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10th Jun 2024

Cat owners need to have their pets microchipped by today or face fine

Callum Boyle

Cat owners must have their pets microchipped by today or risk being hit with a £500 fine.

Legislation making cat microchipping compulsory was introduced in Parliament in March 2023, with millions of felines to be inserted with small electronic chips by June 2024.

The Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (Defra) estimates that of the more than nine million pet cats in England, as many as 2.3 million are unchipped.

The new law will also mean owners’ contact details can be stored and kept up to date in a microchipping database.

The move will mean that it is easier for lost or stray cats to be tracked down and returned to their homes.

The deadline for owners to have their cats microchipped is June 10, 2024. Any owner that is then found not to have microchipped their pet will be given 21 days to have one implanted.

If they do not do do, they face a fine of up to £500.

Mayhew Animal Home has warned owners the new law applies to indoor cats as well. The charity said: “Indoor cats can escape through open windows and doors that have been left open by mistake, especially in warm and hot weather.

“Unneutered males and female cats who are in season which are kept indoors can sometimes be very keen to escape to find a mate.

“When an indoor cat escapes, they are at higher risk of becoming lost as they would be in unfamiliar surroundings.”

They added that getting a cat microchipped is a “fairly quick and simple procedure” which will usually cost “between £10 and £30” at the vets.

In 2016, compulsory microchipping of dogs was introduced, and ever since many have been calling for similar legislation to be introduced for cats.

Speaking about the new legislation after it was introduced, then-Environment Secretary Therese Coffey said: “Cats and kittens are treasured members of the family, and it can be devastating for owners when they are lost or stolen. 

“Legislating for compulsory microchipping of cats will give comfort to families by increasing the likelihood that lost or stray pets can be reunited with their owners.”

And Chief veterinary officer Christine Middlemiss added: “Microchipping is by far the most effective and quickest way of identifying lost pets. 

“As we’ve seen with dog microchipping, those who are microchipped are more than twice as likely to be reunited with their owner. 

“By getting their cat microchipped, owners can increase the likelihood that they will be reunited with their beloved pet in the event of it going missing.”

The move was welcomed by cat rescue and welfare charity Cats Protection, which has been calling for all owned cats to be microchipped since the measure was first introduced for dogs. 

Madison Rogers, of Cats Protection, said: “The charity regularly reunites owners with their much-loved cats and in most cases this is only possible thanks to microchips.

“No matter how far from home they are found, or how long they have been missing, if a cat has a microchip, there is a good chance that a lost cat will be swiftly returned home.”

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