Lost Cats Almost Three Times Less Likely To Be Reunited With Owners Than Dogs

23 Jun 2023

Data from the leading animal welfare charity reveals that last year almost two thirds (59 per cent) of the cats brought into its centres were not microchipped. Meanwhile the figure for dogs, for whom microchipping has been a mandatory requirement in the UK since 2018, was significantly lower at just 21 per cent.

Whether or not an animal is microchipped has a direct impact on rescue organisation’s ability to successfully reunite lost pets with their owners. Whilst last year microchip matches enabled Battersea to notify 474 worried owners that their missing dogs had been found, in stark contrast only 40 cats were able to re-join their families thanks to a microchip.

It comes after the Government recently laid new legislation making the microchipping of all pet cats compulsory. Under the new rules, owners will have until 10 June 2024 to microchip their cat and ensure their contact details are stored and kept up-to-date in a pet microchipping database.

Bridie Williams, Rehoming and Welfare Manager at Battersea’s London cattery said: “At Battersea, we know that losing a pet under any circumstances is a unique kind of pain. That’s why we were delighted to see the Government announce that all pet cats will soon have to be microchipped by law – legislation that we know will go a long way in ensuring more happy pet-owner reunions.

“However, we sadly still see many unchipped cats arriving at our centres, with no way of knowing whether these animals are strays or simply much-loved pets who have wandered too far from home.”

The charity warns cat owners that failure to keep their contact details updated on microchipping databases - which the new law will make mandatory - leaves rescue centres unable to notify owners if or when their pet does arrive at one of their centres.

This was sadly the case for six-year-old Mientus. Despite arriving as a stray, Battersea staff suspect he had previously been a family pet. His finder described him as “appearing lost” when he first appeared outside their house, persistently meowing outside their door and immediately using the litter tray once allowed inside. However, with neither a working contact number linked to his microchip nor an owner reporting him missing, the charity had no choice but to proceed with rehoming.

Fortunately, the reconnecting powers of microchipping have allowed the charity to secure happy endings for some owners and their cats. When last month 8-year-old Boo was brought to Battersea’s Old Windsor centre by a member of the public, having taken refuge in their family home for almost two years, a quick scan of her microchip revealed that she was not a stray, but rather a much-loved pet who’d accidently roamed to a nearby town. One phone call later and her elated family rushed into the centre to retrieve her – just two short hours after she was first dropped off.

Bridie concluded: “For our animal-facing teams there’s nothing quite like seeing the huge, relieved grin on an owner’s face when we’re able to successfully reunite them with their cherished pet – and all the sweeter when they’ve been separated for so long like Boo had!

“With this in mind, we’d urge owners not to wait until 2024 and speak to their vet or local rescue organisation about getting their cat chipped straight away. It is without doubt the most effective way of sparing yourself any future heartache in the distressing scenario they do go missing.”

Battersea scans every animal for a microchip when they first arrive and will make sure every dog and cat is microchipped before going on to their new homes. 

For further advice on pet microchipping, visit the Battersea website here: https://www.battersea.org.uk/.


Images of Mientus and Boo can be found and downloaded here.

For further information, images or interviews please contact press@battersea.org.uk.