How much does it cost to microchip cats? Info on deadline, microchipping law and potential fines for pet owners

MILLIONS of cat owners in England could face a hefty fine if they do not get their feline microchipped soon.

Out of the estimated nine million pet cats in England, 2.2 million are still not chipped, according to the charity Cats Protection.

GettyIt is now the law to microchip your cat[/caption]

What is microchipping?

Microchipping involves placing a tiny electronic chip under the skin of your cat, usually at the back of the neck.

Your cat won’t be able to feel the microchip once it is put in place but can be read by a scanner.

It means lost, stray or stolen cats can be reunited with their owners.

Madison Rogers, head of advocacy, campaigns and government relations for Cats Protection, said: “Some owners think they are never going to go through the trauma of losing their pet cat, but in the last year 115,000 pet cats in England went missing and never returned home.

“Cats are nimble and extremely agile and can easily slip out without us noticing.

“Many lost cats live a frightening life on the streets. No food, no water, no shelter, no veterinary care and constantly at risk of severe injury or death from many hazards such as cars and wild animals.

“Collars can easily drop off, become damaged so that the address details become unreadable and, if they are not quick release, can become snagged on obstacles like tree branches, causing injuries to the cat.

“A microchip is safe, stays with your cat for its lifetime and is linked to contact details that are stored safely in a database.”

Is it a legal requirement to microchip a cat?

The government is introducing new rules to make microchipping compulsory in England.

Cat owners must have their pet microchipped by 10 June.

After this deadline, it becomes mandatory to microchip cats before they reach 20 weeks of age.

How much does cat microchipping cost?

Microchipping your cat typically ranges from £10 to £30 in cost.

If you adopt a cat from a rescue centre or animal welfare charity, the cost of microchipping your new pet is included in the adoption fee.

Remember to keep a record of your cat’s microchip number.

If you don’t have it, contact your vet to check if it’s on their records, or take your cat to the vet for a scan.

Can I get my cat chipped for free?

Certain animal charities, such as Cats Protection, PDSA, or the RSPCA, may offer microchipping services at a reduced rate or even for free.

These larger charities often provide subsidised care, typically requiring proof of a low income and/or eligibility for specific benefits.

Local animal charities may also offer some level of support, so it’s worth reaching out to them for assistance.

In the past, the RSPCA has hosted a free microchipping weekend for pet owners.

How much could I be fined for not microchipping my cat?

If your cat has not been microchipped, you will be given 21 days to get it done.

After that, if you still have failed to do so you will face a fine of up to £500.

The new law only applies in England.

As of June 2024, microchipping cats is not compulsory in Wales, Northern Ireland and Scotland.

How can I trim my pet bills?

Budget

Start by creating a dedicated budget for pet-related expenses.

This should include categories such as food, grooming, toys and veterinary care.

By having a clear understanding of your monthly pet-related outgoings, you can identify areas where you might be overspending and hopefully find ­opportunities to cut back.

Buy in bulk

Look for deals and discounts when purchasing pet supplies. Buying in bulk can often save you money in the long run.

It’s also fine to buy cheaper supermarket pet food as long as the label says “complete”, as that means it has all the essential nutrients your pet needs.

Opt for pre-loved

Pick up pre-loved items for your favourite via eBay or Shpock.

It is also worth checking out the free section on Gumtree and the Nextdoor app because many people have had a clear-out after Christmas.

We’ve seen free cat carriers, pet beds and even puppy food listed.

Exercise and hygiene

Keeping your pet healthy is one of the best ways to save on vet costs.

Ensure your pet gets regular ­exercise and, for dogs, brushing their teeth can also contribute to long-term savings by reducing the likelihood of expensive dental procedures.

Compare vet prices

When it comes to vets, prices can vary significantly between surgeries. Take the time to compare them.

One common area where pet owners may overspend is on vet subscriptions.

Compare and contrast vets in your area to find the best prices.

Get free help if you’re struggling

The Blue Cross charity hands out pet food to hard-up owners — head to bluecross.org.uk/petfoodbank.

You can also make donations of pet food to the Blue Cross charity at Pets At Home stores nationwide.

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