Nine out of 10 cats are not microchipped

Thousands of cats are still not being microchipped, says RSPCA

Pet owners are being urged to microchip their cats as the RSPCA figures reveal almost nine out of ten moggies coming into its care are not chipped.

By law dogs have to be microchipped however cats do not which makes it much more difficult to discover if they have an owner and then reunite them.

The RSPCA is urging loving owners to make sure they microchip their cats as  87% of cats brought into the RSPCA national centres in 2017 did not have a microchip.

Caroline Allen, the director of the RSPCA’s London Hospitals, said: “We see heartfelt stories where cats have been reunited with their owners after a few weeks, a few months or even a few years because we were able to trace them with the microchip details.

“However, there are thousands of cats coming into our care with no microchip at all, or details which are not kept up-to-date, meaning there are lots of cats who are unlikely to ever see their owner again. It’s absolutely heartbreaking.”

New figures show that 5,647 cats came into the 17 national centres* in England and Wales between January and December 2017, there were 4,896 cats who were not chipped.

This means only 13% of cats were microchipped and many of these did not have up-to-date details recorded.

Caroline Allen added: “Not only are a lot of cats still not being chipped but during one week last summer, our London veterinary hospitals had nine cats with out-of-date microchip details making it extremely difficult to track down their owners.

“Microchipping your pet is vitally important in ensuring that if anything happens to them, if they are lost or stolen, or hit by a car, then they can be returned to you.

“Despite our best efforts to find an owner, the most reliable way to identify a cat is to have him or her microchipped. If the contact details are out of date the chip is completely useless so it is vitally important to tell the chip company yourself if any contact details change.

“We see cases where we would love to reunite microchipped cats with their owner but can’t because the details have not been updated.

“We also find that many people don’t realise that the chip is just a number that cross references to a database. If the information on that database is old and out-of-date then the chip is useless. Telling your vet does not automatically update the details on the database but this is something you can do yourself online.

“Out of date chips can often be worse than no chips at all as the cats spend weeks in the cattery while we are desperately trying to chase details and send letters before we can rehome them.”PC111462

Gizmo, [pictured above] a ginger cat with a microchip which showed an address and number in Poland was found straying and poorly with diarrhoea, dehydration and a distended abdomen. As the microchip was registered to a Polish database, the staff believe the owners of the cat did not update their details when they moved to the UK. RSPCA Putney Animal Hospital where the ginger moggy is currently being treated is still trying to trace an owner but have had no luck.

These cats [pictured right] were brought into RSPCA Harmsworth Animal Hospital at the end of last year.

HC89267 Harley

Ginger cat Harley had no microchip or collar and was found with a fractured toe. Efforts to find an owner have not been successful and seven-year-old Harley is still at the hospital currently receiving treatment.

HC89102 Elvis

Four-year-old Elvis came in with a fractured pelvis and had no microchip but was wearing a collar. He went to RSPCA Southall Cattery in December (2017) and as an owner was never found he is now looking for a new home.

HC88327 Casper

Casper [above] was suffering from a burst abscess. He was microchipped but there was no response to letters posted to the registered address and the telephone numbers provided were incorrect. The four-year-old cat was transferred to the RSPCA Finchley Branch in September last year and later rehomed.

Bruce, four-years-old, was brought in to Harmsworth hospital with lameness in December (2017) and due to a severe injury sadly needed to have the leg amputated. There was a microchip but this was registered to a previous owner and the current owner could not be traced. Once he had recovered he was transferred to RSPCA Southall Cattery before finding his forever home.

HC89103 Bruce

Eleven-year-old Misty arrived at the hospital with a rotten tail which was covered in maggots and needed to be amputated. She did have a microchip and was brought in by a member of the public who was not her owner but lives at the address the cat was registered to. It would appear as though the owners had moved and not updated their details. Misty was also transferred to Southall where she was rehomed.

HC88251 Misty

The RSPCA microchips every cat we rehomes strongly recommends that every owner gets their cat microchipped and keeps the details updated. To find out more about microchipping your pet visit our website.

