A cat’s microchip can be felt, it is usually located between their shoulder blades and feels like a large grain of rice.
However, the microchip can move around under the skin and it can sometimes be difficult to locate.
This is particularly true if the cat is overweight or the microchip has moved.
If you’re ever concerned, a vet can use a scanner to locate the microchip.
What Does A Cat’s Microchip Feel Like?
The best way to describe how a cat’s microchip feels is to liken it to a large grain of rice.
The chip is hard and small, it’s so small that cats are unlikely to know it is there at all.
If you pick up a grain of rice this will give you the best idea of how the microchip feels.
The microchip is actually slightly bigger than a grain of rice but it is the same approximate shape and hardness.
To give you a better idea of the size, compared to a grain of rice, the microchip is around 30% bigger.
Standard pet microchips are 1-3cm in length and 2mm in diameter.
Where Are Microchips Usually Put In A Cat?
The microchip is positioned beneath the skin behind a cat’s neck in between their shoulder blades. This is the same for dogs too.
As the microchip is only skin deep it can be felt relatively easily once you know what you are feeling for.
Usually, the microchip will stay in the location it was inserted but sometimes it can move around slightly.
If you cannot feel the microchip, a vet will be able to use the microchip scanner to locate it.
How To Find Your Cat’s Microchip
The quickest and easiest way to locate a microchip is by using a microchip scanner.
This is what a vet uses to locate the microchip without needing to manually feel for it.
The benefit of scanning the microchip is that you can find the location of the chip, check it is scanning properly, and ensure the information on the database is up to date.
If you want to find your cat’s microchip manually just to check where it is and how it feels, follow the steps below:
1. Pick Up Or Stroke Your Cat
First, you need to get into a comfortable position where you can feel the cat’s neck without upsetting them.
If your cat is relaxed they may be happy for you to sit next to them stroking them.
However, you may find it easier to pick up your cat or place them on your lap while you stroke them.
The good thing about the microchip is that it is located behind the neck which is a common spot for giving cats scratches and attention.
This means most cats tend to be quite relaxed about receiving strokes here and they won’t be suspicious of it.
2. Gently Pinch the Skin Around Their Neck
With your cat happy with the attention, you can begin to “massage” around their neck.
What you really want to be doing here is gently pinching small areas of skin between the shoulder blades to feel for the microchip.
Be gentle and only pinch small areas of skin otherwise you could miss the microchip. Be thorough while you search.
You can easily turn this gentle pinching into what your cat will take as massaging and petting. If your cat is enjoying the attention, it makes locating the microchip in this way a lot easier.
3. Continue Until You Feel the Microchip
Now you simply need to continue feeling around for the microchip until you find it. When you find the microchip it will be very obvious.
Remember that you are feeling for something similar to a large grain of rice.
Once you feel the chip, you’ll have the reassurance that it is still there and you’ll now know the location.
Knowing where you felt it will help you find it quicker if you look for it again in the future. That’s it, you’ve found and felt your cat’s microchip.
Can’t Feel The Microchip?
If you’ve felt around behind your cat’s neck, between and around the sides of your cat’s shoulder blades and you still can’t feel the microchip, you may be worried.
There is usually nothing to worry about as the microchip may have just moved slightly but the best thing to do is take your cat to the vet so a scanner can be used to locate the chip.
This is also what you should do if you aren’t sure if the cat has been microchipped.
The scanner can be used all over your cat to find out if the cat has a microchip and where the microchip has moved to (if it has moved).
The scanner is also what a vet will use when stray or lost pets are brought in to them.
Once the chip is scanned, the scanner will display the unique identification code of the microchip.
This unique number is then used to access the microchip database where information such as the owner’s contact details can be accessed.
Can The Microchip Move?
Yes, although it doesn’t happen often. The microchip may move slightly under the skin, most often it moves down to the side of the cat’s shoulders.
If a microchip migrates from its original location it’s nothing to worry about as it is not dangerous to the cat. When the microchip moves it often moves with gravity to the shoulder area.
While the microchip can move it can’t fall out so if you can’t locate it by feeling around, use a scanner.
If the scanner doesn’t pick the microchip up it could be that the microchip has malfunctioned.
The microchip can be seen on an x-ray so when pets get x-rays it is clear to see exactly where their microchip is.
Can Your Cat Be Too Fat To Feel Their Microchip?
Yes, as the microchip is inserted in the subcutaneous layer of skin and this is where excess fat will be stored in overweight cats.
This means there is a lot happening with the subcutaneous layer and locating the microchip can be difficult.
When feeling for the microchip it can simply be missed due to the additional fat around it.
The other difficulty with locating a microchip on an overweight cat is that it can be difficult to lightly pinch areas of skin to feel for the chip.
Overweight cats have tighter skin so the pinching technique is going to be less effective.
In contrast, a microchip can often be felt just by stroking the neck area of an underweight cat.
Is It Possible For The Microchip To Come Out?
The only time the microchip might come out is immediately after it was implanted.
At this time, the chip could slip out or it may not have properly penetrated the skin meaning it didn’t make it to the correct position to begin with.
The implantation process is quick and painless, it is essentially the same as getting an injection.
After the microchip has been implanted, a vet will usually scan the area to ensure the chip is in position.
To avoid the chip coming out, it’s best not to rub or touch the area immediately after the implantation.
If the microchip has been in position for a couple of days then it is very unlikely it will come out. As mentioned, the microchip may migrate to another area under the skin.
If the vet has scanned for a microchip and nothing has been found then the cat may not have a microchip or in rare cases, the microchip may fail and be malfunctioning meaning it is not being read by the scanner.
Finding your cat’s microchip is straightforward when you know what you are feeling for.
It’s good to know what a microchip feels like and know that it can be manually felt for if needed.
It’s good practice to have your cat’s microchip scanned by the vet during visits to ensure it is still working as it should.
A microchip is only useful if the information on the database is kept up to date so don’t forget to update your contact details.