Microchipping your pet is very important but has not been mandatory for cats until it was recently announced that it would become a legal requirement by June 2024.

The new rules state that kittens must be chipped by the time they are 20 weeks old.

Adult cats have to be microchipped by June10th 2024. Owners of cats found not chipped by that date will have 21 days to have a chip implanted or they may face a fine of up to £500.

A microchip is a computer chip, the size of a grain of rice, that is implanted under the skin. It contains a unique ID number. The cat’s details are stored on a pet microchip database and need to be kept up to date by the owner if there is a change of ownership or change of address.

Indoor cats also have to be microchipped because, should they manage to get out of the house, they don’t know their territory and are even more likely than cats who go outside to find themselves lost

All vets offer a microchipping service. Implanting the microchip is a very quick procedure and usually costs in the region of £30 but prices will vary at different practices.

One of the government’s key manifesto pledges was to bring in this legislation so that many thousands of lost cats can be reunited with their owners. A cat may appear to be a stray but could just be lost. A trip to the vets to scan the microchip will reveal where the cat belongs. All vets will scan cats, free of charge, to obtain the details from the chip.

Whilst reuniting cats with their owners is the main purpose for microchipping there are other benefits.

You can have a microchip cat flap. Once your cats are programmed in, easily done at home, only those cats can use the flap so no unwelcome visitors.

You can buy microchip food bowls which are invaluable in multi cat households where some cats may be on special diets and some on medication which is added to the food.