Cat microchip law: Cat owners given deadline for when pets have to be microchipped - or face £500 fine

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A new law has been introduced that makes microchipping pet cats and keeping contact details up to date compulsory for all cat owners.

A new legislation to make microchipping pet cats compulsory has been laid in parliament, which will make it easier to identify stray and lost cats and to help find their home. The hope is that the new law will help reunite thousands of cats with their owners every year.

There are around 9 million cats in the UK, with as many as 2.3 million of them unchipped, making it much harder to identify the cats and reunite them with their owners. The new rules mean that pet cats must be microchipped within their first 20 weeks and their contact details stored and kept up to date in a database.

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Environment secretary Thérèse 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.”

Pet owners have until June 10, 2024 to microchip their feline companions, or risk facing a £500 fine if failing to implant one within 21 days of their furry friend being caught unchipped.

Chief Veterinary Officer, Christine Middlemiss, said: “I am pleased that we are progressing with our requirement for all cats to be microchipped. 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.”

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It is up to the owners to make sure contact details are up to date in the database systems.

Microchipping your pet cat will become compulsory from next year.Microchipping your pet cat will become compulsory from next year.
Microchipping your pet cat will become compulsory from next year. | AFP via Getty Images

Cats Protection’s head of advocacy, campaigns & government relations, Madison Rogers, said: “Cats Protection is delighted that pet cats in England will be given the same protection as dogs when it comes to microchipping. 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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