How much does it cost to microchip a cat?
Ashburn, VA

How much does it cost to microchip a cat?

Ashburn, VA

How much does it cost to microchip a cat?

$20 – $60average cost to microchip a cat

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$20 – $60 average cost to microchip a cat


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Tara Farmer
Written by
Tara Farmer
Edited by
Jennifer Carlson
Fact-checked by
Kristen Cramer

Average cost to microchip a cat

The average cost to microchip a cat is $20 to $60 total for the microchip itself and the implantation procedure, though prices range from free to $100+. The cost to get a cat microchipped depends on the type of clinic you choose and whether the visit includes a physical exam or other veterinary services.

Average cost to have a cat microchipped
National Average Cost $40
Minimum Cost $0
Maximum Cost $110
Average Range $20 to $60

  • Statistics show 1 in 3 pets will go missing at least once in their lifetime.

  • Microchipped cats are 20 times more likely to be returned to their owners than those without identification. Only 2% of lost cats without a microchip or identification are reunited with their owners.

  • If you’re traveling out of the US with your cat, their microchip must be ISO compliant so scanners abroad can detect it.

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What is a microchip for cats?

A microchip for cats is a tiny transponder implanted under the cat's skin, typically between the shoulder blades. It contains a unique identification number that can be read by a scanner, allowing vets, shelters, and animal control centers to identify the cat and get the owner's contact information from an online registry.

There are two parts to microchipping a cat, and both are crucial to its effectiveness if your cat ever goes missing:

Implanting the microchip

The microchip implantation procedure is simple, safe, and relatively painless for your kitty. Veterinarians typically use a thin needle, similar to those used for vaccinations. No local anesthetic is needed, and most cats experience only brief, mild discomfort, comparable to a routine vaccination.

Once implanted, the microchip acts as a permanent internal ID tag for your feline companion.

Registering the microchip

Once your cat is microchipped, it's essential to register the microchip with the correct contact information and keep it up to date. If someone finds your lost cat, the microchip will only help reunite you if the contact information on file is correct.

The vet may handle the initial microchip registration for you, or you may need to register it yourself after the procedure. While some microchip manufacturers charge a one-time registration fee or an annual subscription fee, you can register any pet microchip for free through FreePetChipRegistry and 24Petwatch.

A veterinarian checking the microchip in a cat
A veterinarian checking the microchip in a cat

Factors that impact the cost to microchip a cat

While the cost of microchipping a cat is generally affordable, several factors can influence the final price you'll pay, including:

  • Location: The cost of living in your area may impact the prices vets and clinics charge to microchip a cat.

  • Facility type: In most cases, a non-profit organization or low-cost clinic charges less for microchipping than a private veterinary practice.

  • Registration: Some clinics include microchip registration in their procedure cost, while others require you to register it yourself afterward. If you adopt a cat from a shelter or rescue organization, they may or may not include microchipping and registration in the adoption fee.

  • Exam fee: Depending on the location, the microchip procedure cost may or may not include an exam fee. The average cost of a vet visit is $40 to $80 for the office visit and a physical exam.

  • Additional services: Some clinics may give the option to bundle the microchip procedure with other services, which can impact the overall cost.

Does pet insurance cover microchipping for cats?

Most standard pet insurance policies don’t cover microchipping cost, but many insurers offer add-on “wellness plan” coverage that may include this procedure and other preventative care. Check with your insurance provider to determine if, and to what extent, microchipping your cat is covered.

Adding wellness coverage typically increases your monthly pet insurance cost by $10 to $25+.

How to tell if a cat is microchipped

To check if a cat is microchipped, take them to a veterinary clinic, shelter, or pet store with a microchip scanner. These scanners can detect implanted microchips, usually in the shoulder area, and display the unique ID number to access owner contact information.

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FAQs about microchipping a cat

Can I track my cat with a microchip?

No, you cannot track your cat with a microchip. Pet microchips use radio frequency identification (RFID) technology to transmit the microchip’s ID number when scanned. They do not have GPS tracking capabilities. Consider investing in a separate GPS tracking collar if you’d like to track your cat’s whereabouts.

Does microchipping a cat hurt?

The microchip implantation procedure for cats is minimally invasive and most cats experience only minor, momentary discomfort. When the vet implants the microchip, the pain level is similar to if they were getting a routine vaccination.

Does my cat need a collar if it’s microchipped?

Yes, even if your cat is microchipped, vets still recommend having your cat wear a collar and ID tag. Collars and tags can provide immediate identification if someone finds your cat, while the microchip serves as a permanent form of identification that cannot be lost or removed.

At what age should a cat be microchipped?

Many veterinarians recommend microchipping cats as early as 8 weeks old. However, some vets suggest waiting until the kitten reaches 12 weeks, to ensure proper implantation and reduce the chance of the microchip migrating away from the initial implant site.

How long does a microchip last in a cat?

Microchips are designed to last your cat’s lifetime without needing maintenance or replacement. Some microchips may migrate after implantation, but this movement should not negatively affect the cat or the microchip. If you’re concerned, ask your vet to scan the microchip at your next visit to confirm it’s functioning properly.

Does a cat have to be microchipped?

While the UK requires microchipping for all pets, there are no federal laws like this in the US. However, some states and cities mandate it, so check your local regulations. Even if your city and state don’t require it, consider microchipping your cat to reduce the risk of losing them forever should they go missing.

  • Hawaii became the first state to require owners to microchip their cats in 2021.

  • Several cities across the country now require cat owners to microchip their furry companions, with Los Vegas scheduled to join them in August 2024.

Where can I get my cat microchipped?

You can have your cat microchipped at a veterinarian near you, an animal shelter, or a non-profit organization that offers microchipping services.

Questions to ask when having your cat microchipped

Microchipping your cat is an affordable procedure that can greatly increase the chance you’ll be reunited with your kitty if they ever get lost. When scheduling your cat's microchipping appointment, ask the following questions:

  • What type of microchip do you implant, and does it comply with ISO standards?

  • Do you include registration in the microchipping fee?

  • Do I need to register the microchip after the procedure? If so, what registry do you recommend?

  • Will you scan the microchip after the procedure to make sure it is working properly?

  • Are there any aftercare instructions I should follow to prevent complications?

  • How do I update the microchip if my contact information changes in the future?


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