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Mandatory Microchipping: All you need to know

As we all know it is compulsory for us to have our dogs microchipped, and the government have now decided that as of the 10th of June 2024, microchipping will be mandatory for cats!

As with dogs, cats aren’t just pets; they’re family members. So, it is becoming increasingly common that owners are looking to take additional steps to prevent such losses. The main aim of this government legislation is to help reunite thousands of lost pets with their owners. However, it will also make it easier to identify cats that may be involved in an accident, and are then subsequently brought into the vets without an owner present.

There are over 9 million pet cats in the UK and as many as 2.3 million are unchipped! It is reported that 8 out of 10 stray cats that get taken to Cats Protection centres, are not microchipped, which means many cats are sadly never reunited with their families. Microchipping is one of the quickest and most effective way of identifying a pet, which is why it is so important to get your cat chipped!

This law is effective from the 10th of June 2024 and any owners found not to have microchipped their cat will have 21 days to have a chip implanted, or you may face a fine of up to £500. Under the new legislation, all owners must ensure their cat is microchipped before they reach the age of 20 weeks, so if you are planning on welcoming home a new pet kitten, they must be chipped before they reach this age.

The procedure is quick and over with very fast. It is a simple implantation that involves a small chip, about the size of a grain of rice, being fitted under the cat’s skin. This then holds a unique serial number that is specific to that microchip. This number will then be logged against your pets details on a national database, meaning if the chip is ever scanned, the number can be linked directly back to you. If you need to arrange an appointment to microchip your cat, you can contact your local vet, or if you have a Vetsure Pet Health Plan, microchipping will be included in your plan benefits.

It has been confirmed that it will not be compulsory for free living cats that live with little or no human interaction, for example, feral or community cats. If your cat is already microchipped, then make sure all your details are up to date.

The previous microchipping laws being set for dogs and now these new ones for cats are part of a wider effort to recognise the fact that animals have the capacity to experience feelings and also introduce tougher penalties for animal cruelty. As this is a new legislation that has been passed, we would suggest keeping an eye on the government website for any updates and / or changes that may be relevant to you and your cat.