The Government has announced plans for a new law to make it compulsory to microchip cats before they reach the age of 20 weeks and their contact details stored and kept up to date in a pet microchipping database.

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

Cats Protection, which has campaigned for years for the measure, says the new regulations will be a major step forward for cat welfare in England.

According to its research, 2.8 million or roughly 26% of the UK's 10.8 million pet cats are not currently microchipped. 

Animal Welfare Minister Lord Goldsmith said: "These new rules will help protect millions of cats across the country and will be brought in alongside a range of other protections we are introducing under our Action Plan for Animal Welfare.

The Government is also reviewing the regulations on dog microchipping and the related microchipping database systems to consider whether improvements can be made.

The new cat microchipping rules will come into force once this review has completed.

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