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Should I microchip my cat? If you’re wondering whether to book in to get your cat microchipped, take a look at our guide.

Is Microchipping compulsory?

While microchipping your cat isn’t compulsory at the moment, the Government’s announcement on 13 March 2023 means that all pet cats in England must be microchipped by 10 June 2024 and you will be given 21 days to get your cat chipped or face a fine of up to £500 if you don’t comply.

Our Advocacy, Campaigns and Government Relations team have been working hard to call for the compulsory microchipping of cats and will continue to campaign for the measure to be introduced in Wales, Scotland and Northern Ireland.

Find out more about our campaigns.

Why should I microchip my cat?

Whether you’ve just bought a kitten or adopted an older cat, making sure they are microchipped should be top of your list. Microchipping your cat gives them the best chance of being identified and returned to you if they are lost or stolen.

Microchips are safe, easy to implant and effective. Unlike collars and ID tags, microchips don’t come off and they don’t put your cat at risk of injury.

How does microchipping work?

A small chip (around the size of a grain of rice) is inserted under your cat’s skin – usually by your vet, a local authority or a trained and insured member of an animal welfare organisation, such as Cats Protection. This microchip gives your cat their own unique code.

If your cat were to go missing, the microchip would be scanned with a microchip scanner and matched to your contact details, which are kept on a cat microchip database.

How much does it cost to microchip a cat?

In the UK, you can expect to pay anywhere between £20 and £30, depending on where you live. Speak to your local vet for details, or get in touch with your local rescue centre or cat charity. Often, charities and reputable cat rescue organisations may be able to microchip your cat for a reduced rate.

If you adopt a cat from Cats Protection rest assured that the cost of microchipping your cat is included in your adoption fee.

Are there ongoing costs associated with microchipping a cat?

Amending your contact details on a cat microchip database can mean paying a fee. Depending on the database, this might be a one-off fee for the lifetime of your cat, or a cost every time you update.

Will microchipping harm my cat?

The procedure to microchip your cat is quick and is no more painful than an injection. 

There is no need for ‘recovery’ from the procedure and it won’t cause your cat any discomfort or pain – in fact, they’re unlikely to know it is even there.

When should I have my cat microchipped?

In England from 10 June 2024 it will be compulsory to have your cat microchipped from 20 weeks of age, but there is no minimum age to have your cat microchipped.

Many kittens are microchipped at the same time as being spayed or neutered, when they are already under general anaesthetic.

It is recommended to have your cat microchipped before they go outside for the first time.

Do I have to microchip my cat?

From 10 June 2024, it will be a legal requirement in England to have your cat microchipped and you may be fined if you don’t.

If you want peace of mind, getting your cat microchipped is essential. Cats are keen wanderers and making sure they can be easily identified will increase the chances of a happy reunion if they do stray too far.

Is my cat microchipped already?

If you’ve adopted a cat from Cats Protection or another animal welfare organisation, there is every chance that your cat may already have a microchip. You’ll need to make sure that your contact details appear when your cat’s microchip is scanned.

At Cats Protection, we’ll change your cat’s details when you formally adopt them. If you’re getting your cat from elsewhere, you’ll need to ask for further information and the cat’s original paperwork if possible.

How do I go about registering a cat microchip?

If you’ve adopted a cat from Cats Protection, we’ll update your cat’s microchip on your behalf. You’ll be given the paperwork once you have formally adopted your cat, complete with your cat’s microchip number.

If you have had your cat microchipped by a vet or organisation, they’ll let you know how to register your details online. You’ll usually be sent registration documents following the procedure, within a couple of weeks.

If you don’t receive anything, check with the person or organisation that microchipped your cat. Remember to keep your registration documents and cat’s microchip number safe.

What if I move home or change my phone number?

Keeping your details up to date is vital to ensuring you can be contacted – many cats are unfortunately not reunited with their owners due to forgetting to update their details. Here are our three easy steps for updating your microchip.

  1. Get your cat’s microchip number. Keep your cat’s microchip number stored away so you can have it to hand. Not sure what it might be? Call your vet to see if they have it in their records, or take your cat to the vet to have them scanned.
  2. Get your cat’s microchip brand. Lost your original paperwork? You may be able to check your cat’s details by entering their number using identi look-up tool.
  3. Update. Now that you have your cat’s number and contact information of the brand they are registered with, call them or go to their website to update your details.

I have lost my cat. What should I do?

If you’ve lost your cat and they’re already microchipped, it is best to let your microchipping company know. They’ll make sure your details are up to date.

If your lost cat is found and taken to a vet or animal welfare organisation, you’ll be contacted to arrange a reunion. Find out more about what to do if your cat goes missing.

Do vets scan for microchips?

Many vets and animal welfare organisations scan lost cats for microchips, including Cats Protection. If you find a cat you think may be stray or lost, contact your local vet or Cats Protection branch to ask if they can scan them for a microchip. Find out more about what to do if you’ve found a cat.

How do I transfer ownership of a pet with a microchip in the UK?

Looking to rehome your cat? You’ll need to contact your microchip database to complete the transfer of ownership documents. If you’re giving your cat up to Cats Protection, we’ll ask you for a signed copy of your cat’s microchip registration documents authorising ownership details, or might ask you to fill in a form with more information.

What is a microchip cat flap?

If your cat has been microchipped, you might want to consider installing a microchip cat flap in your home. These identify cats trying to enter your home by scanning their microchip and will only allow entry to those whose microchip number you have programmed into the cat flap.

A great buy for those looking to exclude intruders – especially if they have a habit of eating your cat’s food! You can find a range of microchip cat flaps from SureFlap.

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