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Cat owners could be fined £500 under new ‘compulsory’ microchipping law

Statistics show there are over 10.8 million pet cats in the UK, with as many as 2.8 million of those un-chipped.

Emily Sergeant Emily Sergeant - 9th December 2021

The government has announced that a new compulsory microchipping law for cats is set to be introduced in the UK.

Under the new plans – which were proposed this week – all cat owners must ensure their pet is microchipped and their contact details are stored before they reach the age of 20 weeks, and must keep them up to date in a pet microchipping database.

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Owners found not to have microchipped their cat will have 21 days to have one implanted, or may face a fine of up to £500.

The new microchipping rules – which the government says will mean that lost or stray pet cats are more likely to be reunited with their owners and returned home safely – is said to follow a call for evidence and consultation on the issue by the government, where 99% of respondents supported the measure.

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According to recent statistics, there are over 10.8 million pet cats in the UK, with as many as 2.8 million of those un-chipped.

Eight out of 10 stray cats coming into Cats Protection’s centres are also not microchipped.

Speaking on the new mandatory law, Lord Goldsmith – Animal Welfare Minister – 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.

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“These new rules will help protect millions of cats across the country.”

Jacqui Cuff – Head of Advocacy & Government Relations at Cats Protection – added: “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.”

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There are over 10.8 million pet cats in the UK, with as many as 2.8 million of those un-chipped / Credit: Flickr

The government has said it is also carrying out a review of the regulations on dog microchipping, and the related microchipping database systems – which has been the subject of much critique by vets, pet owners, and animal welfare campaigners over the years and in recent days – to consider whether improvements can be made.

The new cat microchipping rules will be implemented once this review has completed.

According to the government, this will ensure that any changes to the operation of the microchipping regime are brought in at the same time as the new microchipping rules for cats.

Featured Image – Unsplash