Q&A with Cats Protection

Jacqui Cuff, Head of Advocacy and Government Relations

In our latest Q&A, Cats Protection’s Head of Advocacy and Government Relations, Jacqui Cuff, answers our questions about the importance of microchipping cats and how the national charity is campaigning to make it a legal requirement.

Why would you urge cat owners to ensure their cats are microchipped?

We’d urge owners to get their cats ‘chipped as it is a safe and permanent method of identification which increases the chances of a lost cat being safely reunited with its owner. Last year eight out of 10 stray cats taken in by the charity’s Adoption Centres in England were not microchipped, making it virtually impossible to trace an owner. Microchipping also means that injured cats can be quickly identified by vets so that their owners are informed and involved in their care. It’s also worth remembering that microchips avoid the risks posed to cats by an elasticated or ill-fitting collar, which could result in serious injury. If people choose to fit a collar to a cat, it’s advisable that it has a quick release device on it and we’d recommend that a cat is microchipped even if it has a collar.

Can you tell us a little bit about the work Cats Protection is doing to make microchipping a legal requirement for cat owners?

We’ve long been campaigning for microchipping to be made compulsory for owned cats and have set up a petition so that people can support us. We note that the government recently announced a call for evidence into the compulsory microchipping for cats, so we’d be grateful if as many cat lovers could sign the petition and make their voices heard. The petition can be found here: www.cats.org.uk/microchippingpetition

Is microchipping safe for your cat? Will it hurt them?

Microchipping is very simple and is no more painful than an injection. A microchip is slightly smaller than a grain of rice and is inserted under the cat’s skin between the shoulder blades. Cats are not aware of the microchip’s presence once it has been inserted.

How do the regional snip and chip campaigns help?

We operate reduced cost neutering and microchipping programmes across the country so that we can offer some help to cat owners who are on limited incomes and struggling to meet the costs. The programmes vary in size and scope and the neutering and microchipping work is done in partnership with local participating vet practices. To find out if you are eligible please ring Cats Protection’s neutering helpline 03000 12 12 12 (selecting option 2) or alternatively visitwww.cats.org.uk/what-we-do/neutering/neuteringcampaigns for details of any programmes in your area.

What advice would you offer to anyone wishing to adopt a cat or take on a new pet?

If people are thinking of adopting cats’ then please do get in touch with your local Cats Protection branch or adoption centre. At any one time there are thousands of unwanted cats in our care, so adopting a cat from us will give you a loving companion animal and free up space for us to take in another unwanted cat. Every cat adopted from us is microchipped, neutered if old enough, vaccinated, has received flea and worming treatment and comes with four weeks’ free insurance. Please visit www.cats.org.uk/ find-us to find details of your local Cats Protection.

How can people help, or support Cats Protection should they wish?

There are many ways to support Cats Protection including adopting a cat, getting your cat neutered, becoming a volunteer or making a donation. Further details can be found at www.cats.org.uk/support-us and we’d like to take this opportunity to say thank you to anyone who chooses to support us.