What is microchipping and how does it work? A microchip is a small implant, about the size of a grain of rice. It is inserted under the skin on the back of a cat’s neck via a syringe. This simple procedure can be done at your local vet clinic and is very quick and safe. Each microchip has a unique number, much like a barcode. The number is recorded in the New Zealand Companion Animal Register (NZCAR) along with your contact details and your cat’s information. This is a national database that can be accessed anywhere in the country at any time. Your vet will register your cat at the time of the microchipping, as well as adding your details to the vet’s own database. If your cat goes missing and is found, the microchip can be scanned by vet clinics, the SPCA, shelters, and some rescue organisations. This enables them to identify your cat and return them to you.
Why should I microchip my cat? Microchipping is highly recommended by vets. It significantly increases the chance of finding your cat if they go missing. Over 80% of microchipped cats are found and reunited with their human carers. It is a safe, permanent method of identification. Unlike collars with name tags, microchips cannot be damaged or become separated from your cat.
How much does it cost? It costs around $45-$80 depending on the vet. If your cat is already at the vet for another procedure, it could be even cheaper to get it done at the same time. This cost should include the one-off fee of $15 to register your cat on the NZCAR database. The microchip and registration will last your cat’s lifetime. Occasionally, local rescue organisations or the SPCA run discounted microchipping campaigns.
Is there anything else I need to know? Just remember to update your details if you move or if there has been a change in your cat’s guardianship. As long as you provide an email address at the time of registration, you can do this for free online on the NZ Companion Animal Register website.
Quick Facts on Microchipping
•Microchipping does not hurt nor harm your animal’s health
•The microchip is approximately the size of a grain of rice
•The microchip lasts the lifetime of your animal
•Each chip has a number and when an animal is microchipped, the guardian’s details are recorded against that number onto the NZCAR database.
•Vet clinics, Rescue Organisations and SPCAs have access to the New Zealand Companion Animal Register
•If your animal is lost and taken into a vet clinic or SPCA, it can be reunited with you within just minutes or hours of it being found
•Microchipping can be used as legal identification if an animal’s guardianship is in dispute
•Microchipping can help with legal identification in case your animal is stolen
•Animal microchips do not include GPS (Global Positioning System)