As we all know it’s compulsory for owners to have their dogs microchipped, and the government have now decided that as of the 10th of June 2024 it is to be the same for cats!
As with dogs, cats aren’t just pets; they’re family members. So, it’s becoming increasingly common for owners to take additional steps to keep their feline friends safe.
Why has this law been introduced:
The main aim of this government legislation is to help reunite thousands of lost pets and strays every year and make it easier for vets to identify lost cats and kittens that have been handed in to them. Along with existing laws surrounding canine microchipping, this new law is part of a wider effort to protect our furry friends and to also introduce tougher penalties for animal cruelty.
There are over 9 million pet cats in the UK and as many as 2.3 million are unchipped. It is reported that around 80% of stray cats that are taken to Cats Protection centres are not microchipped, which means many are never reunited with their families, which is such a heartbreaking thought. Microchipping is one of the quickest and most effective ways of identifying a pet and will ensure that if a lost cat is found, it can be reunited with its loving family.
What does this mean for cat owners:
Under the new law, all owners must ensure their cat is microchipped before they reach the age of 20 weeks which will be effective from the 10th of June 2024. Owners found not to have microchipped their cat will have 21 days to have a chip implanted, or you may face a fine of up to £500!
This quick and painless procedure involves a small chip, that is about the size of a grain of rice, being implanted under the cat’s skin. This chip holds a unique serial number, specific to your cat. This number will then be logged against your pet’s details on a national database, meaning if the chip is ever scanned, the number can be linked directly back to you.
It has been confirmed that chipping will not be compulsory for free living cats that live with little or no human interaction, such as community cats. If your cat is already microchipped, then make sure all your details are up to date! As this is a new legislation that has been passed, we would suggest keeping an eye on the government website for any updates and / or changes that may be relevant to you and your cat.
How do I get my cat microchipped?
You can arrange for your furry friend to have this simple procedure done at your local vet practice, or if you have a Pet Health Plan, it will be included within your plan benefits! Take a look at our participating practices to find a vet near you offering Pet Health Plans.