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How Do I Find a Lost Cat with a Microchip? Useful Tips & FAQ

Losing your cat is a situation no one wants to go through. You might have lived with the cat for years, so losing them can affect you emotionally. Since cats are territorial in nature, their disappearance would mean that they are trapped, injured, or even deceased in their territory.

There are also chances that your cat may have been moved out of your area. Regardless of the reason, the most important thing is to know how to track and get it back.

Many pet owners have their cats or dogs microchipped. With a microchip, it’s easy for the person who finds the cat to contact the owner. Before looking at how you can find the cat with a microchip, let’s look at how a microchip in a cat works.

divider-catclaw1 How Microchipping Works In Your Cat

A cat microchip refers to a permanent ID tag implanted under your pet’s skin. The process of implanting the microchip is painless, so there is no need to fear for your lovely cat. A unique ID number is given to your cat to give it an official status. This also certifies that the cat you possess is indeed yours.

If there is a dispute or someone wants to adopt your cat without your consent, it cannot happen. The identification number also helps to find your details in the event your cat gets lost. When your cat is found, the animal wardens or vets identify the cat and read the details in the microchip. From there, they contact you that your cat has been found. So, if your cat is microchipped, it will be easy to find it.

Microchip implant for cat
Image Credit: Ivonne Wierink, Shutterstock

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How to Locate Your Cat with a Microchip

It is easy to locate your cat if it has a microchip, regardless of its location. You need to ascertain without a doubt that the cat is yours by having the unique ID number of your cat’s microchip. The other most crucial thing is to ensure that you have updated your contact details to match those in the cat’s microchip. This is necessary because these are the details used to contact you when your cat is found.

There are two ways you can locate your cat with a microchip. One is finding the cat with its microchip, while the other is implanting a microchip and registering your cat. Let’s look at the two methods in detail.

Finding the Cat with Its Microchip

  • Enter Your Cat’s Chip Serial Number: Start by entering your cat’s microchip identification number into the chip registry. Ensure that your cat’s microchip is already in the registry. The chip manufacturer can have their own registry, or you have the option to register in the universal registry. There are different universal tracking sites that you can use, but make sure you select the best. If you lost the number, you can call the cat clinic that implanted the chip to find out if they have the record.
  • Wait for a Call: After your cat’s microchip is scanned, you can now wait for a call. It may be hard for you to wait when you have lost your lovely pet, but the scanning must be completed for your cat to be located. If your cat is found and taken to a shelter or a vet, they scan the pet to find out if it has a chip. They will check the contact details and contact you regarding your found cat. It is essential to find out whether the cat had a microchip before you bought it. This is necessary because most shelters install microchips in all pets. If your cat gets lost, contact the shelter because if it has a chip, it is them who will be contacted when the cat gets found. Let them understand that you want the cat back and keep checking with them to find out if it has been found.
cat microchip getting scanned at vet
Image Credit: Lucky Business, Shutterstock

Installing Microchip and Registering Your Cat

  • Insert Cat’s Microchip: Consult your vet to install a microchip into your cat during the routine office visit. It’s easy to insert using a needle, and no anesthesia is required. Depending on your cat’s health and other factors, your vet can decide whether it is right to insert the chip into your cat or not. The chip is inserted between your cat’s shoulder blades. It should also be implanted where a scanner can detect it.
  • Get an Activation ID: After insertion, your vet gives you an ID to allow you to register the chip. The vet should provide you with the activation code. You also get a phone number to call to complete the registration. If you forget any of the information provided, you can always ask your vet. Never leave your vet office before getting the ID since this is the most crucial information needed when your cat gets lost.
  • Register the Microchip: Your chip will never help until you register it. If you don’t complete the registration, no details will appear when the microchip is scanned. Some of the information needed during the registration includes contact information, microchip number, and pet details, such as color, age, breed, and gender. Note that you should register your cat’s chip with the microchip manufacturer. You can do the registration online. Some registries also require you to give your cat’s health details such as surgeries and vaccinations.
  • Update Your Contact Details: The microchip will only work if you have your contact details updated. Otherwise, shelters or vets will have no way to locate you when your cat is found. To modify the details, you should contact the chip manufacturer to give them the new details. Provide them with your cat chip ID and provide the details that need to be changed. Note that you should only update the details if your contact details change or the cat changes ownership. You can do the update online.

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Things to Remember

You cannot locate a cat with its microchip because it doesn’t work as a GPS tracker. The major role of microchips is to give immediate identification of your cat. Although the chips cannot be used to track your cat, they can help someone identify the pet.

Cat behaviors differ, so you can easily determine if it ventured into other territories or hiding somewhere depending on your cats’ personality. Even if the cat is an indoor pet, a microchip is still a good idea in case the cat decides to escape.

man hugging a cat
Image Credit: Pixabay

How to Prevent Your Cat from Getting Lost

Losing a cat can be such an awful experience. Even if you can locate the cat with a microchip, it is also advisable to apply the best practices to prevent it from getting lost. Here are a few tips to help.

  • Always keep the cat on a leash when having a walk with it. Ensure it has identification tags.
  • Supervise the cat when outside.
  • Neuter or spay your cat to minimize the urge to move.
  • Microchip your cat to increase the chances of finding it when lost

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Locating a lost cat with a microchip is easy, but note that you only get the cat when someone who can read the microchip finds it.

However, it is necessary to ensure that your cat has a chip since it makes the process of finding it easy for you. As already mentioned, the most crucial thing is to ensure that you provide the correct contact information to get notified when your lost cat is found.

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Featured Image Credit: IRINA ORLOVA, Shutterstock