Having a cat chip inserted can also be incredibly effective in getting lost pets returned to their owners, no matter how far they have strayed from home.

An extraordinary case of a cat being identified 9,000 miles from where it was chipped shows just what is possible, as an Australian feline was reunited with its owners in Scotland.

The stray cat, called Melvin, had been turning up for food at a home in Renfrewshire since Christmas before being reported to the Scottish Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals in May.

Melvin was checked by a vet before being sent to the charity’s rehoming centre in Glasgow, but checks showed he had been chipped. However, the chip was actually Australian.

Chief inspector Laura McIntyre said: “As you can imagine, the team were slightly confused when Melvin’s details came back registered to an address in Australia.”

This still led to him eventually being traced, however. His owners, Scottish couple Matt and Jacqueline Dick, had adopted the cat while living Down Under.

After 14 years in Australia, they moved back to Scotland with Melvin and their dog in 2022. However, just weeks after moving into their new home in Erskine, Melvin went missing.

Cats Protection’s advocacy and government relations officer for Scotland, Alice Palombo, commented: “Melvin’s story goes to show why microchipping is so important and we’re thrilled that he has been reunited with his owners thanks to his chip.”

The charity’s Scottish branch is calling for Scotland to follow England’s lead in making cat chipping mandatory. The English law will come into effect next June and anyone not complying could be fined up to £500.

So far, England is ahead of the rest of the UK in this regard, with Cats Protection also calling for compulsory chipping to be introduced in Wales and Northern Ireland.

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