Battersea is urging cat owners to get their pet microchipped, after statistics from 2022 revealed that three in five cats were not microchipped.
This has affected the animal rescue charity’s ability to reunite missing cats with their owners, with only two per cent of stray cats being returned to their owners in 2022.
The appeal comes ahead of a new law, which comes into force on 10 June 2024, requiring many cat owners to microchip their pets. Cat owners found with unmicrochipped cats will have 21 days to get one implanted or they face a fine of up to £500.
Battersea is highlighting the importance of implanting pets with a microchip, and keeping the details up-to-date, in reuniting lost pets to their owners. The charity warns that non-existent or outdated microchips can mean they are unable to contact owners.
This was the case when a one-year-old cat, Kina, was brought into Battersea’s London centre after being found in a park. Kina appeared healthy and friendly, so Battersea staff suspected that she was someone’s pet.
However, because Kina had no microchip, Battersea was unable to identify her previous owners, and therefore had to find her a new home.
Battersea scans every animal for microchips when they are received, which can result in quick and easy reunions between pets and owners.
This was the case with two-year-old cat Alfie, who was brought to the rescue centre wearing a collar with an AirTag. A scan of Alfie’s microchip quickly put Battersea in contact with his owner, who confirmed he was not missing and collected him within the hour.
Rachel Saunders, cattery manager at Battersea, said: "When a microchipped cat is brought to us as a stray, we can usually orchestrate a joyful reunion, sparing heartache for owners, but for most stray cats we take in, there is no chip at all, leaving us unable to trace where they may have come from.”
“With greater responsibility from cat and dog owners to update microchip information, we can reunite many more pets and spare countless families from needless suffering.”
More advice can be found here.
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