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Cat owners hit with £500 fines as new law in force from today | UK | News


Cat owners hit with £500 fines as new law in force from today | UK | News


Following the implementation of legislation on Monday, owners are being warned of £500 fines if their cats do not follow the new regulations. 

All cat owners in England must now ensure their pets are microchipped as new legislation came into force on June 10.

They must be microchipped before they reach the age of 20 weeks, with their contact details stored and kept up to date in a pet microchipping database, approved by the Department for Environment, Food & Natural Affairs (DEFRA).

Gov.uk said: “Microchips are safe and easy to implant with an average cost of around £25 for microchipping and registration. Charities and reputable cat rescue organisations may be able to microchip your cat for a reduced rate.”

The legal deadline was confirmed in legislation laid in March 2023, giving owners over a year to comply with the new requirements. Failing to comply with the law could now see owners receive a fine of up to £500.

Cats Protection said that of the nine million cats in England, 2.2 million are not yet chipped.

The microchip, generally the size of a grain of rice, is inserted under the skin. Each has a unique serial number that the keeper must register on a database. The quick procedure should only be carried out by trained professionals such as vets or rescue organisations. 

The aim of the legislation is to make it easier for lost or stray cats to be reunited with their owners and returned home safely. When an animal is found, 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.

Microchipping is already compulsory for dogs and is proven to be the most effective method for identifying lost pets, with microchipped dogs more than twice as likely to be reunited with their owner.

The legislation also applies to those cats that usually only stay indoors, but is not compulsory for free-living cats that live with little or no human interaction or dependency, such as farm, feral or community cats.

There are special microchip cat flaps, which scan the cat’s chip and will only allow your cat to enter your home.Some automatic food dispensers also work off the cat’s microchip, ensuring that multi-pet households all get their own meal. 

It is not yet a legal requirement to microchip cats in Northern Ireland, Scotland and Wales.

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