New cat microchipping laws: what it means for you

We want to help make sure you are ready for compulsory cat microchipping...

25th October 2023

Dog owners have been required by law to have their pooch microchipped since 2016, helping lost and stray dogs return home to their family. Unfortunately, this is not quite the same for our cats. There are currently over 10.8 million pet cats in the UK, with as many as 2.8 million unchipped, meaning that it would be very difficult to reunite them with their families if they ever became separated. But things are soon to change…

Under new legislation, owners in England will have until 10th June 2024 to microchip their cats and register them on a government approved database. So, what does this mean for you and your feline friend and how can you get ahead of the new law? 

What do we know about the cat microchipping law?

In 2021, the government announced plans to make cat microchipping mandatory. We were delighted! Finally, our feline friends were going to be offered the same level of protection as our canine companions.  

It will now be a legal requirement for all owners to have their cat chipped by the time they're 20-weeks old. You have until 10th June 2024 to get them microchip your cat, but the sooner the better for you and your cat. 

What do I need to do?

To make sure you are ready for compulsory cat microchipping, you need to:

  1. Make sure your cat is microchipped (before they’re 20 weeks old if they’re a kitten).
  2. Find a microchip database to store your information.
  3. Keep your details up to date.
  4. Let us know your cat’s microchip number so we can keep this safe for you.

What happens if my cat isn’t microchipped in time? 

If your cat is found not have a microchip, you will have 21 days to get one implanted. If, after the 21 days, your cat is still not microchipped, you’ll face up to a £500 fine.

Remember: You can expect to pay anywhere between £20 and £30 to get your cat microchipped, depending on where you live. So, don’t be left out of pocket with a fine. 

Why should I microchip my cat?

Eight out of 10 stray cats coming into Cats Protection’s centres are not microchipped, meaning they’re possibly rehomed instead of being reunited with their owners. A microchip helps provide a happier ending to the pets that are separated from their owners. 

While your cat might wear a collar and tag that carry your details, these can easily break, fall off or be removed. A microchip can't be removed easily, so your details will always be with your cat. 

It also encourages responsible pet ownership, ensuring that people are held accountable when necessary. 

So, get the date in your diary or jot it down on your calendar and get your cat booked in with your vet to get the microchipped. If you’re still unsure, learn more about microchipping cats, and the best databases to store their details. 

Read our cat blog!

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