Government launches consultation to find out the opinions of vets, cat owners and members of the public.
Inews reports that compulsory microchipping for cats could be introduced in England next year after the Government launched a two-month-long consultation with vets, owners and members of the public.
The move comes after Government research found that 99 per cent of the population supported mandatory microchipping of cats.
Around 2.6 million cats in the UK – around 26 per cent – are not microchipped, according to estimates by the animal welfare charity Cats Protection.
It reported that eight out of 10 stray cats handed in to its adoption centres in England during 2018 were unchipped, leading to longer and sometimes unsuccessful efforts to reunite them with their owners.
How it works
The process involves inserting a chip, generally around the size of a grain of rice, under the skin of a pet, which has a unique serial number that can be read by a scanner.
Stray cats lost this way include Larry, the brown and white tabby who was found in London without a microchip and taken to Battersea Dogs and Cats Home before being adopted as ‘Chief Mouser’ to 10 Downing Street and the Cabinet Office.
“Having a microchip gives a lost cat the best chance of being quickly reunited with their owner.
We regularly hear heart-warming stories of the huge joy and relief when a missing cat is returned home thanks to the details of their microchip,” said Cat Protection head James Yeates.
Battersea Dogs and Cats Home
Battersea Dogs and Cats Home’s deputy chief executive Peter Laurie also supports compulsory microchipping.
“We see strays being brought to us every day, many of which have clearly been much-loved pets that have perhaps just wandered too far from home. Unfortunately we are often unable to trace their previous owners as they have either not been microchipped or the details on the chip are not up to date,” he said.
Since compulsory dog microchipping was introduced in 2016, around nine million dogs are now microchipped.
British Veterinary Association Senior Vice President Daniella Dos Santos said that any legislation around compulsory microchipping of cats must be clear in its aims and that enforcement must be given sufficient investment.
“Although we strongly encourage all cat owners to microchip their pet, the delivery and enforcement around compulsory microchipping of cats is complex and would need adequate resource. Before making it compulsory, the government needs to address the difficulties caused by multiple national databases and consider how feral cat populations would be managed.”
(Story source: Inews)