Microchipping for Cats in U.K. to Become Mandatory

A new rule will force pet owners in the U.K. to have their cats microchipped. Under new laws laid before Parliament, the move will bring the rules for domestic felines in line with that of dogs and require cats to be microchipped before they reach 20 weeks of age.

The change is intended to reduce the number of stray cats in the U.K. and make it easier for authorities to reunite them with their owners.
According to government figures, 2.3 million of the 9 million felines living in Great Britain are not microchipped.

Photo: Pixabay/Ben_Kerckx

A survey by the Department of Food and Rural Affairs reportedly found that 99 percent of those queried were in favor of making chipping mandatory for cats. Owners failing to abide by the new laws by or before June 10, 2024, will receive a fine of £500 by police.

Environment Secretary Thérèse Coffey stated, “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.”

Photo: Pixabay/Niner09

She was joined by others singing praise for the change.

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.”

Cats Protection’s Head of Advocacy, 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.”

Photo: Pixabay/Chikilino

Microchips have a unique serial number that the owner needs to register on a database. When an animal is found, the microchip is read with a scanner, thus enabling veterinarians or technicians to identify the animal’s owner so they can be reunited. Problems arise, however, when owners don’t register the serial number with their pet’s info or keep their contact information current.

Rogers continued, “Owners with cats that are already microchipped should ensure their details are up to date. The commitment to microchipping is part of a wider Government effort to build on our existing world-leading standards.”

It was noted that the new law will not be mandatory for cats that have little or no human interaction, such as farm, feral, or stray cats living within the community.

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