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New Law Makes Microchipping Cats Compulsory in England


Jun 10, 2024

Starting June 10, 2024, all pet cats in England must be microchipped under a new law aimed at improving the reunification rates of lost or stolen cats with their owners. This legislation, laid in Parliament on March 13, 2023, mandates that all cats be implanted with a microchip by the age of 20 weeks. Owners who fail to comply will face a fine of up to £500 if they do not microchip their cats within 21 days of being notified​ (GOV.UK)​​ (Cats Protection)​.

The Purpose Behind the Law

With more than nine million pet cats in England, it’s estimated that around 2.3 million of them are currently unchipped. This makes it challenging to reunite lost or stolen cats with their owners. The new microchipping requirement is expected to address this issue significantly. Studies have shown that microchipped cats are 38% more likely to be reunited with their owners compared to just 2% of those without a chip​ (ITVX)​​ (Petlog)​.

The Microchipping Process

Microchipping involves inserting a small chip, about the size of a grain of rice, under the cat’s skin. This chip contains a unique serial number that links to the owner’s contact details stored in a national database. The procedure is quick, safe, and generally painless, similar to an injection. Unlike collars and tags, which can be removed or lost, a microchip provides a permanent form of identification​ (ITVX)​​ (Petlog)​.

The cost of microchipping a cat ranges from £10 to £30, though some animal charities and organizations might offer it at reduced rates or for free. Owners are encouraged to ensure their contact details are up to date on the microchipping database to facilitate the swift return of their pets if they go missing​ (Petlog)​.

Exemptions and Compliance

The law exempts free-living cats that have little to no human interaction, such as farm, feral, or community cats. However, all other pet cat owners must comply by the June 10, 2024, deadline. If an owner is found not to have microchipped their cat, they will be given 21 days to do so. Failure to comply within this period could result in a fine of up to £500​ (GOV.UK)​​ (Cats Protection)​​ (ITVX)​.

Government and Veterinary Support

The introduction of this legislation follows extensive consultation and a government call for evidence, where 99% of respondents expressed support for mandatory cat microchipping. The move is part of the government’s broader Action Plan for Animal Welfare, which includes tougher penalties for animal cruelty and other measures to protect animal welfare.

Christine Middlemiss, the UK’s Chief Veterinary Officer, stated that microchipping “is by far the most effective and quickest way of identifying lost pets.” Echoing this sentiment, Thérèse Coffey, the Environment Secretary, emphasized that the legislation would bring comfort to families by increasing the likelihood of lost pets being returned home​ (GOV.UK)​​ (ITVX)​.

Final Thoughts

This new law marks a significant step forward in animal welfare, providing a robust framework to ensure the safety and well-being of pet cats across England. By making microchipping compulsory, the government aims to drastically reduce the number of lost or stray cats that cannot be reunited with their owners, thus enhancing the lives of both the pets and their families.

For more information on the new microchipping law and how to comply, cat owners are encouraged to consult their local veterinarians or visit relevant websites such as GOV.UK and Cats Protection​ (GOV.UK)​​ (Cats Protection)​.

By admin