Since the beginning of 2012, article 28 of law n ° 2011-525 of May 17, 2011 makes it compulsory to identify any cat over seven months old, born after January 1, 2012. This simply means that all cats must receive a registration number, which will link it directly to its owner with the SCF (Société Centrale Féline).
There are two ways to identify your cat: by tattooing, a process less and less used nowadays but which is still possible and legal, or by microchip, the most frequent way to identify your cat for several years. .
Once the identification has been made, the owner of the cat will receive an identification card, which will serve as an identity card for the cat, which must be kept very carefully. But what are the advantages of having your cat identified, and which of the two methods to use? All the answers to these questions in this article.
Why have your cat identified?
The main utility of identifying your cat appears in case of loss. Indeed, if a cat who is a little too curious gets lost in nature and is found, whether by an individual who takes him to a veterinarian or to the police, or even by the pound, his identification , whether made by tattoo or by electronic chip could make it possible to find its owner via the contact details linked to it (address, telephone number, etc.)
It will therefore be very important to update the information with the Société Centrale Féline concerning the owner at each change of situation, such as a move, or during the transfer of the cat if this takes place. You can update this information directly on the official SCF website, or at your veterinarian.
In the event of theft, identification is also very useful. If a person, a neighbor for example, decides to appropriate your cat who is quite simply used to taking his walks in his garden, you can take legal action, by proving that your cat belongs to the using his ID card. It can also work in a divorce, if the two parties cannot agree on custody of the cat.
Identification by tattoo or microchip: which one to choose?
Tattoo identification and microchip identification are two different ways to identify your cat. But which one is the most effective? What are their qualities and their faults?
The identification of the cat by the tattoo
Identification by tattooing is the oldest method of identifying a cat, which dates from an era when computers did not yet exist. This identification process is performed under general anesthesia. It will most often be done on the right ear, but some vets prefer to do it on the left ear or even on the inside of a thigh.
As the obligation to identify your cat does not begin until she is seven months old, we often take advantage of the general anesthesia practiced for sterilization, which is generally done in these ages also, to do the tattoo. . Because of the two operations under the same anesthesia, the cat usually comes out of it upset, but at least it will not have suffered.
The tattoo has a major advantage over the electronic chip: it is visible to the naked eye, while the electronic chip is not directly visible since it is inserted under the skin.
This allows anyone who crosses paths with a lost cat to see that the cat has been identified, and therefore most likely has a master, and thus take them to a veterinarian to find the latter.
Unfortunately, tattoo identification also has big drawbacks. First of all, it fades over time. Thus, an elderly cat can be identified with a tattoo that has become almost illegible, and therefore almost unnecessary. In case of ear problems, such as a cat with chronic ear infections or frequent ear mites, the tattoo may also fade from contact with infections and cleaning products.
Finally, the last negative point: since July 3, 2011, tattooing is no longer sufficient to travel in the European Union with your little protégé, who requires that he be identified by an electronic chip.
Identification of the cat by microchip
Identification by microchip involves inserting under the skin, between the two shoulder blades, a small chip more or less the size of a grain of rice, which is also called a transponder. The chip will be scanned by the veterinarian before the injection to verify that its identification number is not already assigned.
It will be injected using a syringe that is quite impressive at first glance, since its needle is a good size. If in dogs this process is not necessarily done under general anesthesia, it is much more often done in this way for a cat, which is much more likely to move while trying to flee or defend itself, thus risking injury.
Even though, unlike tattooing, you cannot see the identification of a cat that has received an electronic chip with the naked eye, many services today have a chip reader. Pet stores, veterinarians, pound or police services normally have one, and can help a person who has found a lost cat by scanning the chip using the reader.
In addition to all this, identification by microchip, you will understand, is the only way to be able to travel in the European Union with your little companion.
Conclusion: tattoo or microchip?
Both practices are legal today, so anyone today has the choice to do as they see fit.
If you are not planning to travel to the European Union with your cat, tattooing is not a problem, especially since not everyone knows the microchip yet (even if it is increasingly more popularized for years).
If, on the contrary, you plan to travel with your cat, or if you do not want your cat to undergo the tattoo, or simply that you want to be foresight since there is a good chance that in the years to come the microchip will become legally the only recognized method of identification, better to choose the electronic chip.