The government said that under new cat rules, owners must ensure their pet is microchipped before they reach the age of 20 weeks. If they don’t comply with the regulation, they could face a £500 fine
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Cat owners could face a £500 fine if their pet is not microchipped under a new law being introduced by the government.
The new rule, announced today, aims to create a database of pets so they can be reunited with their owners if they are lost, stolen or resold.
Under new plans, all cat owners must ensure their pet is microchipped before they reach the age of 20 weeks.
Their contact details should then be stored and kept up to date in a pet microchipping database, the government said.
Owners found not to have microchipped their cat will have 21 days to have one implanted and may face a fine of up to £500 if they do not comply with the regulation.
There are over 10.8 million pet cats in the UK and as many as 2.8 million unchipped.
According to Pet Theft Awareness, cat thefts nearly tripled between 2015 and last year, and rose by 12.3 per cent between March 2020 and March 2021.
The government hopes that inserting a small chip with a unique serial number under a cat’s skin will help owners be reunited with their lost pets.
The number can be read by a scanner and checked against a microchip database to help reunite lost pets quicker with their registered keeper.
The cost of microchipping is usually between £20 and £30 and the procedure is not painful for the animals, according to the charity Cats Protection.
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.”
According to recent government consultation, 99% of people support compulsory microchipping for cats.
The government said it is reviewing the dog microchipping rules and database systems and that the cat rules will be introduced once the review is completed.
George Holan is chief editor at Plainsmen Post and has articles published in many notable publications in the last decade.