Bristol A.R.C. offers free cat microchipping to help reduce stray cat numbers in the city
Every year, over a quarter of a million animals are lost. Microchipping gives a pet the best chance of being identified and reunited with its owners.
Recent RSPCA National figures revealed that 87% of cats taken into care in 2017 were not chipped – making reuniting cats with their owners almost impossible.
Unlike dogs where the law states that they must be chipped, microchipping is entirely optional in cats – although highly encouraged by vets and animal charities.
Each microchip is slightly smaller than a grain of rice and is inserted under the cat’s skin – just between the shoulder blades. The procedure is a simple and quick one, and once the microchip is inserted, the cat is completely unaware of its presence. The chip holds vital information to track the cat’s owners – this information is stored on a secure database.
To help increase the likelihood of happy family reunions, Bristol A.R.C. is launching an initiative offering free cat microchipping throughout 2018, and to try to encourage as many cat owners to take part as possible, each cat chipped could be in with the chance of winning a goodie bag!
Dr Mandy Stone, Bristol A.R.C.’s Veterinary Manager said:
“In 2017, 352 stray cats arrived at our doors, and of these only 15% had microchips! We really hope that cat owners across Bristol take this opportunity to get their feline friends chipped by our veterinary team as soon as possible. You don’t have to be a client of ours and it’s completely free. There are no catches whatsoever!
“Every day Bristol A.R.C. opens its doors to numerous stray cats – brought in by members of the public or RSPCA Officers – and most of these cats are sick or injured in some way.
“The first thing we do is scan to see if a chip is present and our team are delighted if we find one. It’s invaluable for our vets to be able to speak to the owner about treatment at the earliest opportunity, and a chip with up-to-date details is the quickest way to get the cat back where it belongs – usually purring on its owner’s lap!”
When a chip is not found, Bristol A.R.C provides care and veterinary treatment in the hope that an owner may contact them, but there comes a time where for the cat’s welfare it needs to be put up for rehoming.
Dr Stone added: “Often, cats can stray very far from home or have been lost for some time, and in these cases if the cat isn’t chipped then the chances of reuniting the animal with their owners is very, very slim. We can always find lovely new homes for cats, but it’s still sad to think there might be a family out there missing their beloved pet.”
There is a very strong pet loving community in Bristol, and local Facebook page “Lost and Found Pets in Bristol/South Glos” was set up nearly 6 years ago for the purpose of helping reunite lost pets with their owners. Nowadays the group has over 26,000 members and their main focus is still trying to find lost or straying animals and get them back home.
Group founder Michelle Pibworth said: “Since the law changed for dogs we’ve noticed that lots of them are now microchipped, but with cats it’s a completely different story. It’s unbelievable how few of the cats picked up are chipped, and it’s so frustrating! I know people love their cats, but I think they must believe they will never go missing, or worse, which is just not true. The group deals with hundreds of lost cats every year, and although our community is brilliant at spreading the word and reuniting lost animals, it is so much quicker and easier if they are chipped!”
Michelle added: “We are delighted to hear that Bristol A.R.C. are launching this free chipping initiative, as cat owners now really have no excuse! We would plead with people – please get your cat chipped today, as they might go missing tomorrow"
The free microchipping offer is open to any Bristol cat from 4 months of age. Any owners interested are invited to call 0117 9724567 to arrange a free appointment.