The UK’s biggest cat charity met with politicians to highlight its campaigning work, including calls for better regulations to tackle kitten smuggling and the introduction of cat breeding regulations.
Hosted on the charity’s behalf by Andy Slaughter MP, the event was also a chance to discuss compulsory microchipping of pet cats, which is due to come into force in England.
Cats Protection’s Head of Advocacy, Campaigns & Government Relations Madison Rogers said: “We were thrilled to meet so many politicians to discuss issues around cat welfare, which is an important issue to many people. In particular, we discussed our concerns that the proposed new Kept Animals Bill fails to protect cats in the same way as dogs.
“While this new bill will recognise dogs as sentient beings – with greater protections in law as a result – it fails to include cats. This means cats will continue to be treated simply as property, which clearly does not reflect how owners see their much-loved pet cats. Cats are one of the nation’s most popular pets, so it is only right they are given the same status as dogs.”
The Animal Welfare (Kept Animals Bill) – which is awaiting the announcement of a date to return to the House of Commons – includes plans for a new offence of dog abduction to recognise the emotional distress caused to both owners and dogs but does not include cats. The Government has also announced proposals to tackle puppy smuggling but fails to extend the same proposals to include cats, leading to concerns puppy smugglers will simply switch their attentions to kittens.
As well as discussing the issues faced by cats and cat owners, the reception was an opportunity for politicians to find out about volunteering opportunities available in their constituencies
Andy Slaughter MP said: “From young families to elderly people, cats offer support and companionship and can have a hugely positive effect on people’s lives. I was very pleased to host Cats Protection’s reception which I hope will help highlight why cats deserve the full protection of our animal welfare laws.”
Cats Protection, the UK's leading feline welfare charity, has helped an average of 166,000 cats and kittens a year over the last five years through its national network which includes around 210 volunteer-run branches and 34 centres.