Cat owners have been warned they risk a punishing £500 fine if they don’t get their pets microchipped.
A new rule coming into effect in 2024 requires all cats to be microchipped with their owners’ up-to-date contact details.
Those who don’t chip their beloved pets face the possibility of a sizeable fine if their cat isn’t microchipped before they’re 20 weeks old.
While the thought of microchipping one’s pet in a short time frame may seem like cause for panic, there is one silver lining.
The new rule doesn’t come into force until midway through 2024, specifically June 10, 2024, so all owners have nearly a year to get their feline microchipped.
Furthermore, owners who have a cat which isn’t microchipped will have 21 days to get one implanted before they are hit with the fine.
The purpose of the new law is to make it easier for lost or stray pet cats to be reunited with their owners.
The process of microchipping the cat is a simple process of inserting a chip the size of a grain of rice under the animal’s skin.
The microchip has a unique serial number with the owner’s details. In the event an animal is found, the microchip can be read with a scanner to find out where they live.
Under the new rules, it will not be compulsory for free living cats that live with little or no human interaction or dependency to be microchipped.
Owners whose cats are already microchipped have been asked to make sure their details are up to date.
It is estimated that of the nine million cats in Britain, around two and a half million are unchipped.
The new rule comes after a Government call for evidence and consultation in which 99 percent of respondents supported the new measure.
In a statement, Environment Secretary Therese Coffee said: “Cats and kittens are treasured members of the family, and it can be devastating for owners when they are lost or stolen.
“Legislating for compulsory microchipping of cats will give comfort to families by increasing the likelihood that lost or stray pets can be reunited with their owners.”
The measure has also been supported by Cats Protection’s Head of Advocacy Madison Rogers.
“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.”