New survey findings released today by Cats Protection, the UK’s leading feline welfare charity, have shown that nearly one in two cats that go missing never return.
The research, conducted by Cats Protection and Your Cat magazine, revealed that forty-nine per cent of missing cats either failed to return home or were never found and, crucially, less than fifty per cent of missing cats had any sort of identification tag.
Owners who did find their cats managed to do so thanks to a variety of methods, including making sure their cat was microchipped and/or identified in some way, approaching local vets and charities for help, placing newspaper ads and putting up posters in the local area.
“It is very sad to think that some cats are never reunited with their owners so making sure your cat is easily identifiable is vital to increase the chance of a happy reunion,” explained Beth Skillings, Cats Protection’s Head of Veterinary Services.
“Microchipping offers cats a safe method of identification which can be more reliable than other forms of identification, such as collars that can get removed, snagged or lost. However, if you do choose to put an ID collar on your cat, it is important to make sure it is a quick release safety version and that it is correctly fitted,” she added.
Sue Parslow, Editor of Your Cat magazine, said: “Every cat owner whose cat has access to the outside needs to be aware that they can buy themselves peace of mind by having their cat microchipped. It’s also worth making sure you have a good quality photograph of your cat handy to put on leaflets and notices in case he goes missing.”
The survey identified some other interesting facts:
• Age – Younger cats, especially around the age of two, were most likely to go missing (This could be for a variety of reasons - cats tend to be more curious around this age, they can be more prone to hunting behaviour and may wander further so could be more likely to get lost).
• Quick return - Cats were most likely to return in the first week of going missing (43 per cent).
• Shut in - When the cat returned home by itself, nearly a third
of respondents believed their feline had been shut in a shed or garage (30 per cent).
• Seasonal differences - Winter was the most common time of year for cats to go missing (34 per cent).
There are a number of things you can do if your cat goes missing. Most Cats Protection Adoption Centres and Branches operate lost and found registers to assist those who are concerned about a stray or lost cat, or whose cat has disappeared. Staff and volunteers can also provide useful information on practical measures to take when a pet goes missing.
Details of local Cats Protection Branches and Adoption Centres can be obtained from the charity’s Helpline. Tel: 08702 099 099 (9am-5pm, Mon-Fri). Email: email@example.com or log on to www.cats.org.uk