Here at Cats Protection Bridgend we microchip every single cat before it leaves the centre. Unlike dogs, there is no law requiring your cat to be microchipped but the importance of microchipping is essential should your cat ever wander off, be taken in as a stray or be involved in an accident and taken to the vets.
Microchips don't come off unlike collars and also pose no risk to your cat, they are inserted between the shoulder blades using a special device, similar to an injection, known as an 'implanter', the chip itself is as small as a grain of rice and cannot be felt by the cat once inserted. Each microchip contains a unique 15-digit number which once searched for in the correct database can be traced with the owners full details. However, microchips do not contain any sort of tracking device.
As you can imagine we get many stray cats bought into our centre and the first thing we ask if somebody wishes to place a stray cat into our care is that they take the cat to a local vets to be scanned (aswell as putting up posters and using paper collars to help locate an owner). Every cat that comes into the centre gets scanned on admission to check for a chip. If a chip is found, the chip number and its details are checked against our admission information, if the cat is a stray we try and make contact with the registered contact details to find the cats owners. We keep the cat in our centre for 1 month before rehoming a chipped stray to make sure we have gone through every avenue to reach the cats original owner.
Due to microchipping we often have very happy endings regarding our chipped strays, a recent example is Chloe, a 9 year old tabby and white female who was bought into our care when the elderly lady looking after her became unwell. The lady had taken Chloe in as a stray and looked after her for 6 years, once she came in, as with all our cats, we scanned her for a microchip and found she had one! As Chloe was registered under a different name and address we did a little detective work and found her original owners!
Chloe went missing when she was 3 during a visit to the vets and jumped out of her carrier in the car park - not to be seen again. Her owner Rebecca had put up posters around the area but had heard that a deceased cat resembling Chloe had been found on a nearby road and thought Chloe was no longer with us - but she was! In the centre Chloe was very nervous and withdrawn but as soon has Rebecca came to pick her up she was rolling around and happy.
Chloe was able to go back to a home she knew and loved once again all due to microchipping!
Sadly not all cats have a happy reunion, Gengis (above) was found straying and was taken to a local vets to be scanned where it was discovered that he had a microchip. The phone number on the chip was contacted but met with no answer. Gengis came into our centre where we also called out to his previous home, send letters and call the number provided for 4 weeks however contact was never made and now Gengis has been rehomed to a new family. Although Gengis did get a lovely forever home this story does show how important it is to update your cats microchip details should you move house or change your phone number.
If you would like more information on microchipping then we have an essential guide available here for free download.
Purrs for now!