The UK’s biggest cat charity – which has led the campaign for compulsory microchipping of pet cats – has welcomed the news that the measure will become law next year.
Cats Protection has been calling for all owned cats to be microchipped since the measure was first introduced for dogs back in 2016.
The Government’s announcement on 13 March means that all pet cats in England must be microchipped from 10 June 2024.
Cats Protection’s research shows that across the UK, 2.8 million (26%) cats are not microchipped. In England – where the new law will apply – there are 2.3 million cats that are not microchipped.
The charity’s Head of Advocacy, Campaigns & Government Relations Madison Rogers said the new regulations was a major step forward for feline welfare in England, but said the charity will continue to campaign for the measure to be introduced in Wales, Scotland and Northern Ireland.
She said: “After many years of campaigning, Cats Protection is delighted that cats in England will finally be given the same protection as dogs when it comes to microchipping. Our branches and centres regularly reunite owners with their much-loved pets, and in most cases this is only possible thanks to microchips. 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 that a lost cats will be swiftly returned home.
“While this is brilliant news for cat welfare, the new law will only apply in England, risking cats in the rest of the UK being left behind. Animal lovers will rightly want to see cats given the same protection in Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland so we’re urging politicians to work quickly to make sure this happens as soon as possible.”
Colin Clayton and wife Eva Bellamy, of Birmingham, were finally reunited with their lost cat Big Ginge ten years after the moggy went missing from the couple’s narrowboat home in 2011.
Colin said: “It was very upsetting when Ginge went missing, and as the months went by we assumed he must have died. It turns out he was very much alive although we don’t know where he was or what he was up to for most of that time. Eventually he was reported to Cats Protection and taken in as a stray, when his true identity was discovered thanks to a quick scan of his microchip.
“We were absolutely thrilled to get him back – it may have taken a long time, but it is better late than never. He immediately settled back to home life, and now it’s like he’s never been gone.
“When we had Ginge microchipped as a kitten, we didn’t even think twice. As far as we’re concerned, it’s just part of the package of pet ownership, like buying cat food. The cost is a tiny fraction of how much you need to spend on a pet during their lifetime, and Ginge’s story shows that it really is money well spent.”
Cats Protection, the UK’s leading feline welfare charity, has helped an average of 166,000 cats and kittens a year over the last five years through its national network which includes around 210 volunteer-run branches and 34 centres.