Government seeks views on introducing compulsory cat microchipping in England
An eight-week public consultation on the proposal to make it mandatory for pet owners to microchip their cats was launched on 23 December 2020. It seeks views from vets, owners and members of the public as part of a renewed effort to further raise the UK’s world-leading animal welfare standards.
An earlier call for evidence showed 99% support for microchipping.
It is estimated that over a quarter of the UK’s pet cats aren’t microchipped, meaning that up to 2.6 million cats will benefit from the new measures.
UK Chief Veterinary Officer Christine Middlemiss said:
“Microchipping is a very important part of cat ownership. As we have seen already with dogs, compulsory microchipping is crucial in helping reunite owners with their treasured pets if they are lost or stolen.
“While the festive period is not the best time to introduce a new cat or kitten to your home and family, if you do buy a pet over Christmas, then on top of making sure they are microchipped, I would advise people to ensure they have checked the readily advice available on how you can buy your pet safely and responsibly.”
The process of microchipping involves the insertion of a chip, generally around the size of a grain of rice, under the skin of a pet.
The microchip has a unique serial number which can be read by a scanner.
When an animal strays or is lost, scanning the microchip means the registered owner can be identified on a database and the pet can quickly be reunited with them.
Cats Protection reported that 8 out of 10 stray cats handed in to their adoption centres in England during 2018 were unchipped, leading to longer and sometimes unsuccessful efforts to reunite them with their owners.
Cats Protection’s Chief Executive James Yeates said:
“Cats are a much loved part of the family in millions of homes, and it is heart-breaking if they go missing without a trace.
“Sadly, it is not uncommon for cats to stray and go missing. Having a microchip gives a lost cat the best chance of being quickly reunited with their owner.
“We regularly hear heartwarming stories of the huge joy and relief when a missing cat is returned home thanks to the details of their microchip.”