Call for NI to follow England’s lead on cat chipping

Call for NI to follow England’s lead on cat chipping

Software firm boss wants UK-wide coverage

A software firm which aims to make dog microchipping faster and cheaper has called for Northern Ireland to follow England’s lead in making cat  chipping compulsory.

Conor McManus, co-founder of  MYPET, told NI Veterinary Today: “It’s great news that cat microchipping will be made compulsory in England as announced in the Defra Animal Welfare Plan. This is something we have supported as part of the consultation with Defra.

“We’ve also supported a range of changes to make microchip databases more effective for veterinary clinics, pet owners and everyone else involved in the welfare of our pets.

“It would be great to see compulsory cat microchipping in all regions of the United Kingdom and we will support any consultation on this in Northern Ireland, Wales and Scotland.”

Conor McManus with his dog Cody

The plea came after Environment Secretary George Eustice told the BBC the policy would be monitored by vets in England and enforced in the same way as it is for dogs, which he said has led to over 90% compliance.

A wide-ranging new animal welfare plan will also formally recognise the sentience of many animals.

Reacting to the news that cat owners will have to get their pets microchipped, Jacqui Cuff, head of advocacy and government relations for Cats Protection, said she was “delighted”.

She added: “We had the dog microchipping regulation passed in 2016, so we’ve been waiting a long time. There are around 2.6 million unchipped pet cats in the UK; that’s a lot of cats wandering around with no permanent identification.”

Cat theft reportedly increased by more than 12% over the last year, and only around 70% of owned cats are chipped at the moment.