Close to half of all adults in England are not aware microchipping cats will become law 12 months from now.
The news comes as the charity also revealed 83% of cats brought into its animal centres across England and Wales in 2022 had not been microchipped.
Under new legislation announced in March, from 10 June 2024 it will be a legal requirement to microchip pet cats in England after they reach 20 weeks. Owners must also keep their contact details up-to-date on a microchipping database.
Call to act
Anyone discovered to have not chipped their cat will have 21 days to do so or face a potential fine of up to £500.
Samantha Watson, scientific officer and cat welfare expert at the RSPCA, said the charity was urging owners to act as part of June’s National Microchipping Month.
She 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 who are struggling with overflowing waiting lists.
“Microchipping dogs has been mandatory for many years, so to finally see the same law and protections being applied to cats is a huge step forward for feline welfare.”
She added: “We have seen countless stories of non-microchipped cats that have been hit by a car or strayed who never get reunited with their owner, as well as the happy stories where cats have been reunited with their owners by our dedicated RSPCA officers thanks to this tiny chip. We feel positive that – thanks to the change in the law – now we will see many more happy stories than sad ones.
“We are hopeful that alongside increasing the number of lost or injured cats reunited with their owners, the new law will help to tackle other common welfare issues for cats, including abandonments.”
The RSPCA survey showed overwhelming public support for the laws, with more than three-quarters of adults in England agreeing it was a positive development for cat welfare.
Officials at the charity are now hopeful the Welsh Government will act to introduce compulsory microchipping for cats there.
Around 7 in 10 adults there are in favour of the new laws, according to the charity’s survey.
Microchipping will not be mandatory in England for unowned or feral cats.
The RSPCA poll was carried out in May by Savanta Comres Polling on a sample of 2,141 adults in England and Wales (1,776 in England and 365 in Wales).
Credit to: Half of adults unaware of cat microchipping law – RSPCA (Vet Times)
Vet Times. (2023). Half of adults unaware of cat microchipping law – RSPCA [online]