The first month of the 2020 Keeping Cats Safe campaign is now at an end, and with it the first topic; microchipping.
Since the introduction of microchips in the UK in 1989, International Cat Care has been discussing their use as an effective way to identify cats that have strayed or gone missing and reunite them with their owners. The clipping below is taken from a magazine released by the charity just before their introduction, and shows how small the chances of finding a stray cat were at the time.
The situation is fortunately different today, with cats returning home even after ending up a long way away. In our first article for this topic, we shared the story of Rocky the cat, who was reunited with his owner after traveling 150 miles.
Throughout April, we’ve looked at the key benefits of microchipping, which include:
- A permanent and accurate method of identification
- A way for vets to identify cats when submitting test samples
- They can be used in legal cases where ownership is disputed
- Avoidance of injury from cats trying to remove collars or tags
We have also highlighted the importance of keeping the contact details attached to them up to date, as microchips cannot fulfil their main purpose of reuniting lost cats with their owners if database details aren’t correct. Our second article in this topic was a guide with simple instructions for how this can be done, that can be accessed here.
The question of their safety is another topic we’ve addressed with our position statement:
International Cat Care is in agreement with the World Small Animal Veterinary Association and the American Veterinary Medical Association that the microchipping of dogs and cats is safe and very rarely associated with any significant problems. The microchip is the size of a grain of rice and is implanted in a similar way to giving a vaccination, causing very slight and temporary discomfort.
Alongside our practical advice we’ve collected and released stories submitted to us from cat owners and professionals that show how microchips have played a part in reuniting cats with their owners. These have been shared via our social media, but we’ve included one of our favourites below as it illustrates how even unlikely reunions are possible. This story was submitted to us by Nina, who works in a veterinary clinic in Norway, and tells of how a cat returned home after being away for 6 months, just in time for Christmas.
‘Just before Christmas of 2019, a cat was delivered to Nina’s veterinary clinic through the local shelter. The cat had been seen outside for some time, he had a limp and some concerned people in the area had called the shelter as they assumed he was a stray.
When he was brought into the shelter, Nina was happy to find that he was microchipped and contacted the owner. The owner was delighted, they told Nina that their cat had been missing for six months. Nina also performed a veterinary health check and discovered that the cat had badly damaged its hind legs in a suspected fall.
The cat was referred to an orthopaedist and had surgery and owner and cat were reunited for Christmas. After being missing for six months, the owner couldn’t have asked for a better present, and it was thanks to the microchip and the correct details attached to it that this was possible.’
You can read our first article and the incredible journey of Rocky the cat here.
The next topic in the campaign is ‘Plants and cats’ and you can keep up to date with this and future topics here.