Cats Protection and USPCA say the measure – which is due to become law for pet cats in England from next year – would significantly improve feline welfare.
Only 60% of Northern Irish cats are currently microchipped, lower than the UK average of 71%, according to Cats Protection’s Cats and Their Stats (CATS) report 2022.
Cats Protection’s Advocacy & Government Relations Officer Alice Palombo said animal lovers can support the campaign by adding their name to a petition to ensure cats in Northern Ireland are not left behind.
She said: “Compulsory microchipping is already law for dogs in Northern Ireland and the rest of the UK, and from next year it will also be law for cats in England. We don’t want to see cats left behind, particularly on something which we know is a benefit to cat welfare.
“Compulsory microchipping of pet cats would ensure more cats can be reunited with their owners if they are lost or missing. It also helps to identify cats which have sadly died in road accidents and helps to reduce the pressure on animal charities which may find it impossible to trace the owner of an un-microchipped stray or lost cat, despite their best efforts.”
USPCA Chief Executive Nora Smith stated “We are calling on the public to sign this petition in order to support the campaign for compulsory microchipping of owned cats here in Northern Ireland. These wandering free spirts can be lost to their owners through tragic accident or theft, cats roam by their nature and a microchip will enhance traceability and peace of mind for their owners.
“We have seen the success with compulsory dog microchipping which has greatly reduced the number of stray dogs and we hope that cat microchipping could have a similar positive impact on lost and abandoned cats.
“We are hopeful that alongside increasing the number of injured and lost cats reunited with their owners, new legislation will also help to tackle welfare issues for cats, including abandonments.
“We believe that microchipping of owned cats would have significant public benefit in Northern Ireland.”
To sign the petition, please visit this page.