As we head into Winter, it’s time to focus on our feline friends as the earlier dark nights and freezing temperatures can expose your cat to extra dangers. Clent Hills Vets have this advice on how to keep your cat safe, and improve your chances of finding them should they go missing:
Microchip, microchip, microchip!
Cat microchipping costs just £10 at Clent Hills Vets in Bromsgrove, Hagley & Rubery, and is a quick and harmless procedure. A tiny microchip, the size of a grain of rice, is inserted just under the cat’s skin, which can be scanned by staff at veterinary practices and most animal shelters for owner information.
Once the microchip is in place, owner information must be kept up to date on the central microchip database in order to reunite lost cats with their owners. With Winter setting in, it’s now more important than ever to microchip your cat.
What happens to missing cats?
When a cat is not wearing an identity tag, has no microchip or does have one but with outdated owner information, in many cases the owner simply cannot be found, not for a lack of trying.
Survivors of road traffic accidents, and pets that ‘looked lost’ (even on their own driveway) which have been taken to a vets, will most likely be collected by the local animal shelter for re-homing after efforts to find the owners have been exhausted. Deceased cats may be given a communal cremation. Sadly, many cat owners will never know what happened to their companion.
LOST & FOUND – The RSPCA advises that unless the cat is vulnerable (very young, looks unwell/injured, wandering on a busy road), the ‘finder’ should put the cat back where they found them to give them the best chance of finding their own way home.
What’s the Law?
In 2016 it became the law to microchip all dogs, however, there’s currently no law that says you must microchip your cat.
If a driver hits a dog (or a horse, cattle, pig, goat, sheep, donkey or mule) with their vehicle, they must report it to the police by law. There is no such law when it comes to cats. 230,000 cats are run over each year and 1 in 10 drivers has left a cat to die alone, according to catsmatter.org – the feline welfare organisation campaigning for the laws to change when it comes to cats.
The Cats Bill calls for a change to the Road Traffic Act (1988) so the law will state that any driver involved in an accident resulting in injury/death to a cat must stop and give information or report the accident to the police.
Cats can be the most charismatic and loving companions and we also believe Every Cat Matters. Here’s our advice on how to do the best for your cat this Winter.
Top Tips on Winter Cat Safety:
- Microchip your cat.
- Check that your contact information is up to date on the central microchip database, and keep it updated.
- Many cats don’t like wearing collars, however, try getting them used to wearing a reflective collar & tag in the house first.
- Keep your cat indoors once the daylight starts to disappear and help to reduce the number of cats on roads at night.
- Be extra vigilant with black cats as these are particularly hard to see on roads in the dark.
- Drivers, take extra care on the roads, especially when driving through residential areas and if you do hit a cat, remember he/she is someone’s beloved companion. Report it to the local police station and a vet practice out of courtesy, and if you are able to move the cat safely, take him/her to a vet practice for treatment/closure for the owner.
- If your cat goes missing, ask friends and neighbours to check sheds, garages and other outbuildings as they may have taken shelter from bad weather and gotten trapped inside. Search for localised Facebook groups for your area that also post missing pet information.
- Keep antifreeze away from your cat and clean up any spillages as this is highly toxic to cats (and dogs).
- Take your cat for a Winter health check. Catching health issues early can help your cat have a happy and stress-free Winter.