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Cats must be microchipped from Monday, June 10 under new law





Cat owners must now have their pets microchipped or risk a fine under strict new rules being introduced.

The compulsory microchipping of felines will make it easier, say animal charities, for lost or stray animals to be reunited with their owners and returned home safely.

Cat owners will face a £500 fine if their animals are found to be without a chip. Image: iStock.
Cat owners will face a £500 fine if their animals are found to be without a chip. Image: iStock.

Households were first warned last year that they needed to have microchipped their cat by today (Monday, June 10) or they may face a fine of up to £500 under the government's new animal law.

There are over nine million pet cats in England and up until last year more than 2.3 million were estimated to be without a chip.

Many of the strays taken into shelters, say officials, often don’t have a microchip, making it almost impossible to contact owners quickly.

Michael Webb, from Battersea, said: “Last year more than two thirds of the cats brought to our centres were sadly not microchipped, making it incredibly difficult for us to trace an owner or help the cat return home.

“Now that owners will be required to get their pet cats microchipped and keep their details up to date, rescues like Battersea can reunite more missing cats, and owners can avoid the devastation of losing their pet.

“It’s a simple and painless procedure and an up-to-date microchip is the easiest way for missing pets to be reunited with their worried owners.”

The new law is welcomed by vets and animal charities. Image: iStock.
The new law is welcomed by vets and animal charities. Image: iStock.

Microchipping a dog or a cat means inserting a chip, which is generally around the size of a grain of rice, under their skin. When that chip is scanned it can bring up the relevant contact details for the animal’s owner.

The cost of the procedure is usually around £25.

Under the new legislation, all owned cats and kittens must be microchipped before reaching 20 weeks of age with contact details stored and kept up to date through an approved pet microchipping database.

Those cat owners who have already had their animals microchipped are being urged to check that all contact information is up to date.

The government says the legislation, which brings cats in line with dog microchipping rules, has received overwhelming support from both the public, vets and animal charities.

Anyone now caught with an animal that doesn’t have a chip will be given 21 days to have one implanted before facing the fine.

The legislation brings cats in line with microchipping rules for dogs. Image: iStock.
The legislation brings cats in line with microchipping rules for dogs. Image: iStock.

Microchipping however is not compulsory for ‘free living cats’ that live with little human interaction or dependency, such as those on farms, feral animals or community cats.

British Veterinary Association president Anna Judson added: “Microchipping is a safe, simple technology that can have a big impact; enabling vets to reunite hundreds of lost, stray and stolen cats with their families each year, and allowing injured cats to be quickly identified and treated.

“If you have any concerns or are unsure if your cat needs to be chipped, please speak to your vet.”



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