Cat Map: 1.5 million UK cat owners say their pet isn’t microchipped

With eight weeks to the deadline, a third of cat owners in England are unaware their pet will be required by law to be microchipped

MILTON KEYNES, U.K., 11 Apr, 2024 – New research from HomeAgain®, released to mark National Pet Day, Thursday 11 April 2024, reveals 1.5 million UK cat owners have not microchipped their pet and over a third (38%) in England are unaware that all cats across the country will be required by law to be microchipped by 10 June 2024.

Even though the UK is a nation of cat lovers with nearly a third of owners (30%) stating they love their cat more than humans, some have still not microchipped their furry friends. As the clock counts down and the new rules come into effect, those owners who do not take action to microchip their cat by the deadline risk breaking the law and facing a fine of up to £500.

The new research finds one in five owners say their feline has gone missing from their home with 70% stating this happens a few times every year for an average of three days. For veterinary practices, animal welfare organisations and other animal health professionals it can be incredibly challenging to reunite unchipped pet cats with their owner if they are missing or stolen. Despite this, one in four cat owners are still yet to get their cat microchipped.

Cat owners are being urged to make an appointment at their local veterinary practice to urgently arrange microchipping.

Posting their cat on social media is the most commonly cited action a cat owner says they would first take if their pet went missing (27%). However, reporting it to the feline’s microchip database should also be top on the priority list.

According to Michelle Townley, veterinary adviser to HomeAgain®, part of MSD Animal Health, microchipping provides owners the best chance of being reunited with their cat as quickly as possible.

“It is absolutely heartbreaking when a beloved cat goes missing and it is often our biggest fear when it comes to our pets. They are notoriously curious animals and frequently get themselves stuck in people’s garages, sheds or even delivery vehicles. Sadly, I’ve heard countless stories of cats going missing miles away after being caught in postal vans.

“When a pet is found and taken to a shelter or veterinary clinic, the first thing they do is scan the animal for a microchip. Unlike collars and tags that can get lost or removed, microchipping provides a permanent and effective means of identification. It is a quick, painless and simple procedure that gives owners peace of mind that their cat can be easily identified once they’re found,” said Michelle.

Owners should register their cat’s microchip with a Government compliant microchip registration database such as HomeAgain’s Pet Recovery Database, and keep details up to date. The HomeAgain database is free of charge to register and update pet and owner information. It makes it easier for lost pets to be reunited with their owners, whichever microchip they may have, offering 24/7 UK-based support to help owners if their pet goes missing.

Regional disparities in microchipping  

There are stark differences across the country when it comes to the number of felines that go missing and the numbers microchipped, revealed in HomeAgain’s Cat Map of the UK, based on the survey results.

Birmingham is lagging behind other major cities as the June cat microchipping deadline approaches. 39% of owners have not microchipped their pet or are unaware if they have done so, even though one in five say their cat goes missing a few times a week.

24% of cat owners in the capital have lost their cat before with nearly 1 in 3 Londoners (28%) stating their cat frequently goes missing for up to 2-4 days. However,28% have not microchipped their cat or are unsure if they have done so. This compares starkly with Gloucester where only 5% of cat owners say they are yet to microchip their pet.

Alice Potter, RSPCA cat welfare expert, said: “We sadly see many incidents where cats have been hit by a car or strayed away from home who never end up being reunited with their owner as they weren’t microchipped.

“Microchipping your pet is the surest way to help ensure that should they get lost or become injured they can be reunited with you. Pets are like family members and so we understand the pain and distress of losing a much-loved pet; but by ensuring they are microchipped – and the details kept up-to-date – cat owners are much more likely to be reunited with their companions.”

Cat the Vet, a UK qualified and practicing vet as well as social media influencer with over 323.6k followers on TikTok, said: “With 1.5 million cats yet to be chipped in the UK, the vet profession is going to have a busy few months ahead. As well as being required by law from June, microchipping is a key way for vets to reunite cats with their beloved families. It’s a quick, stress-free process for cats and their owners and new technology means some chips can even accurately read body temperature – paying even more dividends than just identification!”

“All cats have the potential to go missing, even the ones who live 100% indoors with windows easily being left open. Plus, our senior kitties can get easily confused if they wander too far.  I urge all those with a feline family member who isn’t microchipped to contact their vet as soon as possible to arrange microchipping for their cat. It will give you peace of mind now and for the future.”


Notes to editor

About the research

The research was undertaken by One Poll for HomeAgain® during December 2023 with a nationally representative sample of 2,000 UK cat owners.

About HomeAgain®

HomeAgain®, part of MSD Animal Health, offers a range of classic microchips, Thermochip® microchips and Readers.

MSD Animal Health aims to have the most comprehensive reunification platform through its DEFRA-compliant HomeAgain Pet Recovery Database. The service provides a multitude of benefits, including:

  • A 100% free of charge microchip database service, including registration, transfer of keepership and updates on contact details;
  • 24/7 UK-based support to help owners if their pet gets lost
  • Regular reminders to encourage owners to keep their contact details up-to-date;
  • Ability to register multiple contacts to a single microchip;
  • Offering a safe & secure DEFRA-approved database  that doesn’t sell or share personal data with third parties. To find out more, visit

About MSD Animal Health

At MSD, known as Merck & Co., Inc., Rahway, N.J., USA in the United States and Canada, we are unified around our purpose: We use the power of leading-edge science to save and improve lives around the world. For more than a century, we’ve been at the forefront of research, bringing forward medicines, vaccines and innovative health solutions for the world’s most challenging diseases. MSD Animal Health, a division of Merck & Co., Inc., Rahway, N.J., USA, is the global animal health business of MSD. Through its commitment to The Science of Healthier Animals®, MSD Animal Health offers veterinarians, farmers, pet owners and governments one of the widest ranges of veterinary pharmaceuticals, vaccines and health management solutions and services as well as an extensive suite of connected technology that includes identification, traceability and monitoring products. MSD Animal Health is dedicated to preserving and improving the health, well-being and performance of animals and the people who care for them. It invests extensively in dynamic and comprehensive R&D resources and a modern, global supply chain. MSD Animal Health is present in more than 50 countries, while its products are available in some 150 markets. For more information, visit and connect with us on LinkedIn and X (formerly Twitter).