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Every cat could be microchipped from next year

Plan to make microchipping cats compulsory from next year… with £500 fines for owners who don’t comply

  • Figures show that  26 per cent of the animals in the UK are not microchipped
  • Eight out of ten strays handed in to its adoption centres are unchipped
  • 9million dogs have been microchipped since the procedure was made compulsory for them in 2016 

Compulsory microchipping for cats could be introduced early next year in England, ministers said last night.

A nationwide consultation launches today to hear from vets and the public about the plan, which it is hoped could reunite more lost pets with their owners.

A similar scheme for dogs, which was introduced in 2016, carries a £500 fine for those who do not comply.

Polling by the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs found 99 per cent support among the public for making microchipping of cats mandatory.

Animal welfare charity Cats Protection estimate that 2.6million of the animals in the UK – around 26 per cent – are not microchipped (stock)

Animal welfare charity Cats Protection estimate that 2.6million of the animals in the UK – around 26 per cent – are not microchipped.

And it reported that eight out of ten strays handed in to its adoption centres in England during 2018 were unchipped, leading to longer and sometimes unsuccessful efforts to reunite them with their owners.

Cats lost this way include Larry, a brown and white tabby who was found in London without a microchip and taken to Battersea Dogs and Cats Home before being adopted as Chief Mouser to 10 Downing Street and the Cabinet Office.

Cats Protection’s chief executive James Yeates said: ‘Having a microchip gives a lost cat the best chance of being quickly reunited with their owner. We regularly hear heartwarming stories when a missing cat is returned home thanks to the details of their microchip.’

Peter Laurie of Battersea Dogs and Cats Home said: ‘We see strays brought to us every day, many of which have clearly been much-loved pets.

 A similar scheme for dogs, which was introduced in 2016, carries a £500 fine for those who do not comply (stock)

‘Unfortunately we are often unable to trace their owners as they have either not been microchipped or the details on the chip are not up to date.’

The process involves inserting a chip around the size of a grain of rice under the skin. It has a unique number that can be scanned.

Around 9million dogs have been microchipped since the procedure was made compulsory for them in 2016. 

UK chief veterinary officer Christine Middlemiss said: ‘As we have seen with dogs, compulsory microchipping is crucial in helping reunite owners with their pets.’

Animal welfare minister Lord Goldsmith said the plans would build on ‘our already world-leading animal welfare standards’.

The Government said it was looking at different ways to bring in cat chipping. These could include requiring vets to microchip animals brought into a practice for the first time.

Daniella Dos Santos of the British Veterinary Association, said she hoped vets would not be left to police the law.

‘Although we strongly encourage all cat owners to microchip their pet, the delivery and enforcement around compulsory microchipping is complex and would need adequate resource,’ she said.

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