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01st Jun 2024

Cat owners warned of new law deadline that could result in £500 fine

Ryan Price

The new law comes into effect in just ten days.

Cat owners are being given their final warning that they could face a fine of £500 under a new law coming into place this month which requires their pet to be microchipped.

All pets in England are now required to be microchipped, and must be implanted with a microchip before they reach 20 weeks old.

This will come into effect on the 10th of June, meaning cat owners have just over a week to get it done.

Legislation making cat microchipping compulsory was introduced in Parliament in March of last year.

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.

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.

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 this new rule, 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.

Microchipping your cat costs between £10 and £30, according to the RSPCA.

Some animal charities and organisations also offer microchipping and may be able to do it for a reduced rate, or for free.

If you adopt a cat from a rescue centre or animal welfare charity they should be microchipped, and the organisation should give you the information you need to update the details on the microchip.

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