Cat owners who don’t microchip their pets face £500 fines from today

From today you may be fined £500 if your cat is not chipped (Picture: RSPCA)

Cat owners must now legally have their pets microchipped or face a £500 fine.

Under new rules cats must be implanted with a microchip before they reach the age of 20 weeks, ensuring any lost feline can be returned home.

There are more than nine million pet cats in England, with as many as 2.3 million unchipped in March, according to the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs.

Martin Lewis warned pet owners last month more than 20% of cats still needed to be chipped.

The money saving expert said: ‘From Monday June 10, by law, in England (doesn’t apply to rest of UK) all cats aged 20+ weeks must be microchipped and registered on a database (it became law for dogs in 2016). Yet over 20% aren’t yet.’

The new law was introduced to help return lost or stray pets to their owners, with thousands of cats going missing each year.

An extra 21 days is allowed from when the law comes into fore today, giving cat lovers until July 1 to chip their pets.

Helen Wood, manager of Derbyshire Cats Protection Centre in Ashbourne, told the BBC 66% of cats brought into them were not chipped.

Under new rules cats must be implanted with a microchip before they reach the age of 20 weeks (Picture: Auscape/Universal Images Group via Getty Images)

She said: ‘It does make it very difficult to reunite cats with their owners if they are not microchipped.

‘Microchips are around the size of a grain of rice. It’s very small and can be implanted by our vets very quickly.

‘It doesn’t hurt the cats, it’s like giving them an injection and they are then chipped for life.’

The £500 fine costs nearly five times as much as paying to get a cat chipped, with most owners paying between £20 to £30, according to Cats Protection.

Owners also risk losing out on making a claim for loss of theft on their pet insurance if they fail to microchip.

It was already a legal requirement for dog owners to have their pets chipped in England.

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