When Does Cat Microchipping Become UK Law?

New legislation has announced this week that the thousands of cat owners in the UK have just over a year to microchip their pet else risk receiving a £500 fine. Hefty fines could also be dished out to the thousands of dog owners who have not microchipped their pets despite it already being a legal requirement to do so.

Experts from Quotezone.co.uk have urged pet owners to microchip their dogs and register them on a national database in order to make it easier to track down lost or stolen pups.

Photo credit: Pexels.coms


The microchipping law was put in place on 6 April 2016 for dogs and by June 2024 is mandatory for cats as well. Owners are legally required to make sure their pooch is fitted with a microchip by the time they’re 8 weeks old, unless they have health conditions that prevent them from the procedure. Owners are also responsible for updating their contact details and the dog’s microchip information on the database, as failing to do so could land them another £500 fine.

Is this law being enforced? Yes, but in low numbers. IE looked online for cases where a pet owner has been fined for failing to chip a dog. We found one guy in Wiltshire was fined £200 last year, another owner was fined £200 plus £360 in costs in 2021 when he failed to appear at Wigan magistrates. Also in 2021 a man in Durham was fined after his dog was found wandering the streets and he had to provide his ID to retrieve his pet.

In each case the claiming of a stray animal led to the conviction. This begs the question, when is a normal cat running around the neighbourhood, pooing in people’s garden etc. classified as a stray cat? Most domestic cats tend to patrol the streets, buildings or trees by nature, how will the authorities “catch” stray cats, then impound them? Will “scan and snatch” squeads patrol the streets ready to grab cats and then hold them until owners give up their data to claim them? It’s a bizarre scenario frankly, as anyone who has attempted to catch a cat or lure it away from their garden would know. Cats can pretty much do what they want, whereas dogs tend to obey commands.

As well as being microchipped, dogs are still legally required to wear a collar with the owner’s contact details when out in public.


Under the Government’s flagship Action Plan for Animal Welfare, the microchipping law will soon be extended to cats as well. The number of stray cats is a rising issue, as recent research reveals that 80% of cats coming into Cats Protection’s centres are not microchipped, making it very difficult to reunite them with their owners.

Under the new law, the fines for cat owners who are caught not having microchipped their kittens will be the same as for dogs, however cats need to be chipped by the time they’re 20 weeks old.

Greg Wilson, CEO at Quotezone adds: “Just like for dogs, cat owners are also encouraged to have their pets microchipped, even if it’s not yet required by law.  Doing so may result in lower insurance costs and will also ensure that your furry friend finds its way back home.”

Quotezone.co.uk helps around 3 million users every year find savings on household bills and essentials including puppy insuranceolder dog insurance and kitten insurance.

About alastair walker 11354 Articles
20 years experience as a journalist and magazine editor. I'm your contact for press releases, events, news and commercial opportunities at Insurance-Edge.Net

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