All cat owners 'month away' from being hit with £500 fines

Dave has been described by RSPCA staff as "outgoing and curious"
Cat owners will be breaking the law and could be fined up to £500 if they fail to meet the deadline -Credit:RSPCA

A warning has been issued to cat owners to microchip their cat within the next month - or risk breaking the law and being hit with a £500 fine.

From June 10, 2024, a new law comes into force which states that all cats in England must be microchipped and registered on a database by the time they reach 20 weeks old. Failure to do so could land owners with a hefty fine. The legislation also gives local authorities the power to confiscate cats and microchip them, before returning the cats to the owner and handing them the bill.

Once the new law comes into force, owners found without their cat microchipped will have just 21 days to have one implanted. After the 21 days, owners may then face a fine of up to £500. It is estimated that around three million cats in the UK are currently not microchipped.

Read more: Dead 'fighting' dog with cropped ears dropped off at vets in wheelbarrow

Part of the reason why the change is being brought in is because it can be difficult for veterinary professionals, animal welfare organisations and local councils to reunite non microchipped cats with their owners should they become lost or stolen, a spokesperson for feline charity Cats Matter explained.

They added: “Microchipping is an inexpensive procedure, and is fairly simple and quick to do and can save owners the heartache of never getting their cats back, or never having closure should the worst happen, and could save a cat's life. Sadly, we see it all the time where road accident victims end up being euthanised with simple cuts and bruises, simply because no owner could be located via a microchip. When we say it could be a matter of life and death, we are not joking.”

The process of microchipping involves the quick and painless insertion of a chip, generally around the size of a grain of rice, under the skin. The microchip has a unique serial number that the keeper needs to register on a database. When a cat is found, the microchip can be read with a scanner and the registered keeper identified on a database so the pet can quickly be reunited with them.

Microchipping also ensures that cat owners are notified, should their pet be involved in an accident. A spokesperson for Cats Matter said: “Even house cats can still escape through windows, doors, or of course carriers on the way to the vets. Our efforts have always been, and will always continue to be, focused on the welfare of cats firstly, followed by the rights and needs of their owners. We urge all cat owners who have not yet microchipped their cat to make an appointment at their local vets or with their nearest registered implanter.

"It's vital people book through a trained and registered implanter to prevent injury or potential complications to their beloved cat. We urge people to act now to prevent a hefty fine."

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