Cat owners face a hefty fine under a new law in the UK

Owners of cats must have their pets microchipped or face a £500 fine.

The new rules are aimed at ensuring cats can be returned home if they get lost or are stolen.

Owners are required to make sure their pet is microchipped before they reach the age of 20 weeks, with the law due to come into force in England in 2023.

Contact details for the cats’ owners must also be stored and kept up to date in a pet microchipping database.

The Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs said legislation would be introduced next year and the rules would take effect 12 months later.

The delay in enforcing the rules is due to an ongoing review into the regulations on microchipping of dogs, which is already compulsory, to consider whether improvements can be made.

£500 fines for owners

Any cat owner who is found not to have microchipped their pet will be given 21 days to have one implanted.

If they fail to comply within that period, they could face a fine of up to £500.

Currently in the UK, there are more than 10 million pet cats and 2.8 million are unchipped, with Cats Protection saying eight out of 10 strays it receives are not microchipped.

The compulsory plans come following a sharp increase in pet thefts this year, as well as rescue centres being overwhelmed by pets that are lost or unwanted.

Jacqui Cuff, Cats Protection’s head of advocacy and government relations, said: “Every day we see how important microchipping is for cats and for the people who love them – whether it’s reuniting a lost cat with their owner, identifying an injured cat, or helping to ensure an owner can be informed in the sad event that their cat has been hit and killed by a car.

“Microchipping is by far the most effective and quickest way of identifying lost cats and can help ease the pressure on rescue charities like Cats Protection.

“Without a microchip, a lost cat will most likely end up being rehomed to a new home as there is often no trace of their original owner.

How much does microchipping cost?

The cost of inserting a small microchip, which contains a serial number, under the skin will usually cost owners between £10 and £30.

Once the microchip has been inserted, owners then need to register the number on a database, which may incur an extra charge.

Vets will provide all of the documents and contact information you need to register the chip with an agency, including details of any fees required.

In some cases, vets may submit this paperwork for you.

The contact information that is registered on a database needs to be kept up to date to ensure cat owners can be traced if their pet goes missing.

As such, you must update your contact details with the registration agency if you move house or change your phone number.