Pet ownership has soared this year in the UK. Many more people have been adopting cats since the nation first went into lockdown in March.
However, despite our love for our feline friends, a staggering 2.6 million cats aren’t microchipped. This can make it impossible to reunite them with their owners if they are lost or stolen.
The Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (Defra) has launched an eight-week consultation to review proposals that recommend it to become mandatory for owners to microchip their cats. It’s hoped that these new measures will help to raise the UK’s standards of animal welfare.
Microchipping is a painless procedure involving a tiny chip, with a unique serial number inserted under the cat’s skin. When the cat is found, a vet can scan the microchip to identify the owner and reunite them with their beloved pet.
Cat owners who fail to have their moggies microchipped under the new rules will likely receive the same penalties as dog owners. Under current law, if a dog is found without a microchip, the owner must fit one within 21 days or face a £500 fine.
Reuniting owners and pets
Cat rescue charities have welcomed the plans. As many as 8 out of 10 stray cats arrived at a Cats Protection centre in 2018 unchipped. When a cat doesn’t have a microchip, it takes much longer to trace their owners. In some cases, their owners can never be found.
When a cat or kitten is microchipped, it gives owners realistic hope that they will eventually be reunited with their lost cat.
Watch also: Owner shocked when she finds out where her missing cat was for the past six years