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Microchip your moggy or face £500 fine

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New legislation published today means that cat owners now have until 10 June 2024 to microchip their beloved pets or face fines of up to £500.

The new rules were laid out today in Parliament and brings the microchipping laws on cats in line with pet dogs. It has been compulsory to chip dogs since 2016.

What is microchipping?

Microchipping involves fitting a small electronic chip, about the same size as a grain of rice, under the cat’s skin. The chip allows the animal to be traced and helps reunite thousands of lost or stray pets every year.

The microchip has a unique serial number that the keeper needs to register on a database. When an animal is found, the microchip can be read with a scanner and the registered keeper identified on a database so the pet can quickly be reunited with them.

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

Why is it necessary?

There are over nine million pet cats in England, with as many as 2.3 million unchipped, it is difficult to reunite them with their owner if they get lost or stolen.

The new rules mean cats must be implanted with a microchip before the age of 20 weeks and their contact details stored and kept up to date in a pet microchipping database.

Middlemiss said: “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.”

What is the new law?

All owners must have their cat microchipped by 10 June 2024 and owners found not to have microchipped their cat will have 21 days to have one implanted, or may face a fine of up to £500.

The new microchipping rules follow a Government consultation on the issue in which 99% of respondents expressed support for the measure.

Environment Secretary Thérèse Coffey said: “Cats and kittens are treasured members of the family, and it can be devasting 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.”

Microchipping will not be compulsory for free-living cats that have little or no human interaction or dependency, such as farm, feral or community cats.

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