If you recognise Gizmo please contact the RSPCA Putney Animal Hospital on 0300 123 0716 and for Harley call the RSPCA Harmsworth Animal Hospital on 0300 123 0712.

*These figures are only for the national centres and do not include the number of cats coming into RSPCA branches across England and Wales so the numbers could be higher.

Guest blog posts on all things cat-related from the RSPCA

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You can teach a cat new tricks!

RSPCA staff teach clever cat Justice to learn to love people again through clicker training

Staff at the RSPCA Sheffield branch have been clicker training a special seven-year-old cat to do tricks in order to build his confidence.

Justice

Justice was brought into RSPCA care after he was found straying in an awful condition in Dinnington, South Yorkshire in June this year (2017). He had large wounds on both sides of his face caused by abscesses. The skin around both wounds had died which means it wouldn’t have healed on its own.

It took weeks of pain relief and antibiotics to help him slowly get better and during this time Justice found being in the cattery and being around people quite stressful. He was a nervous cat who didn’t trust humans so he would hiss and lash out when he felt frightened.

Katie Osborn, animal care assistant at the Sheffield Animal Centre, started clicker training Justice to encourage him to hide less and become more used to people.

He can now sit and touch with his paw on command.

She said: “Justice has been with us for about six months now. It took us a little while to gain his trust enough to put him up for adoption. As he started to come out of his shell a little, and we could spend more time with him we noticed that Justice seemed uncomfortable when moving. An x-ray showed that he has arthritis and sclerosis in his hips. He has been on pain relief for this and is much happier now but he will need to stay on medication for the rest of his life to keep him happy and comfortable.

“As soon as we had him on the pain killers everything was much easier, he can still be flighty but knowing he can get away quicker now his arthritis is being treated has made him more relaxed.

Katie and Justice2

“That was when the clicker training really took off. He was still very worried about being touched but clicker training with a red ball on a target to encourage him to touch on command or sit on a mark has really worked. He knows what to expect when we are clicker training so he feels more comfortable. Once you’ve got the first command mastered then you can build from there. I didn’t expect him to come as far as he did, now he’s much more friendly. It’s brought him out of his shell so much that he will now headbutt my hand for strokes!”

Justice who came into RSPCA care on June 23 has been looking for a home for about two months and so far hasn’t had much interest.

Katie added: “He was one of our most withdrawn cats and without clicker training we wouldn’t have been able to see what a big personality he has. He loves people, as it turns out. He was just fearful before.”

Justice can now sit on a mark (a red towel), turn in a circle, stand on his back legs for a tummy check and he is also learning to put himself in the cat carrier and ring a bell.

“Clicker training can help keep Justice’s mind active and encourage him to bond with humans. It’s also a great way to make life much easier, for instance when you need to take the cat to the vets. Justice is an extremely intelligent cat.” Katie explained. “He got the hang of the target trainer in about ten minutes which is brilliant! As he has FIV (Feline immunodeficiency virus, similar to HIV in humans) he will need to be an indoor cat or have access to an enclosed garden so clicker training could provide a valuable way to keep him stimulated and happy.”

Training tips:

Justice2Training should be fun for both you and your cat and can help to build your relationship.

Cats may not need to learn how to ‘sit’ or walk on a lead like dogs but there are some very useful behaviours owners can teach their cat, such as to come to you when called, or to get inside their cat carrier for a vet visit. This can make the whole experience a lot less stressful for the cat – and the owner!

Learning new behaviours is also an excellent form of physical and mental exercise and teaching a few tricks like giving a paw or rolling over can be a great way to get them thinking and moving.

All training should be reward based which will motivate them to show this particular behaviour again. This may be in the form of a chin or head rub or dried fish or small pieces of chicken. The key is to choose a reward that your cat will really enjoy. The treat should be small – about half the size of a fingernail and will count towards your kitty’s daily food intake.

