RSPCA Cymru is calling on the Welsh Government to commit to making the compulsory microchipping of cats a legal requirement – as the charity reveals 65% of adults want it to be introduced.
The animal welfare charity’s calls follow the results of a survey conducted at the end of last month. Data showed that approximately two in three (65%) adults agreed with mandatory microchipping for cats in Wales¹.
It was also found that 70% of those asked agreed that mandatory microchipping would improve cat welfare in Wales. This rises to almost four in five among current cat owners (79%).
Worryingly, the RSPCA has reported that 83% of cats brought into its animal centres across Wales and England in 2022 were not microchipped² – demonstrating the impact any change of law could have.
New legislation from the UK Government will mean that cat owners in England will have until 10 June 2024 to microchip their cats. Owners found not to have microchipped their cat will have 21 days to get one implanted or may face a fine of up to £500.
While the Welsh Government’s Animal Welfare Planpromises to “consider extending compulsory microchipping to include kittens and cats”, there has not been any firm commitments or timelines published.
Microchipping dogs has been compulsory in both Wales and England since 2016.
Samantha Watson, scientific officer and cat welfare expert at the RSPCA said: “Microchipping is an absolutely essential component of being a responsible pet owner.
“Seven in ten adults in Wales agree that mandatory microchipping would improve cat welfare in Wales. This goes to show the public are heavily in favour of introducing microchipping laws, but it’s now down to the Welsh Government to take action.”
As this month is National Microchipping Month, the RSPCA is encouraging all pet owners to microchip their pets. Microchipping is a very easy and painless procedure which involves a tiny chip being quickly and simply inserted under the animal’s skin and this then gives the pet their own unique code.
Samantha added: “The microchip can be scanned and matched to the owner’s contact details which are kept on a database. We believe the optimum time to microchip a cat is when they are neutered as a kitten at around four-months-old and under anaesthetic.
“If an owner moves house or changes their telephone number they must also make sure that they tell the database they are registered with so that they have up-to-date contact details. If the information on that database is old and out-of-date then the chip is useless. Telling your vet does not automatically update the details on the database but this is something you can do yourself online.”
More information about cat microchipping can be found on the RSPCA website.