The UK government drew up its compulsory microchipping plan after a sharp rise in pet thefts and lobbying by heartbroken owners, as well as rescue centres being overwhelmed with lost or unwanted pets.
Microchipping involves inserting a tiny implant under the cat’s skin (usually the scruff of the neck). This contains a unique number that is linked to a central database containing the owner’s address and telephone number (read more from iCatCare).
It is even more important to have cats chipped than dogs as they are more likely to get injured, and to stray. Cat can live free for extended periods, travelling large distances before they may be presented at a vet surgery or animal welfare centre. Furthermore, many won’t tolerate wearing a collar with an ID disc. And they have fewer distinguishing features. One black cat is very similar to another!
Fines of up to £500 may be imposed if owners ignore the rule and fail to have their cat microchipped within 21 days of being warned.