New legislation orders mandatory microchipping for all pet cats in England

New legislation orders mandatory microchipping for all pet cats in England

New legislation has been introduced in Parliament today, on 13 March 2023, requiring mandatory microchipping for all pet cats in England.

The government has fulfilled its key manifesto pledge to make cat microchipping compulsory.

The new rules will help reunite thousands of lost or stray cats with their owners every year.

The owners have until 10 June 2024 to have their cats microchipped.

The legislation is aimed at making it easier for lost or stray pet cats to be reunited with their owners and returned home safely.

There are over 9 million pet cats in England, with as many as 2.3 million unchipped, making it very difficult to reunite them with their owners if they get lost or stolen.

The introduction of compulsory cat microchipping was a manifesto commitment and an Action Plan for Animal Welfare pledge.

The new rules mean cats must be implanted with a microchip before they reach the age of 20 weeks, and their contact details stored and kept up to date in a pet microchipping database.

All owners must have their cat microchipped by 10 June 2024, and 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 commitment to microchipping is part of a wider government effort to build on existing world-leading standards.

Since publishing the Action Plan for Animal Welfare in 2021, the government has brought in new laws to recognise animal sentience, introduced tougher penalties for animal cruelty offences, and brought forward a ban on glue traps.

The process of microchipping involves the insertion of a chip, generally around the size of a grain of rice, under the skin of a pet.

The microchip has a unique serial number that the keeper needs to register on a database.

When an animal is found, the microchip can be read with a scanner, and the registered keeper identified on a database, so the pet can quickly be reunited with them.

Cats Protection’s Head of Advocacy, Campaigns & Government Relations, Madison Rogers, said that the charity is delighted that pet cats in England will be given the same protection as dogs when it comes to microchipping.

The charity regularly reunites owners with their much-loved cats, and in most cases, this is only possible thanks to microchips.

It will not be compulsory for free-living cats that live with little or no human interaction or dependency, such as farm, feral, or community cats.

Owners with cats that are already microchipped should ensure their details are up to date.

The environment secretary, Thérèse Coffey, said that legislating for compulsory microchipping of cats will give comfort to families by increasing the likelihood that lost or stray pets can be reunited with their owners.

Chief Veterinary Officer, Christine Middlemiss, added that microchipping is by far the most effective and quickest way of identifying lost pets.

Read More On The Topic On TDPel Media