Microchips have been mandatory for dogs since April 6 2016, but new legislation announced this week said it will also be a legal requirement for cats too by June 10 2024.
Under the new law cats must be microchipped before they are 20 weeks old or owners could be confronted with hefty fines.
Dogs are already legally required to be microchipped by the time they’re eight weeks old, unless they have health conditions that prevent them from the procedure.
Not only does microchipping help identify and return dogs to their owners but it also helps alleviate excess strain on animal shelters.
Owners are also responsible for updating their contact details and the dog’s microchip information on the database, as failing to do so could land them another £500 fine.
Insurance providers can invalidate pet insurance if a dog goes missing without a microchip.
Microchipping can be done for free in Blue Cross and Battersea rescue centres, or for a small charge of around £20 at a vet or local council.
Experts from insurance company Quotezone.co.uk have urged pet owners to microchip their dogs and register them on a national database in order to make it easier to track down lost or stolen pups.
Greg Wilson, founder and CEO of Quotezone.co.uk, said: “Microchipping increases the chance of missing pets being reunited with their owners, providing benefits for animal welfare as well as lowering costs for animal shelters.
“Inserting a microchip only takes a moment and you can also find centres that do it for free all over the nation, so there’s really no excuse for why you shouldn’t offer your four-legged friend all the protection you can.
“Not only will microchipping help keep your dog safe, but it will also help you avoid hefty fines and make it possible to protect your pooch with a pet insurance policy.
He added: “Cat owners are also encouraged to have their pets microchipped, even if it’s not yet required by law.
“Doing so may result in lower insurance costs and will also ensure that your furry friend finds its way back home.”