National Microchipping Month: Keep your feline friend where they belong
June is National Microchipping Month, marking just over a year since the introduction of compulsory microchipping in dogs but this is still not a legal requirement in cats.
Just over a year since the introduction of compulsory microchipping in dogs, the latest research shows 95% of dogs in the UK are now microchipped, a significant increase since before the legislation came into force in March 2015.
However compulsory microchipping of cats was not part of the legislation; even though 91% of veterinary professionals believe microchipping should be made compulsory in cats.
Findings from the PDSA’s annual 'PAW Report‘; a UK-wide survey of trends in pet ownership and veterinary views, indicate that within a population of 11m UK cats, only 20%ii (~2.2 million) are living an indoor-only lifeii. This means 9 million outdoor feline explorers are potentially at risk of getting lost if they stray too far from home. Many cat owners report being anxious when letting their cat roam free outside, with 68%ii of owners believing it to be unsafe for their cat to go outdoors.
If a cat gets lost or potentially injured, one way to minimise the risk of them not being reunited with their owner is to ensure they are microchipped. Approximately the size of a piece of long grain rice, a microchip is inserted under the animal’s skin between the shoulder blades and carries a unique number. The number is registered with a special database and is linked to the owner’s contact information; this ensures that the pet’s owner can be easily traced if the cat is picked up and scanned by a vet, the police, local authority or rescue centre.
In celebration of National Microchipping Month, many leading industry bodies are urging British owners not to forget our feline friends and take urgent steps to ensure their cats are microchipped.
Huw Stacey, Director of Clinical Services from Vets4Pets comments: “National Microchipping Month is a great platform to help raise awareness of the importance of microchipping. Whilst microchipping is now compulsory for dogs, many cat owners still don’t take the same precautions so the risk of cats ending up stray or in shelters is high. Microchipping is a simple and really cost effective way to help reduce the number of lost cats reported each year.”
Hannah Watts, Product Manager at Bayer adds: “As chips can’t come off like collars, microchipping is the most effective way to identify a lost pet. It is estimated that 32% of cats in the UK are still not microchipped, which highlights the need for more education for cat owners on the benefits of microchipping.’’
There are many benefits to having your pet microchipped by a vet; not only are they trained on how to properly implant a microchip and give pets the most comfortable experience possible – they can also give them a thorough health check and discuss any other concerns you may have at the same time so that you leave with complete peace of mind.
Hannah Watts continues: “A missing pet can be hugely distressing for owners, so we’d encourage all cat owners to speak to their vet for advice on what’s best for their animal. A microchip is only as effective as the information held on it, so it is vital that pet owners inform the microchip database immediately should they change their address or contact details.”
Bayer’s microchip brand, Tracer Advance, is one of the leading products on the market and the UK’s number one choice of microchip among veterinary professionals. It is 10 times stronger than glass, and is now a mini chip; 25% smaller than the previous standard Tracer chip. All Tracer chips implanted are linked to PetLog, the UK’s largest microchip database.
What to do if your cat goes missing?
If your cat goes missing, tell the microchip database their chip is registered to immediately.
Contact vets and rescue centres in the area to ask if they have seen them and leave your cats details (including chip number) with them.
Ask your neighbours to check sheds, outbuildings, garages and cars.
Put up posters in your local area with a good photo of your cat, and your contact details.
It’s also a good idea to post about your missing cat via social media so that your neighbours and friends can also share. You can also message local community groups with a presence on Facebook and Twitter.
For more information on microchipping, and to find out where to get your pet microchipped visit: www.tracer-microchips.co.uk