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All Cats Will Have To Be Microchipped Under New Government Plans

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All Cats Will Have To Be Microchipped Under New Government Plans

All cats and kittens in England will have to be microchipped if new government proposals go ahead.

It's already compulsory for owners to have their dogs and puppies chipped, and now The Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (Defra) has launched an eight-week long consultation on plans to make it the same for cat owners.

It's estimated that around 2.6 million, or 26 percent, of the UK's cats aren't microchipped, making it more difficult for them to be reunited with their owners if they were to get lost or missing.

Credit: PA
Credit: PA
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Cats Protection say that eight out of 10 stray cats that were handed in to its centres in 2018 were unchipped.

Cats Protection's Chief Executive James Yeates said: "Cats Protection, as the leading cat charity, has campaigned for many years for microchipping to be made compulsory for owned cats, giving them the same protection as dogs if they get lost.

"Cats are a much loved part of the family in millions of homes, and it is heart-breaking if they go missing without a trace.

"Sadly, it is not uncommon for cats to stray and go missing. Having a microchip gives a lost cat the best chance of being quickly reunited with their owner.

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"We regularly hear heart warming stories of the huge joy and relief when a missing cat is returned home thanks to the details of their microchip."

Credit: PA
Credit: PA

An earlier survey from Defra found that an overwhelming 99 percent of people were in support of compulsory microchipping for cats.

Animal welfare minister Lord Goldsmith said: "These plans to make cat microchipping compulsory build on our actions to improve our already world-leading animal welfare standards, including taking steps to end live animal exports and ban the practice of keeping primates as pets."

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Microchipping is a simple, painless procedure in which a chip, around the size of a grain of rice, is implanted under the skin.

If the cat is found the chip can be scanned and its owners will be identified using its unique number.

Battersea Dogs and Cats Home's deputy chief executive Peter Laurie said: "We see strays being brought to us every day, many of which have clearly been much-loved pets that have perhaps just wandered too far from home.

An adorable cat posing alongside a teeny microchip. Credit: PA
An adorable cat posing alongside a teeny microchip. Credit: PA
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"Unfortunately we are often unable to trace their previous owners as they have either not been microchipped or the details on the chip are not up to date.

"We support compulsory microchipping of pet cats and we microchip every cat before they go to their new home."

UK chief veterinary officer Christine Middlemiss said: "As we have seen already with dogs, compulsory microchipping is crucial in helping reunite owners with their treasured pets if they are lost or stolen.

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"While the festive period is not the best time to introduce a new cat or kitten to your home and family, if you do buy a pet over Christmas, then on top of making sure they are microchipped, I would advise people to ensure they have checked the readily advice available on how you can buy your pet safely and responsibly."

Featured Image Credit: PA

Topics: UK News, Animals, Cats

Claire Reid
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