Everything You Need To Know About Microchipping Your Cat

Everything You Need To Know About Microchipping Your Cat

In May 2021, the Government published its policy paper, Action Plan for Animal Welfare. This paper covered a wide range of animal issues from farm animals and kept wild animals, to our beloved pets. At its core was the ethos of animal sentience and the acknowledgment that “high standards of animal welfare are one of the hallmarks of a civilised society”

Whilst many proposals are covered in this report, one such proposal could affect cat owners across the country. The mandatory requirement of every cat owner to ensure their pet is microchipped.

Since the start of the Covid pandemic, we’ve seen continuous news stories about the increase in demand for pets and the subsequent pet theft increase. Whilst a lot of media attention has focused on dogs, cats have also seen a rise in demand and a rise in reported thefts.

The idea behind ensuring all cats are microchipped, is to ensure any lost or stolen cat can be reunited with their owners as quickly as possible. Afterall, it’s not just the owner that experiences distress at the loss of a cat, it’s the cat too.

As of April 2016, all dogs and puppies over the age of eight weeks have been legally required to have a microchip. New laws will seek to ensure cats follow the same requirements.

In the UK, we have over 10.2million cats and it’s estimated that currently about 2.6million are not microchipped. According to the Pet Theft Taskforce Report published by the Government in September 2021, the past five years have seen almost a 200% increase in reported cat thefts.

Whether you’ve invested in a prized pedigree or rehomed a rescue cat, you love your pet and despite the stereotype of cats being aloof, any real cat owner will tell you your love is reciprocated.

According to the Cat’s Protection charity, only 31% of cats in the UK live exclusively indoors and 46% of cats are allowed free roam at night when we’re asleep.

Why should I get my cat microchipped?

Whilst it’s not a legal requirement to have your cat chipped yet, it soon will be. Getting a microchip is a safe and permanent solution to ensure your cat can always be traced back to you.

Whilst reported cat thefts have increased over the last year, they’re thankfully still rare but it is common for cats to wonder off. A friendly cat might think nothing of taking up a well-meaning neighbours offer of a second dinner. A microchip can mean there’s never any confusion down the line as to who ultimately owns your cat.

How much does it cost to microchip a cat?

Prices will always vary from vet practice to vet practice, but it shouldn’t usually cost more than £30.

Do I need to microchip my indoor cat?

Yes. When the new law rolls out, it won’t differentiate between indoor and outdoor cats. Even the most placid indoor cat might become curious one day and take advantage of an open door or window.

If your indoor cat did ever get outside, it’s even more important they’re microchipped as they’re not going to be able to find their way back home as easily as an outdoor cat. They’ll be more inclined to panic at loud and unfamiliar noises and if they end up being handed into a vets or animal shelter, it will be much easier to make sure your cat is returned to you as quickly as possible

When should I get my kitten microchipped?

Legally puppies have to be chipped by the time they’re eight weeks old. Whilst it’s not yet known what the age requitement will be for the new cat microchip law, kittens can be chipped after their first vaccination appointment at about eight weeks.

If you are going to let your cat or kitten roam outside, it’s recommended they’re chipped before they’re allowed out.

How are microchips implanted?

The chip is implanted with a simple needle just like getting an injection. Your cat might feel a slight scratch but it’s over in seconds and there shouldn’t be any lasting pain. As the name implies, the chip is micro so is very hard to feel both by your cat and when you’re stroking them.

If you’ve adopted an older cat who is getting their first microchip and they’re wary of vets, the microchip can be administered under anaesthetic if they’re getting any other procedures done like neutering.

What happens after my cat has their microchip?

Your vet will give you all the information you need to make sure your cat is registered with the appropriate database. Your cat’s new chip will emit a signal immediately so they’re instantly scannable.

Aside from maybe demanding a little extra fuss as compensation for having their day interrupted for their trip to the vets, your cat will be non the wiser.

Can I track my cat with their microchip?

The standard microchip implanted by your vet does not have a tracking ability. There are third party solutions on the market like tracking collars, but your standard microchip will not tell you where your cat is or what they’ve been up to.

Any pet handed into a local authority animal rescue, vets office or even the police can be scanned though, and they’ll instantly be able to see who they need to contact to return the lost pet.

Is microchipping covered by my cat insurance?

It’s very rare to find pet insurance that covers microchipping because it’s considered part of the basic animal welfare. In the same way a car MOT isn’t covered by car insurance, most pet insurers don’t cover routine vaccinations, neutering or microchipping.

Most insurance providers will ask if the pet is microchipped though, and this can factor into the policy cost. In some cases, some providers won’t offer insurance for a dog that isn’t microchipped. By opting to have your cat microchipped, you’re increasing the chance of your cat being safely returned.