British gov't mulls microchip plan for millions of cats
Under a law introduced in 2016, dogs already have to be microchipped, with research showing around 92 percent of dog owners comply with the regulation.
The British government says introducing a similar measure for the country's feline population, said to be almost 11 million, will help reunite lost cats with their owners, tackle pet theft and identify cats injured or killed on roads.
Villiers, said: "Today's call for evidence on cat microchipping will help the government understand how we can better protect this country's much-loved cats and kittens."
The process of microchipping involves the insertion of a chip, generally around the size of a grain of rice, painlessly under the skin of a pet.
The microchip has a unique serial number which can be read by a scanner. When an animal strays or is lost, scanning the microchip means the registered owner can be identified and the pet can be reunited with them.
James Yeates, CEO of the welfare charity Cats Protection, welcomed the proposal.
He said: "Microchipping is an essential part of responsible pet ownership, yet each year we still take in thousands of cats which have not been microchipped. The majority of strays we take in are unchipped and so we are usually unable to trace an owner and the cats have to be rehomed."
A new survey in 2019 said there are 10.9 million cats in Britain and 9.9 million dogs. It means around a quarter of families in the country own dogs or cats.