Cat owners warned of new rule in force from tomorrow with £500 fine for not complying

A microchip means your cat can be traced back to you in the event that they are lost or stolen
-Credit: (Image: Getty Images/iStockphoto)

From Monday all cats in England are required to be microchipped, with owners facing a fine of up to £500 if they do not comply.

But despite the new rule coming into force, research reveals one in five (20%) cat owners surveyed do not plan to ever get their pets microchipped. And 18% are not aware of the new legislation and risk being fined if they do not act quickly to microchip their cats before the regulations come into force.

Owners could face a £500 fine if they do not comply, although they will be given a three-week grace period after this date for their cats to be microchipped. However, many cat owners were not aware of the scale of the fine, with data from Direct Line Pet Insurance revealing that 56% of cat owners surveyed didn't know the maximum fine if their pet was not chipped after July 1.

Research amongst England-based veterinary surgeries showed that almost two thirds (60%) of vets have seen an increase in appointments for cat microchipping, with nearly a quarter of vets (24%) experiencing a significant uplift in bookings as we approach the July 1 deadline. There is still time and availability for cat owners to have their pet microchipped, with 98% of vets saying they still have appointments available, WalesOnline reports.

A fifth (19%) of cat owners surveyed who have not yet had their cats microchipped said they were worried the procedure would hurt their cat and 17% said it was too expensive. The average cost across England to have a cat microchipped is £28.34 but some surgeries are charging as much as £55.

The average cost is significantly higher in London, at £39.71. Liverpool was the cheapest area to have a cat chipped at an average of £23.10 per appointment.

Madeline Pike, Veterinary Nurse for Direct Line Pet Insurance, said: "Microchipping is a very quick and relatively painless process no more painful than having an injection or blood test. It’s also one of the most effective and efficient methods of finding lost pets. We urge cat owners who haven’t yet done so to seek an appointment in the next few weeks and by July 1 at the latest. Nearly every vet we spoke to said they still have availability or could make room for anyone needing an appointment.

"The compulsory microchipping of cats will provide families with much-needed comfort and peace of mind that if their cat gets lost or strays, they can more easily be reunited with their much-loved feline friends."