To identify your cat is to give her an identity card, and formalize her existence. Identifying your cat is a legal obligation for any cat owner in France and other countries. This obligation takes on its full importance in certain situations, such as when animals are lost or when travelling with them. Appart from this purely regulatory aspect, identifying your cat has many advantages for you and your cat well-being.
Identification protects your cat
Cats like to walk, wander outside. Cat owners living outside know it well. In the same way, some owners of indoor cats have already experienced a cat taking the first opportunity available to escape, when a door or a window is left half open. In the majority of cases, the cat does not leave her territory, and returns to her owner. But sometimes, after the cat has disappeared, the owner can’t find her. And it is in those cases when the cat identification takes all its importance. Should this happen, a microchip will give them the best chance of being reunited with you.
A cat found can be found by individuals, or by associations leading TNR programs and doing neutering campaigns. A person finding a cat will probably take her to a veterinarian who can either read his tattoo or detect her microchip, and thus find her owners. In the same way, the pound, or associations that trap stray cats will check the identification of the cats they find so that they can contact their owners if necessary. But in the case where the cat is not identified, obviously the owner cannot be found or contacted.
As a veterinarian, I have sometimes seen cats brought in by people who had found them in the street. They had decided to keep them, and during the veterinary examination, a microchip was detected, and the real owners of these lost cats could be found!
Identify your cat in practice
Cat identification has been a legal obligation in France since 2012. Thus, every cat owner must know this regulation and thus identify his cat. In a practical way, the identification of your cat will be done by a veterinarian.
We often take advantage of the cat neutering around the age of 6 months to identify the animal. Tatoos, if it has the advantage of being immediately visible, is now marginal, because regulations now require (especially for trips abroad) that your pet is identified by a microchip.
In the case of the microchip, the veterinarian inserts the microchip (a small device about the size of a grain of rice). A microchip can be implanted during a routine veterinary office visit and this operation does not usually require anesthesia. The veterinarian will decide the relevance of the latter. The microchip can be inserted on a kitten from the age of 2 months, at the time of its first vaccines for example. The microchip has your cat’s unique identification number, which cannot be erased or falsified.
The importance to update your contact information
When identifying your cat, your contact information (address and especially telephone number will be requested in order to register them in the national identification file. You will receive your pet identification card with your contact information. Make sure that there is no error. This data is essential: thanks to it, if your cat gets lost, you will be contacted.
In case of a move, or a change of telephone number, remember to inform the national identification file by filling in the changes of your contact information, it is very important.
In conclusion, apart from its mandatory aspect, identify your cat is a great way to protect her. You will be able to prove that the cat belongs to you in case of litigation or theft, and you will have a chance to find her if she gets lost. The organization International Cat Care works so that the identification of cats is considered as a fundamental element to ensure the protection of felines around the world.
An article by Stéphane Cluseau, veterinarian.