Impending microchipping law catches many cat owners unawares

Katie Court
Authored by Katie Court
Posted: Monday, May 13, 2024 - 12:00

A significant number of cat owners remain unaware of the impending microchipping law set to come into force in a month. 

With the deadline for all cats in England to be microchipped looming, a new survey has uncovered startling gaps in owner understanding.  The poll on 1,000 cat owners conducted for the Pet Health Club network of UK vets, revealed that around one in eight (14%) cat owners surveyed don't know that all cats in England must be microchipped by June 10. 

It also highlighted a curious disparity in cat owner attitudes.  More than a third (35%) believe it's more important to microchip dogs than cats, even though 90% admit they would worry if their cat went missing for more than 24 hours. 

Senior veterinary surgeon Amelia Battersby, of Pet Health Club, expressed concern about the findings.  She said: "As vets, we've been highlighting this change in the law for several months, but it looks like we still have some way to go.  It's worrying to see so many people unaware of the new rules, especially as the deadline looms." 

"Microchipping is a simple, safe, and essential procedure that not only complies with the law but also provides peace of mind for owners." 

The survey also shed light on why some owners have not yet microchipped their cats.  Reasons ranged from misconceptions about the necessity of microchipping indoor-only cats to concerns about the cost and fear of the procedure causing pain. 

Dr Battersby said: "Every cat, even indoor-only cats, face risks such as accidental escapes or emergencies where they might end up outside unattended.  A microchip is a permanent ID that greatly increases the chances of a happy reunion with your pet should they wander too far from home.  It is also a quick, generally painless process. It's a small price to pay for a lifetime of safety." 

Interestingly, the survey found that 37% of cat owners surveyed have adopted the practice of walking their cats on a lead, indicating a shift towards more controlled outdoor interactions.  This trend perhaps illustrates the changing nature of cat ownership and the increased attention to safety and supervision. 

As the deadline for the new law draws nearer, vet practices across the country are preparing for a rise in microchipping appointments. The survey revealed that almost a quarter (23%) of cat owners polled have yet to do this.  Owners are encouraged to act now to avoid penalties and protect their cats properly.  

Dr Battersby added: "Microchipping is a one-time procedure that offers a lifetime of benefits, and owners who join Pet Health Club get it as part of their benefits." 

"Unlike collars and tags, microchips cannot be easily lost or removed and provide an effective means of identification.  Cats are a part of our families, and just like any family member, their safety is paramount."  

According to UK Pet Food, there are approximately 12.5 million pet cats in the UK, with 8.2 million households owning at least one.  Owners who fail to microchip their cats by June 10 will have 21 days to get one implanted or face a fine of up to £500. 

Microchipping is a simple, safe, and essential procedure that not only complies with the law but also provides peace of mind for owners.  A one-time procedure that offers a lifetime of benefits, owners who join Pet Health Club get microchipping as part of their benefits. 

Pet Health Club vets have prepared a detailed resource hub ahead of the cat microchipping law change, with Q&As, step-by-step guides, and more information, which you can visit by clicking here


Dr Amelia has two pieces of advice for owners taking their cats to the vets to get microchipped: 

  • "Cat carriers can be stressful as they are often stored away until it's time for a trip to the vets. It's much better to allow your cat to get used to the carrier by leaving it out in the house so it becomes a normal part of the furniture, " said Amelia. "Covering the carrier during transport is also helpful and should mean that your cat arrives to see me feeling relaxed and comfortable."  

  • "We love using food as it helps form a bond, so bring a bit of something they really like. Some kittens are so busy eating, they don't even notice the microchip going in."

Share this