Petlog, one of the largest databases for microchipped pets, has welcomed new legislation laid in Parliament yesterday (13 March) to introduce compulsory cat microchipping in England next year, and is urging cat owners to not leave microchipping of their pet to the last minute.
The Government's announcement on 13 March means that all pet cats in England must be microchipped from 10 June 2024.
The Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (Defra) estimates that as many as 2.8 million cats in the UK are unchipped, meaning that it would be very difficult to reunite them with their owner if they get lost or stolen. Petlog, which holds a database of 13.4 million microchipped pets, is also concerned that many pet owners forget to alert their microchip database about changes of phone number and address, which is a further barrier to successful reunification.
A spokesperson for Petlog, which is managed by The Kennel Club, said: “Microchipping your pet and registering them on a microchipping database, which holds the keeper’s address and phone number, is such a simple step to take but can genuinely be a life-saver for your pet, and gives peace of mind during what is always an extremely stressful and worrying time.
“Microchipping is already mandatory for dogs and ensuring that the same rules apply to cats underlines the Government’s commitment to keeping our nation’s pets safe should they get lost or fall victim to criminals.
“Given the well reported shortages in the vet sector, since the pandemic, we urge cat owners to not leave microchipping until the last minute but to take the steps needed now, to ensure that their cat is kept safe and that they are compliant when the law changes. Of course, a microchip is only as effective as the contact details on the database that the chip is registered with, so this is also a timely reminder to all pet owners to ensure that their contact details are up-to-date, in order to help ensure swift reunification.”
Smudge, a cat from Darlington, was reunited with his family due to his microchip, having gone missing seven years ago from his home.
Now eight years old, Smudge was a kitten when his owners last saw him in 2014, when he didn’t return home after going outside with his brother. His owner, Aimee Wilkinson, 29, from Darlington, was determined to find him. She contacted Petlog, who Smudge is microchipped with, and her vets to alert them, put up posters, shared on social media and looked every day for Smudge for months – but heard nothing.
Then, coincidentally on Smudge’s 8th birthday, Aimee saw a photo posted on a lost and found pets social media group, who looked just like Smudge. Smudge had been found just half a mile away by a resident, who took him to the local vet to have his microchip scanned. This confirmed Smudge’s correct address, so he and Aimee could finally be reunited.
Aimee commented: “I was devastated for months when we lost Smudge, but I was adamant I’d find him again. I’m absolutely over the moon we have finally been reunited - who’d believe it!
“We were very lucky his rescuer found him, shared his photo on Facebook and scanned his microchip, which identified it definitely was him, after all these years. Smudge is now home safe and sound. He’s also insured and most importantly, my contact details are correct on his Petlog microchip record.
“Please update your microchip details, if you move or circumstances change – it’s really important to keep your pet safe. We’re one happy family again because Smudge is home.”
Under the new plans, from June 2024 all keepers in England must ensure their cat is microchipped before they reach the age of 20 weeks and their contact details are stored and kept up to date in a pet microchipping database linked to the microchip number. Those found not to have their cat microchipped and registered with correct details on a compliant database, will have 21 days to comply, or may face a fine of up to £500.
More information about Petlog, which is managed by The Kennel Club, and details about getting your pet chipped, is available on the Petlog website.Read the draft regulations.