New laws coming in next year means cat owners must take action
Under the new legislation, cat owners will have until 10th June 2024 to microchip their cats. Owners found not to have microchipped their cat will have 21 days to get one implanted or may face a fine of up to £500.
And from June 2024 onwards, kittens must be implanted with a microchip before they reach the age of 20 weeks.
What is the issue?
There are 11 million owned cats in the UK. Nationally, the RSPCA report that just 500 out of over 3,000 cats arriving at RPCA centres were microchipped – just 15%.
Last year, we were able to reunite 24 lost cats, mostly because they were microchipped with up to date contact details, but that was just 22% of stray cats we took in.
With stray dogs, who legally must have been microchipped since April 2016, we reunited 39% last year. The remainder were un-microchipped animals or with database details empty or out of date.
Although the system is not perfect, we hope that with the new law we can double the number of reunited pet cats and be part of some lovely happy endings. Just last month we reunited Lucifer who had wandered 3 miles from home and was missing 4 months, because he was microchipped his owner could collect him as soon as we called.
What about non-pet cats?
Microchipping will not be compulsory for free-living cats that live with little or no human interaction or dependency, such as farm, feral or community cats. There are estimated to be over 800,000 of these cats in the UK (neuter your cats!).
» Learn more about microchipping on our blog
» Read the law announcement on the RSPCA website
Main photo by Emma Jacobs/RSPCA