District Council and charity unite for local cat owners

Published Monday 30 July 2018

The pain of not knowing whether a beloved pet has been victim of a road traffic accident will be lessened owing to the forward-thinking of a local cat charity and Harborough District Council.

Volunteers from Cats Protection’s Leicester & County Branch have provided the street cleaning team at Harborough District Council with four microchip scanners to enable them to scan any cats they find during their duties and alert the cat’s owner that they have been victim of a fatality.

The Council are currently unable to let owners know if they find their cat has been involved in a road traffic accident but it is something they were keen to change after discussions with the local branch of the UK’s leading feline welfare charity.

Neil bannister hdc leader with louise smith and christine boulter from cats protection 1

Councillor Neil Bannister, Leader of Harborough District Council, said: “We're very pleased to be working with this charity and recognise the importance of using these new scanners to identify pet owners and giving them peace of mind.”

Fundraising team member for Cats Protection’s Leicester and County Branch, Louise Smith, said: “We were able to fund the scanners through generous donations from members of the public.  Many have known the pain of having lost their own cats, or hope to be saved the frustration and sadness of not knowing what has happened should their cat be hit by a car.”

Branch co-ordinator, Heidi Wilkinson, added: ”We are grateful to Harborough District Council for recognising the importance of microchip scanning and for leading the way, we hope that many more councils across the country will follow the Council’s lead and invest in these vitally important scanners.”   

Cats Protection recommends microchipping for cats as it offers a safe and permanent method of identification throughout life and in the event of a fatal accident. Thousands of cats go missing every year and the charity’s research shows that less than a third of pet cats are microchipped and one in four have no identification at all.

Microchips contain a unique identification number and are inserted under the cat’s skin between his shoulder blades. The number links with a database containing details of the pet, as well as the owner’s contact details. When a scanner detects the microchip, a simple phone call can ascertain the owner’s details. Pet owners should therefore keep their details up to date using instructions on their microchip certificate.

The Leicester & County Branch rehomes cats across the LE postcode, runs community cat neutering schemes and provides feline welfare advice across the locality. Anyone wanting more details about the branch or who is interested in volunteering should visit https://www.cats.org.uk/leicester or call 0116 416 1306.

Pictured: (l-r) Councillor Neil Bannister, Leader of Harborough District Council, holding one of the scanners, alongside Louise Smith, Cats Protection fundraising team member, and Christine Boulter, branch secretary