3 Million Cats’ Owners Face £500 Fine: New Law Requires Microchipping for All Cats in England

3 million cats’ owners face £500 fine

With an estimated 11 million pet cats currently living in the UK, it’s safe to say we are a nation of cat lovers. As of 10 June 2024, it will become law for all cat owners in England to have their feline friend microchipped, leaving millions up and down the country just 12 months to abide by the new law.

At present, 75% of cats across the UK are microchipped, leaving 25% of the population, nearly 3 million cats without a microchip.

By 10 June 2024, owners found without their cat microchipped will have just 21 days to have one implanted. After the 21 days, owners may then face a fine of up to £500.

The 2023 PDSA Animal Wellbeing (PAW) Report revealed that 67% of cat owners are unaware that the new legislation will mean that all cats in England must be microchipped.

PDSA Vet, Lynne James said: “Microchipping is a one off cost, which provides a lifetime of security for pet owners. We strongly recommend all cats are microchipped before they start going outside. Even if your cat prefers the indoor life, microchipping provides an extra safety net, should they manage to escape and become lost.”

Lynne shares her advice for the most frequently asked questions about microchipping:

Why microchip your cat?

Microchipping ensures any lost or stolen cats have the best chance of being reunited with their owners as quickly as possible. Microchips are implanted under your cat’s skin between the shoulder blades – it a very quick procedure that takes just a few seconds. The best part, a single microchip should last for your cat’s lifetime, so there’s no need to think about it again once it’s done.

How to get your cat microchipped?

Microchips can be implanted by vets, vet nurses and people who have been specially trained. Many vets will have appointments available to get your cat microchipped, but it’s important to plan ahead and book an appointment well in advance of June next year, as there may be a waiting list, or limited appointments.

When to get your cat microchipped?

Whilst there is no minimum age to have your cat microchipped, it is important to get it done before your cat goes outside for the first time. Younger cats are often microchipped at the same time as neutering, but for older pets, the procedure can usually be done in an appointment. The new legislation states that cats must be microchipped by 20 weeks of age.

Will microchipping hurt my cat?

Like any injection, microchipping can cause a tiny amount of discomfort but fortunately it is a very quick procedure that just takes a few seconds. Most pets barely notice it and they can be easily distracted with a treat after the procedure.

What is the cost of microchipping a cat?

Costs do vary, but microchipping is usually around £10-£30 per pet. Some veterinary clinics and charities such as Cats Protection offer discounted microchipping schemes alongside neutering. It’s best to research what is available in your area to find the best option for you and your pet.

Do I need to microchip my indoor cat?

The legislation will apply to all pet cats in England. Even if your cat stays indoors, it’s a good idea to make sure they have a microchip, in case they ever manage to sneak out and get lost. It’s all too easy for a window or door to be accidentally left open, especially in the summer, and a microchip will help to ensure you can be reunited.

Lynne added: “It is really important that owners are aware of which database their pet’s microchip is registered to so they are able to keep their details up to date. Moving address or getting a new phone number are simple, but vital changes for the microchip database, should your cat become lost or stolen.

“In our latest PAW Report, 60% of veterinary professionals told us that they had experienced owners’ details not being up to date on microchip databases, which could make the difference between an owner being reunited with their pet or very sadly, not.” 

If your pet is already microchipped, you can check which database they are registered to on the Check a Chip website.

For more information about cat microchipping, please visit PDSA’s website.

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2 thoughts on “3 Million Cats’ Owners Face £500 Fine: New Law Requires Microchipping for All Cats in England

  1. mary mcneil says:

    I hope there is some plan in place to help owners who may be in financial straits to get this done, rather than hitting them with a fine afterwards. ..similar to the low-cost spay & neuter programs available in some areas.

  2. angela1313 says:

    I do hope someone will come up with a scheme to help lower income people get the chipping done. And yes that bit about keeping the information up to date is important. Someone found a cat in Texas with a microchip no one could trace. Someone who knew German recognized it was a German chip. But the contact info was still for Germany. We figured he belonged to a military family. They went to all the trouble of bringing him to Texas but didn’t keep up his data.

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