Train your cat at a time when they are most active and awake in a room where they feel comfortable. Practice makes perfect and training can take time so don’t expect results immediately. It’s also a good idea to break up training into short but regular sessions to keep their attention.

For further tips watch the video below:

If you would like to rehome Justice contact the RSPCA Sheffield branch on 01142 898050.

Guest blog posts on all things cat-related from the RSPCA

The purr-illiant name game!

These cats creatively named after other animals are looking for their forever homes

The RSPCA rescued more than 30,000 cats last year and with thousands of cats across its centres and branches at any one time, the charity’s staff have to be creative when giving them names.

This means there is a surprising trend of cats being named after other animals from birds of prey to primates which certainly helps them stand out from the crowd with these paw-some names…

Black and white cat Penguin is at RSPCA Southall Cattery in London. He was brought into the centre on October 6 after he was found roaming around Lewisham. He had taken to hiding in gardens after his original owner had died. A neighbour noticed him limping and brought him inside to feed him and contact the RSPCA.

Pennywise (2)

He first arrived at Putney Animal Hospital to treat his leg injury before arriving at the cattery.

Eight-year-old Penguin is a chatterbox with a big personality who loves being the centre of attention. Penguin is in desperate need of a home with a family who is experienced with cats with lots of character. He loves to brush himself against you and appreciates someone with patience who can approach him slow and steady so he does not become frightened. He will flourish best in a female-only household as he seems to be a little scared around men.

All Penguin really wants is a lap to curl up on and lots of love from someone who will accept him for what he is.

If you’d like Penguin to chill with you email southallcattery@rspca.org.uk or call 0300 123 0746.

Wolfie may have a bold name but the ten-year-old white and tabby cat is actually a little shy. He came into the RSPCA Ashley Heath Animal Centre in Hampshire on October 5 from Bournemouth.wolfie

His owner had passed away and so Wolfie needed to find a new forever home. He can be a little shy at first but is gaining in confidence each day. He can be very affectionate once he gets to know you and enjoys sitting on your lap and purring.

He may be able to get used to another cat but despite his canine name wouldn’t suit living with dogs. He will also need to live with adults or older children. The staff think Wolfie may have a mild allergy to flea bites but this can be controlled with regular treatment. It does mean he has suffered from patches of alopecia but this has improved now. He also has a mild heart murmur which is actually very common in cats. The centre can supply more information and advice on this.

If you’d like Wolfie to join your pack please contact RSPCA Ashley Heath on ashleyheath@rspca.org.uk or call 0300 123 0749.

Two-year-old Monkey is also at RSPCA Ashley Heath Animal Centre. The black cat was living in unsuitable conditions in a house in Bournemouth and came into RSPCA care on August 8.

monkey2

Monkey is quite a timid cat and will need time to settle into her new home. When she becomes more comfortable she comes out of her shell a lot and loves a fuss. Monkey has lived with other cats before but would prefer not to live with dogs. She’d also like to live with a family who has older children.

If you think you can give this cheeky Monkey a home contact RSPCA Ashley Heath Animal Centre on ashleyheath@rspca.org.uk or call 0300 123 0749.

One-year-old tortoiseshell Falcon is a calm and gentle cat. She arrived at the RSPCA Middlesex West branch in March after she was found as a stray in Kenton.

Since being in RSPCA care, staff discovered that Falcon is actually epileptic which means she requires daily medication to keep her seizures in check. However, since starting her medication four months ago, Falcon has not had any fits at all! Her medication can easily be mixed with her wet food and any future treatment will be covered by the branch.

falcon (7)

Little seems to faze this beautiful cat and she copes extremely well with the hustle and bustle of normal family life at her fosterers’ home. She’d prefer to be the only cat in a home and will need to be able to go outside and explore as she loves chilling out in the garden.

falcon (4)

If you can take Falcon under your wing contact the RSPCA Middlesex West branch on info@rspcamiddlesex.org.uk or call 020 896 69688. 

Guest blog posts on all things cat-related from the RSPCA