How Much Does Cat Microchipping Cost?

Written by: Staff

Cat microchipping inserts a tiny chip into the skin between the shoulder blades of the cat, and this can either be done by the cat owner after adoption, or in some cases, the adoption/breeder may have already performed the procedure.

This chip contains necessary data about the cat that will automatically link the cat to its home and owner.  In case the cat is lost, the vet will then scan the chip to reveal the identity of the owner as well as other important information about the person; this will make the returning process very easy.

cat by Sean MacEntee, on Flickr
cat” (CC BY 2.0) by Sean MacEntee

How much does a cat microchip cost?

The average price for microchipping is $25 to $65 and is often performed by a vet or even the local Humane Society. claims the procedure will cost about $50, but if you were going to have it done with other things, such as a routine checkup, the costs could be less.

The Central California SPCA, for instance, charges $30 and offers low-cost days on Wednesday for only $25.

Cat microchipping overview

The microchip itself, which is smaller than a grain of rice, will be implanted under the cat’s skin.  This little chip can then be scanned by a special scanner to receive all the information that a vet or shelter need to know about the animal such as the owner’s name and contact information.

During the procedure, the vet will insert a tiny needle to inject this tiny chip in between the shoulder blades.  The process takes less than 30 seconds and will be considered a permanent procedure.  Once the chip has been implanted, the animal will be stored in the national database once you register it, and the cat owner will receive various paperwork on how to recover in case the cat does get lost.  Even if the vet files the paperwork, follow up with the company to make sure your cat is in the database.  Any time information changes in the future, always make sure you contact the company to update your information.

Most offices will want to wait until the cat is at least five weeks old before implanting the chip.

What are the extra costs?

If the microchip does not work for some reason, or if you need to change some of the data that has been encoded, this may be an extra cost.

Depending on the company, there may be a small registration fee to register your cat in the database.

Tips to know:

If a cat does get lost, a local shelter or vet will be able to check the animal to see if it does have a microchip.  If it does, a unique identification number should show up.  Once that number has been retrieved, it will be matched to the database.

Animal Planet notes 38 percent of all cats that were microchipped were successfully returned to their owner if found at a shelter.

With any procedure, risks are always in question, but with microchipping, it’s extremely rare.  Complications may include a tumor developing at the site or a minor pinch of pain when the needle breaks the skin.  Again, with millions upon millions of this procedure being done, it’s very rare a problem is found.

Some people think this chip works like a GPS, but this isn’t the case.  When your cat is found, that owner will have to take it to a place, such as a vet, that has the special scanning equipment.  As long as your information is up to date in the database, the office will be able to contact you.  However, not all scanners will pick up all microchips since there are different brands out there.  While some universal scanners may claim to work with all chips, this isn’t always the case, so even if the shelter and/or vet office can’t find the chip, it doesn’t hurt to get a second opinion.

There are several brands on the market, so it’s important to talk with your vet to see how common this chip is used.  Before you have the chip inserted, talk with a few shelters to see which brand they recommend.  Since there’s a good chance your cat would be taken to this shelter if he or she ran away, it would increase the chances of the scanner picking up the chip.

A microchip search can be performed for free at Free Pet Chip Registry.

Cat microchip companies



Bayer ResQ(R)

Digital Angel



Microchip ID Systems

M4S ID/PetIDGreen




Save This Life

How can I save money?

Some vet offices may be able to package a microchip into a deal.  For example, his could include the first set of vaccinations and other medical tests.  A lot of pet owners, for example, get the procedure done when they get their cat either spayed or neutered.

Most vet offices will be happy to offer you a quote over the phone or even list it on their website.  Call around and talk to at least three places before deciding on one.

Microchips won’t guarantee you can find your pet, so it’s important to add a collar as well with important contact information.  You can’t always assume people know about microchips and may give away your cat or even keep it yourself; you never know.  If they see the collar with a phone number on it, there’s a good chance they will try to call it first before making an attempt to get rid of it.

Some shelters may offer low-cost microchipping events held throughout the year.  Visit the official website or even contact them to see if any events are coming.

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