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5 Side Effects of Microchipping Your Cat – What You Should Know!

Written by: Christian Adams

Last Updated on January 8, 2024 by Catster Editorial Team

Microchip implant for cat

5 Side Effects of Microchipping Your Cat – What You Should Know!

These days, microchipping pets is commonplace and convenient. One of the risks of owning pets is that they can get lost, stolen, or otherwise escape from you. Before microchipping, you had to search and hope for the best.

With the help of modern technology, some of those worries can fall by the wayside. But what about the side effects? Are there any? With any change to the body, there are some things you should be aware of. So, let’s talk about five things that can happen when you microchip your cat.

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The 5 Side Effects of Microchipping Your Cat

1. The Microchip May Migrate

Maine coon cat having its paw bandaged
Image Credit: Ermolaev Alexander, Shutterstock

One of the main concerns of microchipping is its potential to migrate to another part of the body. If it does, the chip usually moves from the original site of implantation. It can wind up in other places, but it most commonly moves down the cat’s leg.

While it doesn’t pose much of a hazard to health, it can make it very difficult to find. If your pet is lost, a vet or shelter worker may not detect the chip. Once your pet is mistaken for a stray, a shelter could rehome them before you can find them.

In some shelters, they can be euthanized if no owner shows up to claim them.

2. Possibility of Localized Infection

cat with bandage on leg
Image Credit: Suptar, Shutterstock

As with any injection, a localized infection is possible. Sometimes, within the first few days after microchipping, you may notice inflammation around the area. While this is rare, it can happen.

Symptoms of an infection include:
  • Pus
  • Oozing
  • Drainage
  • Redness
  • Swelling

According to the BSAVA chart, this accounts for a tiny number of cases. If you notice any of those issues, it’s best to contact your vet to address the situation further.

3. Improper Placement of the Chip

Microchiping sphinx cat in vet clinic
Image Credit: Evgeniy Kalinovskiy, Shutterstock

The technician can insert the chip incorrectly. Microchips are implanted between the shoulder blades of an animal. If a human error occurs, they could plant the chip too far into the fat. Injecting the chip too far makes it hard for the scanner to pick up the frequency.

Alternatively, a chip can come out if it’s improperly inserted. Microchips are about the size of a grain of rice. So, if the person administering the chip inserts it too shallow, it may come out within the first 2 days. This is uncommon, but it can happen.

4. Microchips Could Malfunction

cat microchip getting scanned at vet
Image By: Lucky Business, Shutterstock

As with any other form of technology, microchips may not work effectively. Whether there is a chip or scanner failure, it may not register how it should. When you take your cat for checkups, you can request that your vet test the chip to see if it works.

If the chip has malfunctioned, your vet can remove and replace it with a working one. Most practices will scan the chip for you free of charge. It’s best to test this occasionally to avoid being unpleasantly surprised later.

5. Poses Risk of Cancer

Sick cat medicines _one photo_shutterstock
Image Credit: one photo, Shutterstock

While rare, there is a possibility of cancer developing close to the microchip. It’s important to note that this can happen with any injection, and it doesn’t apply to microchipping only. It can also occur if the skin is damaged, bruised, or traumatized.

There have been studies done on the subject. Researchers believe there to be reasonable proof that post-injection sarcomas can develop near the microchip. This is called a fibrosarcoma tumor, but there haven’t been enough documented cases to reach a definitive answer yet.

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To Microchip or Not to Microchip

Now that you know the side effects of microchipping your cat, you must also understand the benefits. Microchips allow animal professionals to track down an owner when they are lost. The microchip contains the brand or company’s registration number and phone number.

With a scanner, these chips display the information so a vet clinic or animal shelter can determine which company manufactured the chip. Each company has a registry showing the last known address and phone number associated with the chip.

A microchip is not a GPS, meaning it does not track your pet, but it can help your cat come home faster if they wind up at a vet clinic or shelter. Annually, over 10 million dogs and cats become homeless. With the advancements in microchipping, these numbers are beginning to decrease dramatically.

The risks of microchipping are incredibly low, and they work very well to reunite beloved pets with their families. Many cat owners would agree that having the peace of mind of the microchip is worth any side effects.

Additional Tip

The microchip links contact information for a current owner. If you don’t keep up with your address and phone number, no one can contact you about your missing cat unless your pet has tags.

Remember that microchips are not a substitute for pet tags. However, if your pet is lost at some point with no identification, it is a wonderful backup.

Some companies may charge a fee if your contact information changes, but it’s never much. It’s a small price to pay for the well-being of your cat.

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Final Thoughts

If you are still swaying between the positives and negatives of microchipping, consider speaking to your veterinarian for further advice. They can address your concerns directly and give beneficial information about the technicalities.

In any case, microchipping your cat can alleviate a lot of stress. You won’t have to worry about losing your pet indefinitely if they wander away. A microchip may be the saving grace that reunites you with your cat one day.

See Also:

Featured Image Credit: Ivonne Wierink, Shutterstock

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