Is anyone aware of software which could be used to check if an animal is chipped / that could potentially read the chip also?


My girlfriend and I have been visited frequently by a cat which may be lost. We'd like to take it to the vets to check for a chip, but the local vets all seem to be closed at weekends, and our work hours make visiting during the week hard. Also we're anxious about putting someone else's cat into a basket and wandering around London with her. I believe the chips communicate via NFC, so would think that it should be possible for an NFC enabled smartphone to detect this. That would at least let us know if she is chipped; and there may even be a way to use this info to get more; e.g. an owner's contact details, or at least an ID which we could report to a vet by phone).

  • 3
    Many animal shelters have a scanner and will scan for free.
    – paparazzo
    Commented Oct 10, 2015 at 22:15
  • We are now 2016, is there any development in reading ID-chips for pets with IPhone/android devices?
    – user6486
    Commented Jan 14, 2016 at 17:25
  • 1
    Take your cat to a hotel and try to open up the door with it, if the door beeps, the cat is chipped :)
    – ck1987pd
    Commented Nov 1, 2020 at 10:56

8 Answers 8


Many phones don't currently have the ability to read passive RFID chips, which is what the microchips in your pets are, but some can. Not on IOS, that I know of, but there are Android-based phones with RFID reading capability (Samsung Galaxy, for example) and there are some apps for that purpose.

However, not all pet microchips are the same and it's possible that none of them are compatible with the reader technology in your phone and that's really the key to it. You need to know what standards and frequency your phone can read and then what chip, with its standards and frequencies, is in your pet. Assuming that the chip follows any of the standards... not all do.

As an aside, if you really want to, you can buy a scanner to do the check, but typically you can often feel them. The chip, in cats, is usually injected under the skin between the shoulder blades. If your cat is normal body weight (or thinner), you can sometimes feel the small, slim, cylinder there. Unfortunately, not feeling it doesn't mean it's absent.

As Frisbee noted, might be better taking the cat into a shelter to get scanned. They're usually open on weekends, prime adoption period, and if you call ahead, I would think most would accommodate and they will normally have the ability to check where it's registered if there's one present. If there isn't one, you might be able to pay them to do it, it's a trivial procedure to do, and then have them register you guys.


It does not appear that it is possible to scan micro chips in pets with a smart phone. I searched and found several blog posts that suggested this would be a great idea, but nothing saying it existed. The closest thing I found where someone was seriously looking into it and why it would not work is this post on StackExchange

The chip maker I am most familiar with in the US is Avid, they do have an App but it does not read chips, it will read barcodes and let you interact with the Avid database if you have an account. But no mention is made of reading the chip.

You can't prove that something does not exist, but everything I am finding suggests that that is not possible at this time.


The two devices run at different frequencies that are not even close. The RFID chip operates somewhere around 128 kHz and the NCU device in Android phones runs well over 1 MHz.


It should also be noted that while I don't know if any apps that would allow you to actually read a microchip, it is easy to tell , at least, IF they have one. If you download any app that detects magnetism and scan your pet with it, you will find it because it will beep when the camera part of the phone comes into contact with it. I discovered this by accident when I downloaded an app that is used to find spying equipment such as cameras. It looks for hidden cameras or any other bugging equipment by reading the magnetic field in the area.

  • This might be better with more details. RFID chips (like used in pets) require some sort of activation signal before they broadcast. Additionally, some apps only search for wifi (or a specific signal) and won't detect an RFID signal
    – Zaralynda
    Commented Jul 22, 2017 at 22:39

Try petscanner a new app which uses mobile phone. https://www.petscanner.com/

NB: As other answers mention, a standard smartphone's NFC reader would not read the chip, so you also need to purchase some hardware. This company's device is, however, fairly inexpensive.

  • 4
    Do you have an affiliation with this mobile app?
    – Henders
    Commented Dec 14, 2018 at 11:51

Unfortunately, standard phone NFC operates at high frequency RFID range. Therefore, most cat microchips are not compatible with NFC.

You can still check for it. Remove all your cards and rub the phone all over the cat's body. This will tell you if the cat is microchipped but not tell you if it isn't.

The injection location changes from country to country, even from practice to practice. Between the shoulder blades and on top of the foot (not the paw) are the common locations. Usually, you can see a very small scar if it is injected to the foot but it is harder to see such a scar if it is injected on the back.

The animals are usually microchipped when they are young so as they grow, the location changes as well. My cat has it in the belly, closer to his butt than his head. It definitely wasn't injected there. That is why you have to rub your phone all over the animal to know it with certainty.

Even if you manage to get a reading, you will only get a 16 digit number, so you would need a vet anyway.


It's not just the software that you need, the hardware has to contain the components which will allow it to query a chip and process the output.

I very much doubt that any phones have those elements. They would not really be of any other use.


Put your Samsung into development mode. And you can change the output of your nfc scan, get an i.t savy person to help you, you can scan most chips and get just the number which can then be supplied to a vet over the phone and vet will contact owner (please note not all vets will give you details of owner and will take responsibility or send you to a shelter)

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