it to microchip your cat, even if they do not go outdoors. It’s still possible for them to go missing, and a microchip increases your chances of being reunited with them. You can ask your veterinarian about the microchip implantation process before moving forward.

Can I get my cat chipped for free?

Cats in animal shelters typically get a microchip before they are adopted, so adopters don’t pay extra for the cost. It may be included in the adoption fee.

If your cat doesn’t have a microchip, it typically costs between $25 and $70 to get at the vet. However, you may be covered for the cost of microchip implantation at your vet if you have a pet wellness plan.

How long do microchips last in cats?

Microchips are permanent and usually last for your cat’s entire life. When you take your cat to the vet for their annual wellness exam, you can ask the veterinarian or technician to scan your cat’s microchip to ensure it works properly.

Summary of Money’s guide to how much it costs to microchip a cat

Microchips are small electronic chips placed under your cat’s skin. They have a unique ID number that helps identify them. When you register your cat’s microchip, you provide information that can help someone contact you if they find your pet.

The average cost of a cat microchip is between $25 and $70. A pet wellness plan may cover the cost but isn’t covered by traditional pet insurance. Additionally, while some pet microchip companies offer free registration, others charge around $20 or more and may offer optional annual plans for additional benefits.

Always make sure to keep your personal information up-to-date on the microchip registry.

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