Cat And Kitten Microchipping

A microchip is the best chance for a lost cat to be reunited with their owner. We’re delighted that from 10th June 2024, it will be a legal requirement that cats over 20 weeks old are microchipped. Read on for advice on microchipping your cat.

Cat and kitten microchipping

By their very nature, cats are roaming animals who love to explore. No matter how hard you try to keep them safe, there’s always a risk they could get lost or wander too far and struggle to find their way home.

What is a cat microchip?

A cat microchip is a small device, about the size of a grain of rice, which is inserted under your pet’s skin. The microchip has a unique code which can be read by a scanner. The chip doesn’t store personal information, but the code is kept on a central database - so if your cat or kitten is found and scanned, then it can be traced to you. The vet or rescue that has your cat can use the database to access your details and get in touch with you and you can be reunited.

Do I have to microchip my cat?

Yes – if you’re in England. A new legislation has been introduced, and from 10th June 2024 cat owners must have their cats microchipped by the time they’re 20 weeks old. Cat owners who don't get their cat microchipped will be given 21 days and if their cat isn’t chipped, they could face a fine of up to £500. The law hasn’t been updated yet in Wales or Scotland, but cat microchipping is equally important - especially if the cat may travel with the owner at any point.

The change is part of the Government’s flagship Action Plan for Animal Welfare, and campaigners hope it will mean more lost or stray cats can be reunited with their owners. It’s something that we very much welcome as our practices see a lot of lost cats that could be reunited - if only they were chipped.

cat-2-720x405.jpgHow do vets insert a microchip in a cat?

Microchipping your cat isn’t dissimilar to them receiving their vaccinations. The microchip is inserted via a quick injection between your cat’s shoulder blades and they should experience little to no discomfort.

Once in place, your cat won’t feel the chip. The actual chip sits inside a special capsule which won’t break down and is designed to last your cat’s entire life.

When should I get my kitten microchipped?

There’s no minimum age to have your cat microchipped although you should have it done before they go out for the first time. Many owners will do it at the same time as they’re having their pet neutered when they’re already under general anaesthetic. Most rescue centres will microchip kittens by the time they’re eight weeks old. In any case you should get them microchipped before you let them outside to explore. The law (in England) is that your cat must be microchipped before they’re 20 weeks old.

Whether you’re buying a kitten or welcoming an older cat into your home, microchipping them should be top of your priority list, because it gives you the best chance of being reunited with them if they’re lost or stolen. If you’re moving house, you must remember to change your address and/or phone number on the microchip, this can be done via the microchip company.

The benefits of microchipping

Cats are inquisitive by nature which is one of the things we love about them, but it also means there is more risk of them getting lost. Pet theft is also a problem, particularly where rare or expensive breeds are concerned, and microchipping can be a way of tracing the rightful owner.

Cats also like to visit other households and can be adopted by well-meaning families who might think they’re a stray if they’re not wearing a collar. The presence or absence of a microchip will show whether they are merely lost, or a genuine stray and it can prove ownership if you get into a dispute with your cat’s adopted family.

Whilst a collar can also provide valuable contact information if your pet goes missing, it’s not as secure as a microchip because it can be lost or removed.

Do I need to microchip my indoor cat?

Yes indoor-only cats should be microchipped. There are many times where an indoor cat escapes or is spooked and may leave the house. As the cat isn’t used to being outside, this is even more scary, and they may panic and run further away. The safest thing to do is chip your cat and then should the worse happen – you and your cat have a better chance of being reunited.

Is there a GPS chip for cats?

Microchipping doesn’t currently provide location information on your cat’s whereabouts. If they’re lost and taken to a rescue centre, a chip will reveal details of their ownership. While technology has advanced rapidly over the last two decades it hasn’t reached the point where a GPS tracker can be inserted under the skin. There are many reasons for this, for example, the size of the tracker would be too large for the cat to comfortably live with, and the battery required to power it would need replacing. Whilst it’s not yet possible, technology is constantly evolving and GPS chips might well be available in the future.

If you do want to track your cat’s movements, there are various GPS tracker collars available on the market, although none of them are fool proof – collars can be removed or fall off, and many have a short battery life, meaning if your cat is lost you have a very limited amount of time to locate them.

How do I change my cat's microchip?

If you move home or change contact details, it's vital that you get your cat's microchip updated. Contact the database where your pet is registered to change your contact details. If you know the database your pet is microchipped with, you can check details online or by phone. 

If you don’t know the database your pet is microchipped with, take them to your local vet or rescue centre. They'll be able to do a scan and give you the number.

Find your nearest practice

Find your nearest practice


Our Healthcare Plan For Your Cat

With the Medivet Healthcare Plan, you can save an average of £165 each year and that’s without discounts that the plan offers on top.

Learn more

Book A Microchipping Appointment

If you'd like to book a microchipping appointment for your kitten or cat, contact your local practice. If you're not sure where your local Medivet practice is, visit the page below.

Find a vet near you

Related Articles

Cat eating from bowl

Cat Nutrition

Feeding your cat the right diet can help keep them healthy for years to come. Understanding how much to feed your cat plays a key role in maintaining a healthy weight.

Read article

Understanding Your Cat's Behaviour

Cats are intriguing pets, we’ve tried to answer some common questions from cat-owners about their cat’s behaviour.

Read article

The Importance Of Preventative Care

Vaccines, boosters and medical checks are important for maintaining your pet's health.

Read article