How do I get my cat microchipped and how much does it cost?

Pet owners in England must have their cats microchipped under new laws introduced on 10 June.

File photo dated 27/02/18 of domesticated pet kittens. The Stormont Executive has been urged to make the microchipping of pet cats a legal requirement. The call from animal welfare charities comes after new legislation will see cat owners in England risk a £500 fine if they do not microchip their pets. More than a quarter of 300,000 pet cats in Northern Ireland are not microchipped, according to the Cats And Their Stats 2023 report by Cats Protection. Issue date: Monday June 10, 2024.
Pet cats in England must be microchipped under new laws. (PA)

New laws have come into force on Monday which mean cat owners must have their pet microchipped or face a fine.

It is now mandatory for every pet cat in England to be chipped before the age of 20 weeks.

The government hopes the scheme will help reunite thousands of lost pets with their owners and deter pet theft.

There are an estimated nine million pet cats in England and about a quarter have not yet been chipped, which could mean a fine for their owners.

From Monday, cats must be microchipped according to the law, but only in England.

It is not yet a legal requirement to microchip cats in Northern Ireland, Scotland and Wales.

Cats in England must be microchipped if they are older than 20 weeks.

cat snuggles on pillow, cat, pillow, pet, red cat, red, cats, mammal, animals, purring, sweet, kitten, eyes, sleeping
There are nine million pet cats in England. (Alamy)

Indoor-only cats must be microchipped too, but unowned cats such as feral and community cats are exempt.

Campaigners say having your pet microchipped offers the best change of having them returned safely if they do go missing.

According to the charity Cats Protection, it costs between £20 and £30 to have your cat microchipped.

The microchipping should only be carried out by a trained professional - this could be a vet, council or rescue organisation.

The computer chip, which is about the size of a grain of rice, is inserted under the cat's skin and contains a unique code that is registered on a database approved by the Department for Environment, Food & Rural Affairs (Defra) along with the owner's contact details.

Male tabby and white cat, being microchipped by vet
More than two million pet cats in England are not yet microchipped. (PA)

The procedure is quick and no more painful than an injection.

When a lost cat is taken to a vet, their microchip may be scanned electronically and matched to its owner.

If you change your contact details on the database, there may sometimes be a fee, Cats Protection said.

There are special microchip cat flaps, which scan the cat's chip and will only allow your cat to enter your home.

Yes, you can. The government says that owners found not to have microchipped their cat will have 21 days to have one implanted, or they could face a fine of up to £500.

Cats Protection said that of the nine million cats in England, 2.2 million are not yet chipped.

RSPCA ambassador and CBBC vet Rory Cowlam said: “The thought of a pet going missing and never being able to find them is a pet owner's nightmare, which is why microchipping is so important.

"Having microchipped many animals myself, I can assure you it’s quick, easy and is the best way to ensure that if your pet does go missing, or becomes injured, they can be reunited with you."