Since yesterday, 13 March 2023, a law has been enacted in the UK which will make micro-chipping of domestic cats compulsory on June 10, 2024. It has been a long time coming. It is said that the government has delivered on a key manifesto pledge.
It will make it easier to reunite lost or stray pet cats with their owners. It’ll make it easier to tell owners if their cat has been killed on the roads. There are 9 million pet cats in England and about 2.3 million of them are not microchipped according to the UK government. Comment: one day microchipping may be part of a wider scheme: registration of all cats?
It means if they are ever lost or stolen, they can be more easily reunited with their owners.
— Defra UK (@DefraGovUK) March 13, 2023
In preparing for this new law, the government did a survey in which 99% of respondents expressed support for the legislation.
From June 10, 2024, cats must be microchip before they reach the age of 20 weeks. The contact details stored on the microchip must be kept up to date on a pet micro-chipping database.
Failure to comply with the law may result in a fine of up to £500.
The Chief Veterinary Officer Christine Middlemiss said:
“I am pleased that we are progressing with our requirement for all cats to be microchip. Microchipping is by far the most effective and quickest way of identifying lost pets. As we’ve seen with dog microchipping, those who are microchipped are more than twice as likely to be reunited with their owner. By getting their cat microchipped, owners can increase the likelihood that they will be reunited with their beloved pet in the event of it going missing.”
The well-known cat rescue charity, Cats Protection are also delighted. Their Head of Advocacy, Campaigns and Government Relations, Madison Rogers, said:
“Cats Protection is delighted that pet cats in England will be given the same protection as dogs when it comes to microchipping. The charity regularly reunites owners with their much-loved cats, and in most cases this is only possible thanks to microchips. No matter how far from home they are found, or how long they have been missing, if a cat has a microchip there is a good chance that a lost cat will be swiftly returned home.”
Cats that are already micro-chipped must have up-to-date details on the microchip. The new law is part of the manifesto set out in the Action Plan for Animal Welfare in 2021.
There are rumblings on Twitter by cat owners some of whom don’t want this obligation. And some make good points. First off, it is a known fact that a lot of microchips currently in place are out of date in terms of their data. There will have to be a change of culture to ensure that the data is updated.
Another problem is that for full-time indoor cats; it is going to be next to impossible to enforce the law because who knows if a person owns a cat if the cat never leave the home?
For example, Miss Porter, said: “Good luck with you trying to make me get my 4 house cats chipped.”
And another asked: “What about house cats [full-time indoor cats]. Mine is an 18-year-old house cat.”
And another asked whether the government is going to be any better in overseeing these regulations compared to other regulations such as sewage dumping in rivers. The UK government has been dismal in preventing the pollution of rivers. Their record is generally poor and I strongly suspect that the UK government is going to fail to enforce this law adequately.
Another asked whether there will be a reduced price for micro-chipping for pensioners and those on low incomes. And some people think that this is a medical procedure which is being forced upon cat owners. It is a medical procedure but it is one that is incredibly benign but not, it has to be admitted, entirely without risk.
Very low risk
Although cat micro-chipping is considered to be very safe, there are some risks such as potential migration of the chip to another location under the skin and a tumour developing at the injection site although the latter is extremely rare.
The operation doesn’t hurt the cat any more than having blood drawn which is almost painless. Although it must be said that the needle is very thick and the microchip is quite a large object to be inserted under the skin. Although the area where it is inserted has lots of loose skin.
Below are some more articles on microchipping.
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