Government mulls fines for cat owners who fail to get pets microchipped
Ministers are considering extending compulsory microchipping to cats as they join animal welfare charities in urging pet owners to take action.
It is currently a legal requirement that all dogs are microchipped, and owners face a £500 fine if they do not comply.
Since this legislation was introduced in 2016, it is estimated that 92% of all dogs in the UK are now microchipped.
And local authorities have also seen a 15% decrease in stray dogs since the law came into force, according to the Dog’s Trust.
But it is not currently compulsory to microchip cats, and charity Cats Protection reported that 8 out of 10 strays handed in to their adoption centres in England during 2018 were unchipped.
Animal Welfare Minister Zac Goldsmith said that microchipping is “often the only hope of reuniting lost pets” with their owners, and urged people ensure their pets are chipped as a New Year’s resolution.
He also advised owners to make sure the details stored on their dog’s microchip are up to date, a move that is also required by law.
The Government launched a call for evidence on cat microchipping in October last year, with submissions set to close on Saturday.
Jacqui Cuff, Cats Protection’s Head of Advocacy and Government Relations said microchips were important for cats as “a safe and permanent form of identification”.
She said: “Cats love to explore, and are also great escape artists, so microchipping is important for cats, even those that live indoors.
“Microchipping ensures lost cats can quickly be returned home, and that owners can be informed if their cat is injured and taken to a vet.
“We all want the best for our much-loved pets, so making a resolution to have your cat microchipped is a great way to start the year.”
Ms Cuff also added that she was “thrilled” that the Government was considering compulsory microchipping for cats.