There have been some changes to the Cat Management Act 2009 and from 1 March 2022, all cats over the age of four months must be microchipped.
But what if your cat is an indoor-only cat and never leaves the house? You might be wondering if there’s any need for you to microchip them. We like to think indoor cats are safe from any dangers, but accidents can happen. This is why we wanted to cover this important topic today and discuss the different reasons why you would want to microchip your indoor-only cat.
What is a Microchip?
First of all, what is a microchip? For pets, a microchip is a small electronic identification tag, so small (about the size of a grain of rice) that it is inserted by a needle just under the skin between your cat's shoulder blades. If your cat ever goes missing and is found by or caught by someone, they can be taken to a vet clinic or cat management facility where they can scan your cat for a microchip. If there is a microchip detected they can retrieve your contact details immediately and reunite you with your beloved pet, safe and sound.
So Why Does Your Indoor Cat Need To Be Microchipped?
As we mentioned above, accidents can happen and although you may do your very best to make sure your cat remains happy, healthy, and safe indoors, there is still a chance that your cat could escape your care, and without proper identification, like a microchip, they could be lost forever.
Escaping Your Home
You may think your indoor cat would NEVER leave the safety of the house, but there are many things that might lure or scare your cat out of an open window:
Excitement: Your cat might hear the excited twitterings of a bird, see a skink dart away through the grass, or even hear the meowing of the neighbour's cat. There are just too many exciting things that could lure your cat out of an open window. Even if they have never rushed through an open door before, you never know what might get your cat excited enough to run into the great outdoors.
Fear: Indoor cats that are shy around strangers or don’t like too many visitors in the house might bolt through an open door out of fear. This could happen during a party when you have a lot of visitors to your house and you regularly open the door to let them in.
Curiosity: Sometimes, all a cat needs is an opportunity! This could happen if you have young children that might not always close the door behind them or if you have people visiting the house that didn’t know your cat wasn’t allowed outside. Sometimes all a cat needs is a moment of inattention.
We wouldn’t wish any of these scenarios to happen to anyone. But, if by chance it did happen, you will be much more relaxed knowing that your cat can be identified straight away and returned home to you.
Lost Travelling To The Vet
Let’s be honest, your indoor cat is not always indoors. You occasionally take your cat to the vet for a checkup or maybe you have a long-haired cat and visit a cat groomer. We all do our best to contain our cats in travel crates when transporting them, but traveling can be a scary experience for your cat and they might manage to escape their crate if it wasn’t closed securely. On the rare occasion that this may happen your cat could bolt as soon as you open a door. The chances of this happening are slim, but you would feel much better knowing they are microchipped and the chances of you being reunited a lot more likely.
Emergency Situations Such As Bushfires or Floods
In the event that your home is under the threat of a natural disaster; such as bushfires or floods, your cat could accidentally escape your home or your care if you’re trying to transport them to safety with you. Being reunited with your cat after these events is much more simple and efficient if they are microchipped and easily identifiable.
Pet theft may not be too common, but it does happen, particularly with pure breeds. If you were in a situation where your cat was stolen and you either knew the thief or someone else was suspicious of them, having a microchip with your details attached to it would more easily sort the situation. The only person who can change the ownership details of your cat on their microchip registry is you. So unless you transfer the ownership to someone else, no one can claim your cat as their own.
Should I Microchip My Indoor Cat?
If your cat is normally an indoor-only cat, but not yet microchipped, we hope the conversation above has encouraged you to book them in to get their microchip. As we said, most of these are worst-case scenarios, but they are known to happen. If your cat does get lost, knowing they are microchipped will put your mind at ease and significantly increase your chances of being reunited.
To get your cat microchipped, you can contact your local vet and book them in for an appointment. The procedure is cost-effective and non-invasive (just a syringe that embeds the microchip between your cat’s shoulder blades).