The laws around cat microchipping

Written by Kim Church RVN
April 30, 2024

A new law is being introduced in England requiring domestic cats to be microchipped. From 10th June 2024 the law will come into place. All cats must be microchipped by the time they are 20 weeks old. If you do not comply and your cat is found to not have one you have 21 days to have one implanted or you will face a fine of up to £500.  Indoor cats must also be microchipped in case they escape the house.

The new law will not be compulsory for feral cats or cats with little human interaction. 

This law is not being introduced in Wales, Scotland or Northern Ireland at the current time.

What is a microchip?  

Microchips are inexpensive and around the size of a grain of rice. They can be implanted by your vet or a licensed and trained implanter. The process is quick, and it is not necessary for your cat to be anaesthetised. It is mostly painless and is permanent once inserted.  

Microchips do not commonly have a ‘tracker’ within, so your cat’s location cannot be pinpointed. Instead, your cat’s microchip is assigned a unique number, that when registered is matched to your contact details.  

After insertion you need to have the microchip registered to a database. This is so that if your cat is found, your details will be accessible to reunite you.

What database should I register with?

There are many different microchip database companies in the UK. Some have been approved and meet the governments standards and unfortunately some do not. Using an approved database allows your cats details to be checked no matter who you call. Unapproved databases my work independently so details will be untraceable if the wrong number is called.

It is vital to ensure that your cats microchip is registered with a government approved database to ensure you have the best change of reunification if your cat were to go missing. The approved databases and more information can be found by following this link - Get your dog or cat microchipped - GOV.UK ( Much of the page is still geared towards dogs but the information applies to cats in the same way

What happens if I lose my cat? 

It is important to have your cat microchipped so if your cat is lost and is scanned, you can be quickly reunited. Cats can stray very far and there have been stories of cats getting into the back of vans or even trains! If they are then taken out of the local area and unidentifiable it is nearly impossible to reunite them with you.  

If you have any questions about cat microchipping or want to discuss your pets health further please contact one of our veterinary healthcare team via the members area.

Connect with us

If you would like any more information on this or any other pet health related queries, please contact our team of Registered Veterinary Nurses

© 2024 Pet GP. All Rights Reserved

  • Environment