Currently, cats do not have to be microchipped by law in the UK, but that’s about to change. Cat microchipping is set to become compulsory in 2022, with new legislation due to be passed in the coming months. Our team at Clent Hills Vets has been following this story throughout and has put together some helpful information for you below.
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Why cat microchipping is being made compulsory
The compulsory microchipping of cats is being brought in following a sharp rise in cat thefts. Police data shows the number of cats being stolen rose almost threefold in five years, and over 12% in the last year alone. Demand for cats shot up during lockdown when millions of households wanted new pets. Some cat breeds are being sold for £2,000, making them even more attractive to thieves.
There are currently over 10 million pet cats living in the UK. Around 70% of cats have already been microchipped, which means over 2 million cats are still without. Compulsory microchipping for cats would resemble the current law for dogs, which comes with a £500 fine for non-compliance.
What cat microchipping involves:
A microchip (about the same size as a grain of rice) is inserted just under the skin.
Cat microchips are completely safe and made to last.
The procedure is like having a vaccination and no recovery time is needed. Kittens & puppies are normally microchipped at their first vaccination, but pets can be microchipped at any time.
There’s no age limit, but our head vet, Alun Edwards, recommends that kittens should be microchipped, neutered and vaccinated before they venture outside.
Each cat microchip comes with a unique code, which can be scanned at a vet practice like ours, and some animal welfare centres.
Your contact information is stored on a pet microchip database and can be matched to your cat when scanned, providing you keep it up to date.
Why you need to microchip your cat
Besides the new microchipping law, cats are at risk of theft, getting lost, being taken for ‘looking lost', and road traffic accidents. When cats are brought into our veterinary practice with no microchip or ID tag, it can be impossible to trace the owners.
‘Lost & found cats’ must either be handed to a rehoming centre (after receiving emergency care if injured) or taken to a pet cremation service if deceased. Owners are often left without knowing what happened to their beloved pet.
Clent Hills' vets and nurses always recommend cats should be microchipped to give them the best chance of being reunited with their owner should the unthinkable happen.
The wider animal welfare plan
Enforced cat microchipping is part of a new wide-ranging animal welfare plan that is currently being worked on. This plan will also formally recognise the sentience of pets and livestock, enshrining in law that animals have the capacity to feel hunger and pain and are aware of what is happening to them. This will change how animals can be treated in the UK.
Get ahead of this new law and give your cat the best chance of being reunited with you, by booking their microchip appointment today.