A ST HELENS vet has issued advice to cat owners, stating they have two months to get their pets microchipped or face £500 fines.

The clock is ticking ahead of new laws being introduced in June that will make it a legal requirement for cats in England to be microchipped, according to a warning from White Cross Vets in St Helens.

From June 10, 2024 all cats in England will have to be microchipped by the time they reach 20 weeks of age, and their contact details stored and kept up to date in a pet microchipping database.

Any owners found not to have microchipped their cat will have 21 days to have one implanted, or they could face a fine of up to £500.

Latest figures from the PDSA Animal Wellbeing Report revealed that only 54 per cent of cat owners are aware their cat must be microchipped from June. The latest figures also suggest there are 2.4 million cats across England that are not microchipped.

Experienced vet, Tom Ward, from White Cross Vets, said: “Every week we see cats that are lost or have been involved in accidents, and when they have a microchip, it makes it much easier to reunite them with their owners.

“Without a microchip, all too often cats end up in rehoming centres, which are often flooded with lost cats. Many of these were once beloved pets, but if they haven’t got a microchip, it can be difficult to find their owners, who are left wondering what happened to them.

“This legislation is therefore very good news for cats and it’s worth noting that the rules also apply to cats that live indoors.

“Microchips last a lifetime and our clinics are currently microchipping cats at a reduced price, or they’re free as part of our Complete Wellness Plan. They’re about the size of a grain of rice and are inserted under the skin in a quick process that takes just a few seconds.

“Each chip has a unique serial number and whenever a lost pet is brought into us, we can scan it and cross-reference it against a pet database to obtain the owner’s details.

“However, this also means it’s vital that owners remember to update their details if they move house or change their phone number.”

Tom added: “These new laws for cats follow similar legislation that was introduced in 2016 requiring all dogs to be microchipped and registered by the age of eight weeks. It’s made a positive difference to the country’s dog population, so it’s brilliant that cats will soon enjoy the same level of protection soon.”

For more information about White Cross Vets, visit whitecrossvets.co.uk.