A BARNSLEY cat charity is urging members of the public to support compulsory microchipping of pet cats.

Cats Protection is campaigning for microchipping to become a legal requirement for pet cats, as it already is for dogs.

The move could help with cat welfare and could reduce the number of cats in animal rescue centres across the borough.

This is especially relevant for 'outdoor' cats who may wander further from home than 'indoor' cats.

The procedure to insert a microchip, which is about the size of a grain of rice, will cause your pet about as much pain as receiving an injection and once the microchip is inserted it is one of the most effective means of keeping cats safe when they are out and about.

In England it is a legal requirement to microchip all dogs above eight-weeks-old, but currently cat owners have the choice whether to microchip their pet.

Cats Protection aim to change this by campaigning for compulsory microchipping of cats to take effect.

A spokesperson for Cats Protection in Barnsley said: “Microchipping cats is really important so we can see who they belong to.

“People will bring in cats that they have found on the street that they presume to be a stray and the first thing we do is take them to the vets to be checked for a microchip.

“If the cat is microchipped, we can alert the owner which is especially helpful if the cat has been lost.

“Most people assume that the cats they see on the street are strays unless they have a collar on, so checking for a microchip is an easy way to return the cat to its owner or to start giving it the proper care it needs to find a forever home.”