Cat owners to face fine of up to £500 if pets are not microchipped

Charlotte de Mouzon discusses human interactions with cats

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Cat owners will have to pay a fine of £500 if they fail to get their pet microchipped under legislation being set out in Parliament on Monday. According to the new rules, cats must be implanted with a microchip before they reach 20 weeks, and owners’ contact details have to be kept up-to-date.

The move will help in identifying the pets if they go missing, the Ministers said.

England’s Chief Veterinary Officer, Christine Middlemiss, said animals who have had this done are twice as likely to be reunited with their owners if they go missing.

The Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (Defra) said 99 percent of people who responded to a consultation on the matter were in favour.

Ms 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 have seen with dog microchipping, those who are microchipped are more than twice as likely to be reunited with their owner.”

And Madison Rogers from charity Cats Protection, said she was “delighted” the new law is moving forward.

She said: “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.”

There are approximately nine million pet cats in England, out of which around 2.3 million are thought to be unchipped.

Environment Secretary Therese Coffey said in a statement that losing a pet can be “devastating”, and added: “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.”

All cat owners will be required to have their cat microchipped by June 10, 2024.

The owners will be given 21 days to have the chip implanted if the cats are found to be without the equipment. 

Microchipping involves inserting a chip – which is usually around the size of a grain of rice – under the skin of a pet.

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The keeper will have to register the unique serial number on the chip on a national database.

If an animal is found, the chip can be read with a scanner and the registered keeper identified on a database so the pet can quickly be reunited with them.

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