Cats to be safer say government as microchipping deadline approaches

Lifestyle / Wed 5th Jun 2024 at 06:35am

CAT owners are today being urged to have their pets microchipped ahead of new legislation coming into force on 10 June to keep treasured pets safe.

The legal deadline was previously confirmed in legislation laid in March 2023, following a Government call for evidence and consultation on the issue in December 2020, in which 99% of respondents expressed support for the measure.

With the number of pet cats in England now more than 9 million, the introduction of mandatory microchipping will make it easier for lost or stray pet cats to be reunited with their owners and returned home safely. Microchipping is proven to be the most effective method for identifying lost pets, with microchipped dogs more than twice as likely to be reunited with their owner.

Microchips are safe and easy to implant with an average cost of around £25 for microchipping and registration. Often, charities and reputable cat rescue organisations may be able to microchip your cat for a reduced rate.

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.

The introduction of mandatory microchipping follows a public consultation where there was overwhelming support for the measure. Owned cats must be microchipped before reaching 20 weeks of age, with their contact details stored and kept up to date in a pet microchipping database.

UK Chief Veterinary Officer Christine Middlemiss said:
Microchipping is by far the most effective and quickest way of identifying lost pets. As we’ve seen with dog microchipping, those who are microchipped are more than twice as likely to be reunited with their owner.

I urge all owners to ensure their cat is microchipped before the legal deadline so they can increase the likelihood that they will be reunited with their beloved pet in the event of it going missing.

British Veterinary Association President Anna Judson said:
Microchipping is a safe, simple technology that can have a big impact; enabling vets to reunite hundreds of lost, stray and stolen cats with their families each year, and allowing injured cats to be quickly identified and treated. With the deadline for compulsory microchipping fast approaching we urge owners with unchipped cats to make an appointment with their practice today. If you have any concerns or are unsure if your cat needs to be chipped, please speak to your vet.

Battersea’s Head of Policy and Public Affairs, Michael Webb, said:
Last year more than two thirds of the cats brought to our centres were sadly not microchipped, making it incredibly difficult for us to trace an owner or help the cat return home.

Now that owners will be required to get their pet cats microchipped and keep their details up to date, rescues like Battersea can reunite more missing cats, and owners can avoid the devastation of losing their pet. We would urge anyone who hasn’t yet got their cat microchipped to do so as soon as possible ahead of the change in law next month. It’s a simple and painless procedure and an up-to-date microchip is the easiest way for missing pets to be reunited with their worried owners.

Alice Potter, Cat Welfare Expert at the RSPCA said:
We all want the best for our cats and microchipping them is a responsible and kind part of pet ownership as it means should your pet become lost, stolen, or injured, they can more easily be reunited with you.

In one month, cat microchipping becomes mandatory for all cat owners, so – as we strive to create a better world for every kind – we’d urge owners who haven’t got their cat microchipped yet to contact their vet to book an appointment.

Being on the frontline of animal rescue, we have seen cats coming into our care who are sadly not microchipped and may never be reunited with their owners. We’ve also rescued cats who have been microchipped, but the details haven’t been kept up-to-date which is arguably even more frustrating as it means cats spend a long time in our care whilst we fruitlessly try to contact the owner with out of date information. But we’ve also seen countless stories of cats who have been missing days, weeks, months, years and even decades, being reunited with their owners thanks to a tiny microchip – showing what this change of legislation will achieve for animal welfare.

Madison Rogers, Head of Advocacy, Campaigns and Government Relations for Cats Protection said:
With just one month to go, it’s vitally important that all pet cats are microchipped with the details kept up to date. It isn’t a question of just doing it because it’s the law. Microchipping a pet cat vastly improves the chances of a happy reunion should they go missing as it’s a safe and permanent means of identification that remains with a cat for their lifetime.

No matter how far from home they are found, or how long they have been missing, if a cat has a microchip there is a good chance they can be swiftly returned home.

This legislation forms part of wider work to reform microchipping and clamp down on pet theft by taking forward key recommendations from the Pet Theft Task Force. We recently announced reforms to the pet microchipping system including making microchip records easier to access, improving the accuracy of microchip information, and standardising database operator processes. We have also confirmed Government support for the Pet Abduction Bill.

This forms part of a wider Government effort to build on our existing world-leading animal welfare standards. Since publishing the Action Plan for Animal Welfare in 2021, we have brought in new laws to recognise animal sentience and introduced tougher penalties for animal cruelty offences.

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1 Comment for Cats to be safer say government as microchipping deadline approaches:

2024-06-05 07:34:36

People also need to realise that taking their loved pet to be chipped at the vet isn't always the end of it. They will be given an information pack and then they need to go home and register the details with a chipping company. Without doing this, the whole process is pointless and will not protect your cat or reunite if lost. The amount of unregistered chips in stray cats and dogs is nuts!

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