Little known law change that could end up costing cat owners £500 fine

Cat at the vets
-Credit: (Image: Getty Images/Caiaimage)

A change in legislation could see cat owners slapped with a £500 fine if they fail to comply with one simple requirement for their pets. New rules, due to be enforced in just a few day's time, will mandate that all cats in the UK must be microchipped and registered on a database by the time they reach 20 weeks old.

Cat owners who do not adhere to this by the Monday, June 10 deadline will be in violation of the law. A warning has now been issued they could face a £500 penalty and temporary removal of their cat, reports the Mirror.

Recent statistics reveal that approximately 25 per cent of cats in UK - equating to around three million felines - are currently without microchips. Once the new law is in effect, cat owners found to be non-compliant will have 21 days to get their cats microchipped and registered at a veterinary clinic.

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Failure to comply with the law could result in a £500 fine. The new law also grants local authorities the power to seize cats from their owners, microchip them, and then return them.

The aim of the legislation is to facilitate the reunion of lost cats with their owners and decrease the number of domestic cats killed in road accidents each year. Cats Matter, a charity that campaigned for the new rules, hopes that cat owners across the UK will comply and help make it "be the success [they] know it can and will be",

Vet practices, animal welfare organisations and local councils often struggle to reunite owners with their injured or stolen cats if they're not microchipped. Without a chip, it's nearly impossible to trace back to the owners of these beloved pets.

Black cat in the arms of his loving owner
Those who do not comply with the law risk losing their cat -Credit:Getty Images/Tetra images RF

Cats Protection says the process of microchipping is "inexpensive" and "fairly simple and quick". They have also said it may save owners from the pain and grief of never seeing their lost cats again.

The charity said: "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 and as the UKs only feline road traffic accident focus group, we sadly see it all the time and are powerless to stop it - but owners can stop it happening to their cat simply by microchipping them and keeping registered details up to date."

Cats Protection continued: "When a cat is found roadside and taken to a vets, 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. When they are not microchipped, it is at the vets discretion what they do but they are only obliged by law to administer pain relief, which could mean euthanasia."

Those unsure whether to follow the laws are being urged to comply by Cats Protection. They said: "We would urge owners to comply with the new law because it is working for them and their cats, not against."

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