Cat microchipping to be made mandatory

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.

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 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 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 Action Plan for Animal Welfare.

There are over 10.8 million pet cats in the UK, with as many as 2.8m unchipped, meaning that it would be very difficult to reunite them with their owner if they get lost or stolen – 80% of stray cats that go 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.

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.”

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