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Too many strays New campaign urges sterilisation and microchipping of cats

A vet cares for a cat with the aid of an assistant

Swiss Animal Protection calls for owners to microchip their cats, noting that the devices are very small and can be implanted "virtually painlessly". 

(© KEYSTONE / LAURENT GILLIERON)

A campaign launched by the organisation Swiss Animal Protection is encouraging cat owners to help stop the proliferation of strays.

Swiss Animal Protectionexternal link (SAP) announced its new campaign, dubbed "Luna & Filouexternal link”, on Wednesday, one day before World Animal Dayexternal link on October 4.

Launched in collaboration with the Federal Food Safety and Veterinary Officeexternal link and veterinary professionals, the campaign aims to raise awareness for feline reproductive control, stray cats as well as microchipping.

The SAP estimates that there are 1.4 million domestic cats in Switzerland, including anywhere between 100,000 and 300,000 strays. Each year, some 10,000 cats end up on the streets. Homeless cats can be at risk for starvation and illnesses, such as feline panleukopenia (cat typhus) or the feline herpes virus coryza.

The campaign organisers are calling for owners to spay and neuter their cats to prevent uncontrolled breeding, and to avoid losing their pets by microchipping them. The SAP also recommends the “Amiciexternal link” app, launched by partner Identitas AGexternal link, which allows cat owners to alert others to a lost or found cat.

According to the ANISexternal link pet database of the same company, only one-third of domestic and feral cats are currently microchipped and registered. Microchips are the size of a grain of rice and are implanted in the neck during a “practically painless” procedure, according to the SAP.

Legal steps

In June, the Network for Animal Protection (NetAP)external link and the Foundation for the Animal in the Law (TIR)external link submitted a petition with 115,000 signatures to parliament, demanding the introduction of the sterilisation of all free-ranging cats into the Ordinance on Animal Protection.

The Federal Food Safety and Veterinary Office also notes that anyone to regularly feeds a cat and renders it dependent on them is considered its owner and as such can be legally expected to take reasonable measures “to prevent excessive reproduction of these animals”.

Keystone/SDA-ATS/cl

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