Every cat owner knows, from their 5am ‘give me attention’ wake-up calls to food preferences that change on a whim, these animals can’t be constrained by human rules.
We can, however – and the rules we have to follow as responsible pet parents are about to change.
Legislation introduced this week makes it compulsory for all pet cats in England over the age of 20 weeks to be microchipped, in an effort to reduce loss and theft.
Of the 11 million owned cats across the UK, 2.8 million (26%) are not microchipped.
According to Chief Veterinary Officer, Christine Middlemiss, ‘those who are microchipped are more than twice as likely to be reunited with their owner’ if they’re stolen or go missing.
But if that wasn’t reason enough, people who fail to have their pet chipped before the deadline risk a fine of up to £500… that’s a lot of Dreamies.
The law, introduced by the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (DEFRA), comes into effect on June 10, 2024.
After this date, owners found to have not microchipped their pet will be given 21 days to have one implanted. If they don’t, they’ll be issued a fine.
Free-living cats or those that live with little or no human interaction or dependency are exempt from the regulations, covering farm, feral and community cats.
The government also urged people to ensure the information included in their pet’s chip is kept up-to-date, so it may be worth checking your furry friend’s credentials on their next trip to the vet.
The electronic device, which is around the size of a grain of rice, is implanted under an animal’s skin between the shoulder blades. The procedure involves a quick injection, after which the cat cannot feel its presence.
Each microchip has a serial number that can be read by a scanner, showing the registered keeper’s contact details on a database and allowing authorities to get in touch if needed.
In the UK, it typically costs between £20 and £30 to have a cat microchipped, but rescue centres and charities may be able to help if costs are a limiting factor.
It may be a hassle, but this little contraption offers big peace of mind if anything happens to your beloved pet.
For more information on microchipping cats, visit the Cats Protection website.
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