Half of Britain’s pet owners do not know that it will soon be a legal requirement for cats to be microchipped, the RSPCA has revealed.

The charity has issued a warning that people who fail to get their cats chipped by June 10th 2024 could face a fine of up to £500. It carried out a survey last month and found that 47 per cent of owners were unaware of this looming requirement.

Moreover, the RSPCA has noted that more owners than not have failed to fit a cat chip; in 2022, 83 per cent of cats brought into its rescue centres were not microchipped. While some of these might have been in a bad state because they were strays, many will have been pets that could not be swiftly and easily reunited with their owners.

Scientific officer and cat welfare expert at the RSPCA Samatha Watson said: “The countdown is truly on to get your cats microchipped and steer clear of those hefty fines.”

Noting that June is National Microchipping Month, she added: “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.”

Ms Watson welcomed the fact that the law for cats is now catching up with the rules for dogs, for whom mandatory microchipping has been in place for years.

Chipping cats can even help with international missing cat cases, as the Portsmouth News has revealed. Bubble, a cat owned by British couple Richard and Penny Caws, had been chipped in France while the couple had been living there.

The feline went missing a year ago after escaping from her basket when the couple arrived in Portsmouth en route to their UK home on the Isle of Wight. The cat ended up with the charity Portsmouth Cats, from where trustee Helen Christmas established with a local vet that the chip was not British.

It was through her efforts to trace the cat via this French connection that Ms Christmas found a message from Mr Caws, which led to Bubble finally being reunited with her owners.

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