Having your furry pal run off is one of the scariest fears a pet owner has. For years, we’ve relied on tags to help us reunite with our cats when they escaped. But in recent years, microchipping has become a commonplace safety measure to ensure our cats can find their way back home.
But what exactly is a microchip, and how much does it cost? We’re going to get through all the details so you can know what to expect if you want to keep track of your cat.
What Is a Microchip?
Microchips are tiny tracking devices that emit radio frequencies that respond to special scanners. The chip is typically the size of a grain of rice that the vet inserts between your cat’s shoulder blades. The procedure is nearly painless, totally safe—and it could reunite the two of you one day.
How Microchips Work When You Lose a Pet?
If you lose your cat and someone else picks them up, they can take them to any veterinary facility or shelter. These places have scanners that detect your cat’s microchip.
Each microchip comes with a unique verification number that is specific to your cat. It takes the person to a directory that has the owner’s information.
Microchips only work if the information in the database is up to date. So, it is vital to keep all of your contact information relevant, which you can do on a given website—depending on the microchip your pet has.
If you aren’t sure which company it is, whoever scans the chip can give you that information.
How Much Does Microchipping Cost?
The total cost for a microchip implant depends on where you go and the average prices in your area. In a regular vet facility, you can expect an average of $45 for a microchip. It can be more or less, but it generally only varies by a few dollars.
However, if you adopted your cat, they probably already have a microchip. You can take them to any shelter or vet to check. They all have access to special scanners that can detect a chip.
If they already have one, you’ll have to get all of the information put into your name—not that of their previous owner. Microchip companies should all have a website with online access to create or change the microchip information.
Other Cost Factors to Consider
Even though microchipping is generally inexpensive, you can run into additional costs at the vet.
Initial Visit Fee
Some vets may charge an extra fee for the initial visit. The average cost nationwide is $50, but your personal veterinarian may charge different rates.
Additional Vet Care
If the vet discovers your cat needs any additional care while they are there, it might run you into extra costs. If they need an update on vaccines or they see they have a flea problem, your vet may tack on additional treatment costs.
Plus, going to your vet is a great way to discuss any other issues you might have noticed. A few basic things that might be quick mentions are listed below.
- Flea and Tick Prevention – $50
- Booster Shots – $80
- Dewormer – $35
If you are worried about the vet visit being more expensive, you should get in touch with local rescues or shelters. You can often arrange an appointment and pay the flat rate—opposed to paying the exam fee at your vet.
So, now we know that if you take your cat to a standard facility, you can expect to pay around $45 for a microchip implant. However, depending on your method, you may have to pay additional fees for the appointment, vaccines, or further treatment at your visit.
Even though it might seem like you accrue a high cost in your cat’s first year of life, having this security measure in combination with their regular tags is all the better.
Featured Image Credit: Ivonne Wierink, Shutterstock