RSPCA Cymru urges Welsh Government to make cat microchipping compulsory
RSPCA Cymru has called on the Welsh Government to introduce compulsory microchipping for cats, following a similar announcement from the UK Government concerning England.
The call comes after the UK Government declared on 13 March that cat owners in England will be legally required to microchip their pets after 20 weeks of age and ensure their contact details are stored and updated in a pet microchipping database.
According to the new legislation, cat owners in England have until 10 June 2024 to comply with the microchipping requirement.
Failure to do so within 21 days of receiving notice could result in fines of up to £500.
While the Welsh Government’s Animal Welfare Plan has promised to “consider extending compulsory microchipping to include kittens and cats”, no firm commitments or timelines have been published.
RSPCA Cymru hopes the Welsh Government will follow England’s lead, noting that microchipping dogs has been mandatory in Wales since 2016. David Bowles, RSPCA head of public affairs, said, “We are really pleased to see the UK Government bringing in this legislation in England and hope the Welsh Government will do the same.”
Mr Bowles emphasised that microchipping is crucial to responsible pet ownership, as it helps reunite lost cats with their owners and reduces the burden on rehoming charities with long waiting lists.
He added that microchipping is a simple and painless procedure that provides pets with a unique identification code, allowing them to be returned to their owners if lost or injured.
Approximately 11 million cats are owned in the UK, with over a quarter of that population believed to be unchipped.
In 2020, only about 500 out of the more than 3,000 cats arriving at RSPCA centres were microchipped, representing just 15%.
Mr Bowles urged cat owners to update their contact information on microchipping databases when moving or changing phone numbers, as outdated information renders the chip useless.
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