The law is changing: Cats to be Microchipped

Government to introduce compulsory cat microchipping to help reunite lost and stray pets

  • 99% of people support compulsory microchipping for cats according to recent Government consultation
  • Owners will be required to microchip their cats by the time they reach 20 weeks of age
  • Cats can be chipped for as little as £2, but expect to pay between £12 and £17 at commercial vet premises

Microchipping cats will help reunite thousands of lost or stray pets every year
Lost or stray pet cats are more likely to be reunited with their owners and returned home safely under new pet microchipping rules announced by the Government today.

Under the new plans, all keepers must ensure their pet is microchipped before they reach the age of 20 weeks and their contact details stored and kept up to date in a pet microchipping database. Owners of unchipped cats will have 21 days to have one implanted or may face a fine of up to £500.

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

The introduction of compulsory cat microchipping was a key manifesto commitment and the Government pledged to introduce it under its flagship Action Plan for Animal Welfare.

There are over 10.8 million pet cats in the UK, with as many as 2.8 million unchipped, meaning that it would be very difficult to reunite them with their owner if they get lost or stolen. Eight out of 10 stray cats coming into Cats Protection’s centres are not microchipped.

The simple procedure involves inserting a small chip with a unique serial number under a cat’s skin. This number can be read by a scanner and checked against a microchip database to help reunite lost pets quicker with their registered keeper, saving heartache and concern.

Animal Welfare Minister Lord Goldsmith said, “Cats are much-loved parts of our families and making sure that they’re microchipped is the best possible way of making sure that you are reunited with them if they are ever lost or stolen.

“These new rules will help protect millions of cats across the country and will be brought in alongside a range of other protections we are introducing under our Action Plan for Animal Welfare.”

Cats Protection’s Head of Advocacy & Government Relations Jacqui Cuff said, “As the UK’s leading cat charity, we have been at the forefront of the campaign for compulsory microchipping of pet cats. Every day, we see how important microchipping is for cats and for the people who love them – whether it’s reuniting a lost cat with their owner, identifying an injured cat, or helping to ensure an owner can be informed in the sad event that their cat has been hit and killed by a car.

“Microchipping is by far the most effective and quickest way of identifying lost cats and can help ease the pressure on rescue charities like Cats Protection. Without a microchip, a lost cat will most likely end up being rehomed to a new home as there is often no trace of their original owner.”

Earlier this year the Government also worked closely with the Royal College of Veterinary Surgeons to introduce new guidance which requires vets to scan the microchips of healthy dogs to help ensure they are not put down unnecessarily. In addition, the Government is also carrying out a review of the regulations on dog microchipping and the related microchipping database systems to consider whether improvements can be made.

The new cat microchipping rules will be implemented once this review has been completed ensuring that any changes to the operation of the microchipping regime are brought in at the same time as the new microchipping rules for cats.

The commitment to microchipping is part of a wider Government effort to build on our existing world-leading standards and follows a number of recent announcements aimed at improving companion animal welfare, including tackling puppy smuggling in the Animal Welfare (Kept Animals) Bill and introducing a new pet abduction offence to crack down on theft.

Vets4Pets, with an outlet inside PetsatHome in Dunstable, has a website that says, “A microchip is a small device about the size of a grain of rice. The microchip is inserted under your cat’s skin, between their shoulder blades, via a quick injection. Once inserted, a cat cannot feel the microchip and the special capsule around it means that it does not break down and is designed to last your pet’s lifetime.

“The microchip is coded with a unique number that can be read by a scanner. Microchips do not store personal data – this is kept against the unique identification number on a secure database. If your cat is found and scanned, the microchip database is accessed online and the organisation that has your cat, for example the veterinary surgery, a rescue centre or the police, can use the number to find your details. You can then be contacted and your pet safely reunited with you.”

Book your cat microchip at Vets4Pets  White Lion Retail Park, Inside Pets at Home, Luton Rd, Dunstable LU5 4RF

Icknield Veterinary Group
Luton Surgery
1 Brook St, Luton LU3 1DS Tel: 01582 727571

Dunstable Surgery
25A Princes St, Dunstable LU6 3AS Tel: 01582 471177

Harpenden Surgery
367 Luton Rd, Harpenden AL5 3LZTel: 01582 460158

Noah’s Ark Veterinary Clinic Website
54 High St S, Dunstable LU6 3HD Tel: 01582 606466

Adopt a Cat from Homeless Cat Rescue Bedfordshire

All cats and kittens from Homeless Cat Rescue Bedfordshire over the age of 12 weeks are microchipped before going to their new homes. All their cats for rehoming stay at foster homes until permanent homes are found. 

Cats Protection Luton

Telephone: 0345 371 2746

Cat Welfare Luton


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