Rescuing and adopting cats in Hamilton

Why & how should I microchip my cat?

What a microchip does is greatly increase the odds that a lost cat will make it safely back home.

Your cat needs one because every cat (even an indoor one) is at risk of getting lost and ending up "a stray." An open door, an unlatched gate or a small distraction and your cat can go missing. Collars come off and cats are notorious for losing them.

A microchip is a simple and effective technology - just a tiny computer chip into which is programmed a file #. Routinely, when a found cat is taken to a vet office, lands at a city shelter or is taken in by a rescue group, the cat is scanned for a chip. The # is then used to retrieve the owner's contact info from a database (that can be accessed 24/7), the owner is contacted and a "lost cat story ends happily."

Use of microchips is spreading rapidly and, because it works so well to reunite lost pets with their owners, the HBSPCA and many cat rescue groups now implant chips in all the cats they put up for adoption. So, if you've adopted from one of these organizations that includes a microchip in their adoption fee, your cat is already microchipped and all you need to do is register it to you and keep your contact info up-to-date.

If you got your cat from off the street, through a friend or from an ad posted somewhere like kijiji and you don't know whether or not your cat is microchipped, ask your vet to check or take your cat to any vet office. (Most vet offices will scan for free.)

If your cat doesn't have a chip, it's just a matter of getting one implanted (injected under the skin); it's quick and painless and, because microchips don't wear out, it's a one-time event.

Ask your vet to implant a chip next time you take your cat in for a routine visit. If you don't have a regular vet, make an appointment at a nearby vet office.

Vet offices generally list microchip implant as one of the services they offer. The cost for the service varies from clinic to clinic. In Hamilton, the average is $50 plus tax and the range is $45 to $80; so, you may want to check around. (Some vets do implants at reduced cost at the time of spay/neuter; so, if you need to get your cat "fixed", check on getting a chip at the same time.)

Another convenient way to get it done (at a lower cost) is to drop by a microchip clinic. In Hamilton, the HBSPCA offers these through their microchip program. The cost is $30 (no tax) and there's no appointment necessary. For more info and to find the date of the next microchip clinic check here.

Remember that a microchip works only if whoever scans it can find you. If you move, change phone # or get a new email address immediately update your contact info. It's a good idea as well to register a backup emergency contact - just in case. And, if your pet ever goes missing, one of the first things you should do is a quick check to be sure that all your contact info is accurately entered and up-to-date.

For more info about microchips vist the web site of the American Veterinary Medical Association