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Deadline today for cat owners to microchip pets or face fine | UK News

Millions of cat owners in England face a fine of up to £500 if they fail to get their cat microchipped and registered on a database under new laws coming into force from today.

The legislation applies to cats aged 20 weeks and older – but of the estimated nine million pet cats in the country, up to 2.2 million are still not chipped, according to data from the charity Cats Protection.

It costs between £20 and £30 to have a cat microchipped by a vet, the charity said.

Around a quarter of owners who have failed to get their cats microchipped said it was because their pet does not venture outdoors, and around 14% said it was identifiable by its collar, according to research by the charity.

Owners found not to have microchipped their pet will have 21 days to have one implanted or face the financial penalty.

The mandatory scheme aims to make it easier for lost or stray pet cats to be reunited with their owners.

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Madison Rogers, head of advocacy, campaigns and government relations for Cats Protection, said: “Some owners think they are never going to go through the trauma of losing their pet cat, but in the last year 115,000 pet cats in England went missing and never returned home.

“Cats are nimble and extremely agile and can easily slip out without us noticing.

“Many lost cats live a frightening life on the streets. No food, no water, no shelter, no veterinary care and constantly at risk of severe injury or death from many hazards such as cars and wild animals.

“Collars can easily drop off, become damaged so that the address details become unreadable and, if they are not quick release, can become snagged on obstacles like tree branches, causing injuries to the cat.

“A microchip is safe, stays with your cat for its lifetime and is linked to contact details that are stored safely in a database.”

Nutmeg, a cat owned by Sandra Sinclair, a teacher from Tooting in south-west London, was found wandering the streets of Ascot in Berkshire, 30 miles away from home, after going missing.

The feline was reunited with his family after his microchip was scanned by Cats Protection.

Ms Sinclair said only Nutmeg will ever know how he got to Ascot, but added the family were “relieved” they had him microchipped.

Read more:
Microchipping pet cats – what you need to know

Alice Potter, cat welfare expert at the RSPCA, said: “We have seen cats coming into our care who are sadly not microchipped and may never be reunited with their owners.

“On average, 11% of all cats coming into the RSPCA’s care are still not microchipped.

“We’ve also rescued cats who have been microchipped but the details haven’t been kept up to date, which is arguably even more frustrating as it means cats spend a long time in our care whilst we fruitlessly try to contact the owner with out-of-date information.

“However, we’ve also seen countless stories of cats that have been reunited with their owners thanks to a tiny microchip – showing what this change of legislation will achieve for animal welfare.”

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