Microchip your cat or face £500 fine, owners are warned

100% agree with this article in The Times. I would go further and require pet owners to have a license!

Cat owners will be required to have their pets microchipped or face a fine of up to £500 under new rules aimed at ensuring they can be returned home when they stray or are stolen.

Under the new rules, due to come into force in England in 2023, all owners will have to ensure their pet is microchipped before they reach the age of 20 weeks and their contact details stored and kept up to date in a pet microchipping database. Owners found not to have microchipped their cat will have 21 days to have one implanted and if they fail to comply within that period they could be fined up to £500.

There are over 10.8 million pet cats in the UK, with as many as 2.8 million unchipped. Eight out of 10 stray cats coming into Cats Protection’s centres are not microchipped.

The Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs said legislation would be introduced next year and that the rules would come into force 12 months later.

The delay in introducing the rules is due to a review taking place into the regulations on microchipping of dogs, which is already compulsory. Vets have raised concerns that the system, which involves registering dogs on about 15 separate databases, can cause problems with reuniting pets with owners.

Defra plans to improve the system before extending it to cats.

Lord Goldsmith, the animal welfare minister, said: “Cats are much-loved parts of our families and making sure they’re microchipped is the best way of making sure that you are reunited with them if they are ever lost or stolen.

“These rules will help protect millions of cats across the country and will be brought in alongside a range of other protections we are introducing under our Action Plan for Animal Welfare.”

Jacqui Cuff, head of advocacy at Cats Protection, 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.”

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