New cat microchip law could see you face a £500 fine

Following a consultation, cat owners must microchip their cats. If you have a cat, here’s what you need to do and by when.

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Following a consultation, cat owners must microchip their cats. If they don’t, it could result in a £500 fine. The decision was reached after 99% of people who responded to a government consultation agreed that cat microchipping should be made compulsory.


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What does the new cat microchip law mean for my cat?

Under the proposed new law, if you own a cat, you must have it microchipped by the time it is 20 weeks old. Much like dog microchipping, it will mean your contact details will be stored on a database.

If your cat isn’t microchipped, you’ll have 21 days to get it done. And if you don’t, you could be hit with a fine of up to £500.

Why is the government bringing in new cat microchip rules?

The Cats Protection charity says that eight out of ten strays they see are unchipped. As a result, it’s often almost impossible to reunite owners with their feline friends. Not only is that a huge loss for cat owners whose curious moggies have wandered too far it’s also a strain for animal charities too.

However, despite almost universal support for mandatory cat microchipping, some consultation respondents disagreed. Their argument was that cats don’t pose the same danger or nuisance as dogs (which must already be microchipped by law).

When will the new cat microchip law come into effect?

The Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs is aiming to introduce the new law in 2022. The year-long gap between proposal and enactment is the same as it was for dog microchipping and will enable cat owners to organise microchipping in good time.

The new law will only apply to cats that are owned. The assumption is that this will make it easier to identify feral cats whose population can then be monitored and controlled.

Where can I get my cat microchipped and how much will it cost?

You can get your cat microchipped by your vet or at some stores like Pets at Home. Costs will vary but Cats Protection estimate it will set you back between £20 and £30. But, if you can’t afford to have your cat microchipped, the charity suggests speaking to your vet or a reputable animal rescue organisation. In some instances, they may offer to lower the cost.

The chipping procedure is relatively minor and is no more invasive than giving them their annual jabs. The chip itself is about the size of a grain of rice.


What happens if you move home?

If you move, you can simply update the microchip database with your new address. All you need to do is contact the brand database your cat is registered on.

The brand of chip used will be on your cat’s microchip paperwork. Alternatively, you can get it from the vet that completed the work or look it up using a search tool from Petlog.  

If you adopt a cat from an animal shelter, it’s likely to be microchipped already. If that’s the case, your vet will be able to confirm this if you don’t have all of the cat’s paperwork.

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