Microchipping offers cats a safe and permanent method of identification and increases the chances of a lost cat being safely reunited with their owner. Yet despite this a staggering 2.6 million owned cats across the UK are still not microchipped according to the CATS (Cats and Their Stats) 2020 report by Cats Protection (cats.org.uk/stats).
Since 2016, it has been compulsory for dogs to be microchipped – but not cats. The UK’s leading feline welfare charity, Cats Protection, has been campaigning for this inequity to be addressed.
Thanks to the support of thousands of cat lovers there is now a government consultation on making microchipping of owned cats compulsory in England, but Cats Protection is asking for your help to push these proposals over the line.
A government consultation on how to bring in this change in the law is now live and Cats Protection has created a simple campaign page to allow you to send in a message of support. It will only take two minutes of your time.
Unlike dogs, cats can roam freely so are much more susceptible to getting lost, and sadly, being involved in road traffic accidents. When an unchipped cat goes missing or is injured, it can lead to heartbreak for the owner, who may never get to learn the fate of their beloved pet.
Collars can fall off, or lead to collar-related injuries, for example collars can get caught on tree branches. A microchip really is the best way to identify a lost cat and ensure they get back to their owner.
According to PDSA’s PAW report, the top reasons cited for not microchipping a cat are: that people say their ‘cats are unlikely to stray’ and that the ‘pet does not go outdoors’. (PAW Report 2019)
Cats Protection’s advice is that even a strictly indoor cat should be microchipped – the main reason for this is simple - cats can be excellent escape artists! However, there is also the very real risk of cat theft, which, worryingly, is on the rise.
Every year, Cats Protection takes in thousands of stray cats that are not microchipped. Reuniting these cats with their owners is extremely difficult, and sadly many end up having to be rehomed rather than reunited with their owner. Charities also end up having to temporarily house and treat cats which may in fact have owners which reduces their capacity to help genuine strays.
In 2011, just 70% of dogs were microchipped. Following the introduction of compulsory dog microchipping, this leapt up to 92%.
Requiring pet cats to be microchipped is now needed to drive up the percentage of owned cats that are chipped and give cats the same legal protection as dogs.
Microchipping is a simple procedure that can be done by your vet and is normally done during neutering or at vaccinations. The owner should then ensure they register the chip with a database.
Microchipping normally costs between £20 and £30, for those on low incomes Cats Protection may be able to assist with their ‘chip and snip’ schemes
Microchips are most effective when the details stored on them are up-to-date, you can check this by contacting your microchip company. The good news is that Cats Protection statistics confirm that 92% of owners with microchipped cats state they have kept their details up-to-date.
Given the benefits of microchipping, every pet cat should be chipped! Unfortunately, despite awareness campaigns, the percentage of chipped cats has barely increased in the last few years.
Cats Protection is asking the public to act now and support a change in the law to require microchipping of pet cats.