Since 6 April 2016, all dogs in England, Scotland and Wales must have microchipping. By law, all puppies must be microchipped before they go to their new forever homes. The breeder should register the puppies first and are breaking the law if they do not register them before they are eight weeks old. Breeders must then pass on the correct microchipping paperwork to the puppy’s new owner when they go to their new home.

Soon, these same rules will apply to microchipping cats as cat microchipping will be made mandatory. It is estimated that approximately 2.8 million cats in the UK are unchipped, meaning that if they were to get lost or stolen, it would be incredibly difficult to reunite them with their owners. In addition, rescue centres are being overwhelmed with pets who are not microchipped and are lost or unwanted, with 8 out of 10 of the feline strays they receive being unchipped.

The Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (DEFRA) say the new cat microchipping laws will come into effect once the government have completed their review of the current regulations surrounding dog microchipping to see if improvements can be made to the system.

What is a microchipping?

A pet microchip is a minuscule computer chip that contains a unique serial number. It is about the size of a grain of rice and can be inserted under a pet’s skin in a speedy and straightforward procedure. It is usually injected around the scruff of the neck using a needle.

The microchip then stores all of the relevant details of your pet. The relevant information usually includes the owner’s name, address and telephone number, the dog’s name, age, description of the dog, and the microchip number. It can then be scanned if your pet goes missing, act as proof of ownership, and ensure the pet is returned to you.

Why should I do microchipping for my cat?

According to the government website, 99% of 33,000 people they consulted regarding the proposed plan support the move to make microchipping compulsory for cats. The new law comes into play as part of the government’s Action Plan for Animal Welfare, which also plans to tackle puppy smuggling, pet theft and remote operated training e-collars (shock collars), as well as taking steps to protect wild and farm animals. With cases of pet theft on the rise, it’s now more important than ever to get your pet microchipped.

At least 15% of cat owners lose their pet at some point in a five-year period, with 56% of those having no form of identification. Owners of missing cats tend to wait longer to check local shelters than owners of missing dogs, as they assume that their cat will eventually show up. As a result, it is estimated that between 63-84% of cats are recovered, which is low in comparison to 71-97% of dogs being recovered.

By microchipping your pet and storing the owner’s contact details in the microchipping database, there is a significantly greater chance of reuniting lost pets with their owners. In addition, it is a straightforward procedure and steps to take to give you peace of mind and possibly be a lifesaver for your pet.

Remember to keep your details on the microchip up to dates, such as a change of address, phone number or owner, to ensure you can be contacted easily if your pet is found wandering.

As long as your details are kept up to date with your current information, you can always be contacted if your pet goes missing. You can update your contact details by contacting the database that holds the details of your pet’s chip, either by going online or calling them. If you’re not sure which database holds the microchip information, you can easily find out who you need to contact.

If your pet is lost, their collar or ID tag may fall off, and if they are stolen, it is likely that the thief would remove any collars, name/ID tags, and so it is essential to have this internal form of identification that cannot be removed.

Without this internal identification, if your pet is found, their owner cannot be identified and contacted, meaning they will be kept with a warden for seven days before being passed on to a rehoming charity, where they can be found a new loving family, or they can be euthanised by the local authority.

Microchipping your cat will help to keep shelters’ costs down, as animals can be more quickly reunited with their owner and so spend less time in rehoming centres, using their food supply and taking shelter space and resources from an unowned or abandoned animal.

What happens if I don’t microchip my cat?

Owners will be required by law to microchip their cats by the time they are 20 weeks old. If you fail to microchip your cat before they reach the age of 20 weeks, you will be given 21 days to have one implanted. If you continue to fail to comply and get a microchip inserted within the 21-day period of time, you may be penalised with a fine of up to £500. Both local authorities and the police have the authority to issue enforcement notices requiring owners to microchip their animal.

Aside from the new law coming into place, if your cat isn’t microchipped and they go missing, the chance of being reunited with your cat will decrease significantly, and you run the risk of never seeing your cat again.

Where can I get my cat microchipped?

We offer microchipping here at Paws in the City to help keep your pets safe! Our vets and vet nurses are qualified to implant microchips and will help to register your pet’s microchip on a microchipping database and ensure an easy and pleasant experience for both you and your pet. You can contact Paws in the City by calling 02045 199 857 or email at greenford@pawsinthecityx.com to speak to a vet in Greenford Quays and at ealing@pawsinthecityx.com in Dickens Yard, Ealing to find out more and book in for your microchipping appointment.

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