My name is Rhys, a first time dad blogging about my adventures and experiences of being a parent. [email protected]

Missing cat returned to owner after four years

Welfare concerns were raised after the cat was found in Newport

When he was found and scanned by RSPCA Inspector Sophie Daniels, she was stunned to find out that the cat, known as Riggs, had been missing from his owner for four years – and not too far from home either!

“I couldn’t believe it when his owner said he had been missing for four years,” said Sophie. “He had a pink collar on, so he looked owned so I hoped I could track down his owner easily, but I didn’t expect to hear the length of time he had been missing!

“When Riggs went missing he was wearing a black collar, so someone else along the way has put on the pink collar, and he has certainly been fed and watered by someone over the years.

“But who knows what he has been doing or where he has been going for all this time.

“It just goes to show how important microchipping is – and it was fantastic to reunite Riggs with his owner who was very emotional and delighted to have him back.

“He went missing in the first week of lockdown and despite his owner searching for months for him, he wasn’t found. “I advised that they should keep him in for several weeks for him to adjust to his surroundings and to get a vet check.”

Riggs was brought to the attention of the RSPCA after welfare concerns were raised to the charity as it was thought he had been injured in a road traffic collision.

Sophie said: “When I arrived I wasn’t sure what condition he would be in – but luckily following an examination he was actually uninjured.

“Microchipping your pet gives them the best chance of being identified and returned to you if they become lost – and that was certainly the case with Riggs.

“We were so glad we were able to help here, but if you do find an injured cat we’d advise the quickest way to help them would be to take them to a nearby vets for them to scan them for a microchip so their owner can be found.”

Riggs’ owner said they were “completely shocked” when they received the call from Sophie.

“After four years we had just given up hope,” they said. “I thought he must have passed away as he had heart issues. I was so shocked, there were a lot of happy tears. He has settled in really well with our other cats too.”

Next month, compulsory microchipping for cats will be being introduced in England. It is to become a legal requirement for cat owners to microchip their cats after 20 weeks of age and to ensure their contact details are stored and kept up to date in a pet microchipping database.

Under the new legislation, cat owners in England will have until 10 June 2024 to microchip their cats. Owners found not to have microchipped their cat will have 21 days to get one implanted or may face a fine of up to £500.

RSPCA Cymru is calling for similar legislation to be considered in Wales once the Welsh Government has ensured that the current regulations applicable to dogs are fit for purpose.

While the Welsh Government’s Animal Welfare Plan for Wales promises to “consider extending compulsory microchipping to include kittens and cats”, there has not been any firm commitments or timelines published. Meanwhile, microchipping dogs has been compulsory in Wales since 2016, with this also being the case in England too.

“Microchipping can certainly offer pet owners peace of mind,” added Sophie. “The microchip can be scanned and matched to the owner’s contact details which are kept on a database.

“If an owner moves house or changes their telephone number they must also make sure that they tell the database they are registered with so that they have up-to-date contact details. If the information on that database is old and out-of-date then the chip is useless. Telling your vet does not automatically update the details on the database but this is something you can do yourself online.”

This year the RSPCA celebrates its 200th year of changing industries, laws, minds, and animals’ lives. To mark this anniversary the animal welfare charity wants to inspire one million people to join their movement to improve animals’ lives. Together, there are actions, big and small, everyone can take to create a better world for every animal.

As part of its celebrations, the RSPCA recently revealed that in the ten years up until the end of 2022 the RSPCA along with its branch partners across Wales provided 24,944  microchips – to help reunite lost pets with their owners.