Microchipping your cat – the latest

All owned cats must be microchipped, or owners risk a hefty fine Across the board, animal welfare charities have welcomed the UK Government’s recent announcement for the compulsory microchipping of owned cats in England. Microchipping your cat is vital for both indoor and outdoor cats. Even if your cat prefers to spend their days in the comfort of their own
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13th April 2023

All owned cats must be microchipped, or owners risk a hefty fine

Across the board, animal welfare charities have welcomed the UK Government's recent announcement for the compulsory microchipping of owned cats in England. Microchipping your cat is vital for both indoor and outdoor cats. Even if your cat prefers to spend their days in the comfort of their own home, their microchip will still offer additional security should they go missing.  

David Bowles of the RSPCA said: “Microchipping is an absolutely essential component of being a responsible pet owner. This new law means that lost cats can be easily identified and reunited with their owners, rather than being handed to rehoming charities that are struggling with overflowing waiting lists.”

Becky Thwaites of Blue Cross commented: “Compulsory microchipping of cats is something we have long campaigned for. Almost a quarter of cats Blue Cross rehoming centres care for are brought in as strays, and 80% of them are not microchipped, making it impossible for them to be reunited with their owners. Compulsory microchipping is a safe and permanent way of identifying cats and something we always encourage owners to do.”



Cats Protection added: “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.”

When does cat microchipping become law?

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 from the age of 20 weeks must be microchipped by 10 June 2024. Owners will be given 21 days to get their cat microchipped or face a fine of up to £500 if they don’t comply.

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 – under the skin between the shoulder blades. It’s a very quick procedure that takes just a few seconds. 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.

Cats Protection advises: “The procedure to microchip your cat is quick and painless – in fact, it is no more painful to your cat than getting 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. Many kittens are microchipped at the same time as being spayed or neutered when they are already under local anaesthetic. It is recommended to have your cat microchipped before they go outside for the first time.”

Remember to update your cat’s microchip details if you move home or change any of your details – this is essential to ensure you can be traced should your cat stray.

PDSA points out that microchips are not linked to GPS and won’t track your cat’s location.

How much does it cost to microchip a cat?

Cats Protection states: “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. 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.”

What microchip databases are available?

PDSA advises: There are many different microchip database companies in the UK, so it’s really important that you make sure your cat is registered with one that’s UK government approved. You can use Check a chip to check which microchip database your pet is registered with.”

Where should you take a lost cat to be scanned for their microchip?

Many vets and animal welfare organisations scan lost cats for microchips, including Cats Protection. In fact, the charity helped reunite 2,500 lost cats with their owners in 2019 as they were microchipped. 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.

For more information, download Cat’s Protection’s Microchipping Guide >>


To celebrate this positive step and to highlight the importance of microchipping, the RSPCA has shared some amazing cat and owner reunions. None of these heart-warming moments would have been possible if the cats hadn’t been microchipped.

Long-lost Raffi finally finds his family

The RSPCA helped to reunite an overjoyed family with their cat who had been missing for seven years, thanks to his microchip.

Black and white Raffael (known as ‘Raffi’) disappeared from his home in Old Trafford shortly before Christmas in 2016. Despite endless searching in the months and years that followed he was never found.

The breakthrough came when RSPCA inspector Rachel Henderson was called about an injured stray cat in a garden in Longsight on 17 January 2023. When the officer scanned him, she discovered he was microchipped and registered to the Javed family, who lived about five miles away.

Mr Javed said: “My children, Maryam, Ibraheem and Khadeeja were only seven, six and three at the time and they were devastated when Raffi went missing. I remember it was freezing cold at the time. but we searched for him in all weathers, we literally looked for months and months. I was travelling back to the UK from abroad at the time when my brother rang me to say Raffi had been found. We couldn’t believe it, the children were so excited, it’s all they could talk about.”

Rupert’s return

In May 2021, the RSPCA reunited Katie Parkinson with her cat who had been missing for over a year.

Black cat Rupert went missing from his home in Port Sunlight in 2020 when he left the family house as usual – but never returned. His owner Katie was frantic that her pet hadn’t come home and over the next few months she did everything she could to find him, but she had no luck.

Then, exactly a year later, RSPCA rescuer, inspector Anthony Joynes, called Katie and broke the happy news that Rupert had been found – two miles away from his home in Bebington. Rupert had been spotted as a stray and a member of the public was concerned as he had an injured paw, so she called the RSPCA.

Katie said: “When he called. I was gobsmacked. I just burst into tears as I really thought he was never coming home. I had tried for months to find him. He knew exactly who I was, and it is obvious he has missed me as he just won’t let me out of his sight or leave me alone!”

Bugsy’s miraculous reunion in France

Bugsy the cat, from Weston-Super-Mare went missing in 2012 leaving his owners bereft.

After desperately searching for him, Bugsy’s owner Christine Holland assumed the worst and that Bugsy would never be found. The Hollands had since moved to France, along with their three other cats including Muppet, who is Bugsy’s brother. 

Miraculously, in June 2019 the pair were reunited after the RSPCA tracked them down through the details registered on Bugsy’s microchip. Bugsy was given care and attention from the team at RSPCA Brent Knoll Animal Centre until Christine and Robert were able to make the journey back to Britain to meet their missing feline friend.

Christine Holland said: “We had a phone call from the RSPCA inspector asking if we had a cat called Bugsy. We were confused and answered that we used to but had lost him almost seven years ago. She said that he was alive and well. We were shocked to say the least, thinking the worst had happened, and given up all hope of ever finding him. He is now settled with us and our other three cats. We would never have got him back if we hadn't had him microchipped as a kitten.”

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