Cat and Dog Microchipping and Scanning in England

Page 1 of 14

Closes 17 Feb 2021


1. It is not currently a legal requirement in England for owners to microchip their cats unless the cats are travelling under the EU Pet Travel Scheme, or have been commercially imported. Defra has received strong representations that cat microchipping should be made a compulsory requirement of cat ownership.

2. Campaigners argue that compulsory microchipping should be introduced to enable quick reunification of lost cats with their owners. It is estimated that just over 70% of owned cats are currently microchipped in this country. Campaigners argue that making cat microchipping compulsory would increase that proportion to nearer 90%.

3. A Call for Evidence on compulsory cat microchipping in England ran for 12 weeks from 12 October 2019 to 4 January 2020. A document providing a summary of the responses can be found here ( A short overview of the summary of the responses to the Call for Evidence is at paragraphs 25-29.

4. The Government has decided that given the overwhelming support for compulsory cat microchipping, with some 99% of respondents supporting the policy, it will proceed with a full public consultation on the issue.

5. This consultation explores in more detail some of the questions raised in the Call for Evidence including how to address stray cats, and enforcement and penalties for non-compliance. The consultation also considers the issue of compulsory scanning of pets (dogs and cats) for microchips. This follows calls from recent campaigns to make scanning a legal requirement for vets, local authorities and rescue and rehoming centres in certain circumstances.

6. Animal welfare is a devolved matter so any compulsory requirement to microchip cats or reforms to scanning obligations introduced by Defra would only apply to England.

7. In parallel with the consultation, Defra is already undertaking a Post Implementation Review (PIR) of the Microchipping of Dogs (England) Regulations 2015 (“the 2015 Regulations”) which provide the legislative regime for compulsory dog microchipping in England [1]. This PIR may inform potential changes to the way compulsory dog microchipping is currently regulated in England and is due to report next year.

1. What is your name?
2. What is your email address?

If you enter your email address then you will automatically receive an acknowledgement email when you submit your response.

3. What is your organisation?
4. Would you like your response to be confidential?

Confidentiality and data protection information

1. A summary of responses to this consultation will be published on the Government website at: An annex to the consultation summary will list all organisations that responded but will not include personal names, addresses or other contact details.

1.1 Defra may publish the content of your response to this consultation to make it available to the public without your personal name and private contact details (e.g. home address, email address, etc).

1.2 If you click on ‘Yes’ in response to the question asking if you would like anything in your response to be kept confidential, you are asked to state clearly what information you would like to be kept as confidential and explain your reasons for confidentiality. The reason for this is that information in responses to this consultation may be subject to release to the public or other parties in accordance with the access to information law (these are primarily the Environmental Information Regulations 2004 (EIRs), the Freedom of Information Act 2000 (FOIA) and the Data Protection Act 2018 (DPA)). We have obligations, mainly under the EIRs, FOIA and DPA, to disclose information to particular recipients or to the public in certain circumstances. In view of this, your explanation of your reasons for requesting confidentiality for all or part of your response would help us balance these obligations for disclosure against any obligation of confidentiality. If we receive a request for the information that you have provided in your response to this consultation, we will take full account of your reasons for requesting confidentiality of your response, but we cannot guarantee that confidentiality can be maintained in all circumstances.

1.3 If you click on ‘No’ in response to the question asking if you would like anything in your response to be kept confidential, we will be able to release the content of your response to the public, but we won’t make your personal name and private contact details publicly available.

1.4 There may be occasions when Defra will share the information you provide in response to the consultation, including any personal data with external analysts. This is for the purposes of consultation response analysis and provision of a report of the summary of responses only.

1.5 This consultation is being conducted in line with the Cabinet Office “Consultation Principles” and be found at:

1.6 If you have any comments or complaints about the consultation process, please address them to:

Consultation Coordinator, Defra

2nd Floor, Foss House, Kings Pool,

1-2 Peasholme Green, York, YO1 7PX

Or email: