Cat being scanned

Cat Microchipping to be Made Compulsory

The UK government will be going ahead with new rules to ensure cat owners have their cat’s microchipped before they turn 20 weeks old or face a £500 fine.

Under these new rules set by the UK government, cat owners must have their cat’s microchipped before they reach 20 weeks old and their contact details must be stored and kept up to date in a microchip database company. If owners do not have their cat microchipped, they will have 21 days to get it done or face a fine of up to £500.

There are currently around 10.8 million pet cats in the UK, however around 3 million of these are not microchipped, making it difficult for owners to find their lost or stolen cats. A survey from the Cats Protection showed that eight out of ten stray cats that came into their centres were not microchipped.

These new rules were made after a government consultation on ‘Cat and dog microchipping and scanning in England’ showed that 99% of responses support the compulsory microchipping of cats. It was also a key commitment in the new ‘Action plan for animal welfare’ led by environment secretary George Eustice where they pledge to improve welfare for pets by introducing compulsory microchipping for cats, alongside many other initiatives.

Microchipping Q&A

Why should I get my cat microchipped?

Microchipping gives your cat the best chance of being located and reunited with you if it is lost or stolen. Cats Protection’s Head of Advocacy & Government Relations Jacqui Cuff said: “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.”

Where can I get my cat microchipped?

Your cats must be microchipped by someone who is qualified to carry out the procedure. They can be implanted by both vets and veterinary nurses. However; if you chose to use somewhere such as a grooming parlour or rescue centre, you must ensure the person carrying this out is qualified.

How much does it cost?

The cost of microchipping can vary all over the UK, depending on where you live it can be anywhere between £10 – £30. Some vet surgeries, charities and rescue centres will sometimes have special offers or do it for a reduced cost.

How is the procedure carried out?

The microchip is implanted into your cat’s skin via injection, it is placed between their shoulder blades. The injection is a quick procedure and as the chip is so small it doesn’t cause any pain or discomfort. The chip contains a unique number, which is scanned and can help to match up the missing cat to their owners.

How do I register my cats’ microchip?

Once your cat is microchipped, the professional that has carried out the procedure will ask for your contact details including name, address, phone number, emergency contacts and your cats’ details. These details will be given to a UK government approved microchip database company and you must ensure you keep these up to date.

How long do they last?

They should last your cats entire lifetime, however if they do become faulty, the professional who carried out the procedure can insert a new one for free.

What do I do if my cat is lost or stolen?

If your cat gets lost or is stolen, then you must contact your microchip database company straight away and they will report this and will contact you if your cat is found. If you’re unsure what your microchip database is then you can enter your cat’s unique microchip number online and it will find your data base to contact. For further information on what to do if you pet goes missing you can check out this blog on our page What to do if your pet goes missing? | We Love Pets.