In Singapore, we know that the Agri-Food and Veterinary (AVA) mandates microchipping for dogs only. But should you also microchip your cat?
What is microchipping?
A microchip is a very small device about the size of a single grain of rice that is implanted under a pet’s skin between its shoulder blades. It contains a unique 15-digit number which a microchip scanner can identify and be tracked back to the owner.
Should you microchip your cat even if it’s not compulsory?
Say, your cat goes missing (touch wood!) and you place a call at SPCA and find out that your cat has turned up there. As you are about to be reunited with your feline friend, turns out there’s someone else already there who is claiming to be the owner. His cat shares a close resemblance to yours — from its black tipped ear and heart-shaped nose down to its striped tail. Now, how do you go about proving your ownership?
The most foolproof way is to have your cat microchipped way before such an incident could occur. Microchipping your cat provides a permanent form of identification which ensures that your pet’s identification is never lost, stolen or removed.
Even if your cat stays indoors, there’s a possibility that he/she might accidentally slip out of the house unchecked so it’s always a good idea to have it microchipped. Microchipping your cat would definitely be a good step forward in responsible pet ownership.
Where to get your cat microchipped
You could take your cat to your preferred veterinary or a nearby one to get him/her microchipped. Microchipping typically costs between $50 and $90 in Singapore.
Some vets would say that inserting the microchip would not cause your cat any more pain or discomfort than receiving a vaccination. However, other vets may prefer to use local anesthesia when inserting the microchip. Regardless, it is still best to consult your vet about the necessity of anesthesia for your cat before the procedure.
When should your cat be microchipped
Although the insertion of a microchip is non-invasive and usually does not require anesthesia, kittens younger than five weeks old are advised against microchipping. Young kittens are still extremely fragile and it’s best to wait until the kitten is at least eight weeks old or at least 900g.
How to register your cat’s microchip
You’ve successfully microchipped your cat. Now what?
It’s imperative that you register the microchip that your cat is now equipped with. This microchip contains a 15-digit number that is unique to your cat and a phone number that belongs to the registry that owns the microchip. In the event that your cat goes missing and is found and brought to a vet or a shelter, your cat will be scanned with a microchip reader. The reader will reveal information that will help them reach out to the microchip company and retrieve your contact details.
Again, it is very important that you register the microchip because it is the only way that you can be contacted when your cat has been found.
Here is how you may register your cat’s microchip online:
a. Register with AVA
This is government-associated and is pretty new. Upon registering your cat’s microchip, you can perform a microchip search which will let you know if your microchip has been registered.
- Register your cat’s microchip with this link: https://ifast.ava.gov.sg/eserviceweb/.
- If you’re a Singpass User, log in with your Singpass account. For non-Singpass users, create a new account by clicking on “Request New Account”
- Once you’ve signed in, click on “Microchip Submission (For Individual)” under “Microchip/Tag Data Submission” menu in the sidebar on the left
- Fill in the necessary information and submit
b. Register with Free Pet Chip Registry
Registering your cat’s microchip at Free Pet Chip Registry is pretty straightforward. Simply create an account and register your cat by submitting his/her microchip ID number.
Free Pet Chip Registry is easy to use and allows you to register multiple pets to your account. They also have a strict Non-Solicitation Policy and guarantees that your information will not be sold to any third parties. Besides, you don’t need to pay to update your contact information!
c. Register with Singapore Animal Registry
Singapore Animal Registry is a local database that helps to facilitate the reunion of owners and their lost pets in the most efficient way possible. The website allows you to register your cat’s microchip as well as to submit the microchip of a lost pet that you may have found.
Simply sign up for an account on Singapore Animal Registry and then register your cat.
There’s also the option of purchasing a PetTrack tag for $25 that allows anyone who finds your lost cat to be able to contact you immediately. These tags each have a QR code that when scanned using a QR code reader on your smartphone, will load the profile of the lost pet owner. Concurrently, an SMS and email with the exact GPS location of the scan will be sent to the owner.
This eliminates the long process of having to take a lost pet to a vet or shelter, then having their microchip scanned and then contacting the microchip company for your personal details before finally getting a hold of you.
How to locate your cat if he/she goes missing
It’s important to understand that a microchip does not act as a GPS to pinpoint the exact location of your cat. It is more of a permanent identification of your cat.
When your cat has been found and brought to a shelter or a vet, he/she will be scanned for a microchip. Upon retrieving your contact details from the microchip registry company, you will be contacted.
Undoubtedly, it would be very difficult to sit still and patiently wait for a call that may take weeks or even months to arrive.
What you can do in the meantime is to put up posters with your contact details and pictures of your cat in the area. You could also give the vets and shelters in your area a call to let them know that you have lost a cat so that they might be able to keep a lookout for you as well.
Putting up a picture, a description of your cat and his/her last known location on social media platforms such as Facebook and Instagram along with his/his last known location can also help people in your area keep a lookout for your cat.
Other things to note
- Microchips do not need to be changed or replaced. They can last for the duration of your pet’s life.
- Microchips can sometimes travel to another part of your cat’s body. It’s best to ask your vet to scan for the chip at least once each year to ensure that it is still where it was supposed to be.
Using collars/ID tags too?
The microchip, while providing your cat with a permanent form of identification, is not a replacement of your cat’s collar/ID tag. A microchip, when used together with a collar/ID tag, can help to simplify and speed up the identification process. Ensure that your cat’s collar or ID tag always has the most updated information to increase your chances of your cat being returned to you.
Here are some collars and ID tags that we recommend:
If you’re about to be a cat-parent for the very first time and are wondering how to prepare for the arrival of a new cat, read our essential checklist for the new cat owner.
Featured Image Source: Pexels | Matheus Guimarães
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