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Is it compulsory to microchip your cat?

It is not compulsory at the moment in the U.K. to have your cat microchipped.

However, be warned, there is a chance you’ll have to do it sooner, rather than later. Government officials have already begun drawing up plans to introduce compulsory microchipping for cats. The move is in a bid to cut back on the ever-increasing theft of cats and to help identify pets who are killed on UK roads. It is already compulsory for owners to have their cats microchipped when travelling out of the U.K. via the Pet Travel Scheme, yet it is not compulsory for cat owners in general.

The microchip itself is tiny, in fact, it is smaller than a grain of rice, and is injected under the cat’s skin, usually in the neck area. Each chip has an individual serial number which is then registered on a national database containing the owner’s contact details making it much easier for a cat to be identified and returned to their rightful owner.

Possible fines for cat owners who don’t comply

A consultation period on the proposed Bill ended in January and, were it to go ahead, the dates for the microchipped cats Bill to be introduced would have been early summer. The current coronavirus may postpone that date, but animal charities believe it won’t be too long away. The rules for microchipping cats would be very similar to the current legislation surrounding dogs. Back in 2016 dog owners who didn’t microchip their dogs were fined up to £500 for refusing to do so. Today, animal charities report that around 92 per cent of dogs are now microchipped.

A spokesman for the government’s Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (Defra), said having microchipped cats would give the animal’s owner “peace of mind.”

“This Government has always urged cat owners to microchip their pets as the right thing to do… and is now taking steps to introduce compulsory cat microchipping to give pet owners peace of mind, help tackle cat theft and identify cats injured or killed on roads.”

One of the proposals in the consultation involved council officials having the right to test and seize unchipped cats. They would then take them to a vet to get chipped and later issue the pet’s owner with a £25 fine.

Only two out of 10 lost cats are microchipped

Figures from Cat Protection, the UK-wide charity, say that only two out of every 10 cats brought to their shelters and microchipped and able to be returned instantly to their grateful owners.

But even if you have a microchipped cat, it’s not enough to simply get it done then forget to update details when you later move home – as Paula Boyden, veterinary director at the charity Dogs Trust explained. She was referring to the fact that 69 per cent of microchipped dogs brought to Dogs Trust, had details that were wrong. This was because dog owners hadn’t bothered to update either mobile phone numbers or their new address.

“We see first-hand the heartbreak that dog owners suffer when they are separated from their pets, as well as the joy of being reunited,” she said.

“This is why it is so important that owners keep their details up to date.”

Keep your cat safe and – at the same time – give them the freedom to wander the outdoors by considering installing a cat flap from

 

 

 

 

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