New U.K. Law Requires Pet Owners To Microchip Their Cats Or Face Hefty Fines
Cats in the U.K. will soon have an easier time being reunited with owners thanks to a new compulsory microchipping law.
Under the law, cat owners will be required to have their pets microchipped or face a fine of up to £500.
According to a UK government press release, the legislation was laid out in parliament on March 13, 2023, and gives owners until June 10, 2024, to microchip their cats before facing penalties.
Per the press release, the new law will require cats to be microchipped before they reach 20 weeks of age. Along with the microchipping, owners must store and keep their contact information up-to-date in a microchipping database.
Owners who fail to microchip their pets by 20 weeks of age will have 21 days to comply with the law before they face a hefty fine.
According to the press release, England is home to more than 9 million pet cats, with as many as 2.3 million being unchipped. In the event a cat is lost or stolen, having a microchip can be the difference between that cat being adopted out to a new family, spending years in a shelter, and/or being euthanized or making it back home to his or her family.
Having a microchip with up-to-date information allows veterinarians and animal shelter staff to easily contact a pet’s owner if that animal shows up lost.
The Chief Veterinary Officer, Christine Middlemiss, said in the press release:
“I am pleased that we are progressing with our requirement for all cats to be microchipped. 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. By getting their cat microchipped, owners can increase the likelihood that they will be reunited with their beloved pet in the event of it going missing.”
The new compulsory microchipping law for cats is part of the U.K.’s Action Plan for Animal Welfare that was introduced in 2021 with the aim of improving the welfare and conservation of animals at home and abroad.
Ensuring every pet cat is microchipped will prevent cats with loving homes from living as strays or being wrongfully euthanized or detained in shelters.
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