Can You Feel a Microchip in a Cat? (How to Check)

By Phil / October 2, 2019
Can You Feel a Microchip in a Cat

If you’re wondering whether or not you should get your cat microchipped – you absolutely should.

If your cat goes outdoors, there is always a chance they may go missing. Having a collar and a tag is great. But having an invisible identification chip is so much better.

Whether you want more information about microchipping your own cat, or you have a stray that you’re hoping to identify if they have a chip – here’s everything you need to know.

Can You Feel a Microchip in a Cat?

Yes, you can. It’s not always easy, and it’s possible to miss it if you don’t know what you’re looking for. But, a microchip is about the size of a long grain of rice and very hard. So, if you go grab a piece of rice, you’ll get a real feel for what you’re feeling for.

Where Are Microchips Placed in Cats?

Microchips are typically inserted just beneath the skin on the back of the neck between the shoulder blades for both cats and dogs.

The thin layers of tissue under the skin hold the chip in place. In some instances, it will move, however. This makes finding it hard by just feeling around. A vet will not struggle to locate it as they use a scanner.

How to Tell If a Cat Is Microchipped?

How to Tell If a Cat Is Microchipped

If you’ve found a stray cat, or just want to double-check your cat has a microchip, here is how you should approach it:

  • Get into a comfortable position where you can check behind your cat’s neck without stressing them out. I put my cat on my lap to do this.
  • Using both hands start to gently pinch bits of skin behind their neck and massage little areas feeling for the microchip.
  • Most cats will take this as a little bit of welcome fussing and petting! Just work around the area thoroughly and see if you can find it.
  • It’s actually quite obvious when you do find it. I just did this on my cat before writing this and her microchip is clearly in there.

This is how you can manually check for a chip. It’s a lot easier for a veterinarian to find a chip, they use a scanner all over the cat to find it wherever it may have moved to.

The scanner gives them a unique identification number that’s electronically stored inside. This number is then cross-checked with the information that was logged on the National Pet Microchip Registration Database and they find out who the cat is and their owners.

Can Cats Lose Their Microchip?

Cats can’t really lose their microchips, and I’ve never heard of one just disappearing. Microchips can sometimes move around under the skin though. There’s a chance that you can’t find it any longer by feeling around, but if you take your cat to the vet they’ll find it with a full-body scan.

Something that can also happen is the microchip failing or malfunctioning. I’ve spoken with cat owners who have said that their vet was unable to ‘find’ their cat’s microchip during a routine checkup.

They could still physically feel the chip though, so they knew it was in there. It’s an electronic device that can, in rare instances, fail. It’s really unfortunate if this happens for a stray cat. Unless someone feels for a chip it’ll just be assumed the cat doesn’t have one.

If it’s broken or malfunctioning there will be no way of reading it and finding the owners anyway. But I think it’s always worth knowing how to find or feel a microchip in a cat. It gives you an idea that they were once a much-loved pet for someone.

Is Microchipping Painful for Cats?

It’s not painful, no. My cats didn’t even flinch when they were given their chips, but it does involve a needle so it’s fair to say it’s as painful as any type of injection.

If the pain or discomfort for your cat is something holding you back, put this to one side. It’s way more important that your cat is microchipped than you stress over them having a needle quickly poked into them.

There’s no anesthesia or pain meds or anything like that even needed. It’s not a surgical procedure, it’s really just a routine procedure that takes a minute or so. I couldn’t see any evidence or feel where the needle when in after my cats had theirs. In all honesty, due to being wary about being in a vet’s office I don’t think they even noticed.


The purpose of this article was to answer, can you feel a microchip in a cat? As well as convince you to get your cat microchipped if you haven’t already.

It’s estimated that around 15% of cats go missing at some point in their lives. That’s a huge number. There are a few things you can do to make sure your cat is safer than the average cat, but you can never assume it won’t happen.

If your cat does go missing, I don’t need to tell you it’s going to be an incredibly stressful and time-consuming time trying to find them. Something as simple as a microchip will make it so much more likely, quicker, and easier for a shelter or vet’s office to reunite you with them.

My tip of the day: give your vet a call today and ask them about microchipping your cat. It’s not expensive, doesn’t hurt them, and only takes a few minutes.

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