Cat owners have been warned to microchip their pets or face a £500 fine.
Under new government rules, cat owners have been warned to microchip their pets or face a £500 fine.
The proposals were first set out in the 2019 Conservative Party manifesto and have now been approved.
Owners must get their cats microchipped before they reach 20 weeks old.
Up to 2.8 million cats in the UK aren’t chipped, about a quarter of the country’s 10.8 million cats, and this new law will make sure the animal can be reunited with its owners if they become lost, stolen and resold.
According to a report from the UK’s biggest feline welfare charity, Cats Protection, 80 per cent of stray cats that come into its centres have not been microchipped. The issue may have gotten worse with many people buying cats during the pandemic.
During the pandemic, the theft of pets also increased with the number of cats stolen soaring by 12.3 per cent through the year until April this year.
Bengal, Siamese, British Shorthair and Maine Coon are the most commonly stolen cats in the UK due to their value and used for breeding or resale as pedigree kittens can sell for £500 each.
The new legislation was backed by 99 per cent of respondents to a Whitehall consultation and state that owners must chip their cats and make sure that their contact details are up-to-date in a database.
Lord Goldsmith of Richmond Park, the animal welfare minister, said: “Cats are much-loved parts of our families and making sure that they’re microchipped is the best possible way of making sure that you are reunited with them if they are ever lost or stolen.”
He said that the new rules would help protect “millions of cats” and are being brought in along with a variety of other animal welfare protections from the Government.
Head of advocacy at Cats Protection Jacqui Cuff said: “Every day, we see how important microchipping is for cats and for the people who love them – whether it’s reuniting a lost cat with their owner, identifying an injured cat, or helping to ensure an owner can be informed in the sad event that their cat has been hit and killed by a car.”
“Microchipping is by far the most effective and quickest way of identifying lost cats and can help ease the pressure on rescue charities like Cats Protection. Without a microchip, a lost cat will most likely end up being rehomed to a new home as there is often no trace of their original owner.”
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