New legislation regarding cats and microchips

June 21, 2023

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What is a cat microchip?

A microchip is a small device (about the size of a grain of rice) which is inserted under the skin using a syringe. Each microchip has a unique 15 digit number which can be read by a microchip scanner.

The microchip doesn’t store any personal data – it just stores the 15 digit number which is linked to your data by a government-compliant microchip database.

If a cat goes missing, and is handed in to a vet practice or animal shelter, the first step is to scan for a microchip and try and contact the owner.

There are a few different companies that provide and maintain microchip databases, but a scanner will pick up the number regardless of provider and that number enables us to link you to your pet regardless of who inserted the chip in the first place.

Do I have to microchip my cat?

New legislation has been brought in recently which requires cat owners to have any cats over the age of 20 weeks microchipped and registered by 10th June 2024. Cats below this age can also be microchipped. We often microchip kittens when they come in for their second vaccination.

Owners who are caught breaking these rules will have 21 days to have a microchip implanted and if they don’t do this, they may be fined £500. This is similar to the legislation that has been in place for dogs since 2016 and, as a practice, we are in support of the new legislation as we believe it will get a lot more cats home when they get lost and also help in giving cat owners peace of mind if their pet is found deceased.

Who can implant my cat’s microchip?

Anyone implanting a microchip in a cat must be trained to do this. The following people can implant microchips:

  • Vets
  • Veterinary nurses
  • Implanters that have taken and passed a Defra-approved implanter course.

Contact us on 01223 359021 to book a microchipping appointment for your cat.

Does microchipping hurt my cat?

The short answer is no. Your cat should feel no more than a little discomfort during the procedure. It’s about the same as receiving their vaccinations.

Once the microchip is implanted your cat won’t feel it under their skin – and it’s designed to last your pet’s entire life, so it should be a one-off thing to do. Occasionally microchips may migrate a little, so when we check for the chip we will run the scanner over a wider area if we don’t find the chip in its original location.

How do I know if my cat is microchipped?

Your cat’s microchip is usually found on any paperwork. It’s normally a 15-digit number starting with a 9. We will write the number in your cat’s vaccination record, as well as keeping a copy on our database. We also check the chip when your cat comes in for annual boosters.

How do I register my cat’s microchip?

We register the chip when we insert the microchip. However, if your contact detail change, its really important that you contact the microchip provider and update their records, so they can still contact you should your pet go AWOL. There is sometimes a small change to make changes. If you are unsure how or who to contact to make changes you are welcome to pop in or to call the surgery on 01223 359021 and we will point you in the right direction.

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