Cat microchipping to be compulsory from next year

Vet owner holding cat

All pet cats in England will have to be microchipped from the middle of next year.

The UK government is introducing legislation that will require owners to ensure their cat is microchipped by 10 June 2024. The new rules mean cats must be implanted with a microchip before they reach the age of 20 weeks, with the owner’s contact details stored and kept up to date in a pet microchipping database.

It has been a legal requirement for dogs since April 2016 and animal welfare organisations have long campaigned for similar rules to be introduced for cats. Cats Protection, Battersea Dogs & Cats Home and the RSPCA welcomed the confirmation that microchipping cats would soon become a legal requirement in England.

“Our branches and centres regularly reunite owners with their much-loved pets, and in most cases this is only possible thanks to microchips,” said Madison Rogers, head of Advocacy, Campaigns & Government Relations at Cats Protection. “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.”

The charity will continue to campaign for cats to be given the same protection in Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland.

Research by Cats Protection shows that across the UK, 26% of cats (2.8 million) are not microchipped. In England — where the new law will apply — there are 2.3 million cats that are not microchipped.

Once the law takes effect, owners found not to have microchipped their cat will be given 21 days to have one implanted, or may face a fine of up to £500.

Michael Webb, Battersea’s head of Policy & Public Affairs, said: “We would urge cat owners to get their pet microchipped as soon as they can. It’s a simple and painless procedure and an up-to-date microchip is the easiest way to get your pet back quickly and safely should they go missing.”

Ross Hallifax, Affinity Director at Purely Pets adds: “We believe the recent government announcement that microchipping will be compulsory for cats from June 2024 is fantastic news for cat owners. With over 2 million cats in the UK unchipped and having seen the benefits of compulsory microchipping for dogs, this change in law will mean thousands more missing or strayed cats can be reunited with their owners. Once this law is compulsory, policy owners must be aware that they will need to adhere to this, alongside already existing UK laws to be eligible for cover.”

Make sure you can give your cat the care they need if they get sick or injured with cat insurance from Purely Pets. Choose from 15 levels of Lifetime cover, with payments made direct to your vet.

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