Animal Welfare Law: why you must (mandatory) identify your cat

There are many aspects that have been affected by the entry into force of the Animal Welfare Law on September 29.

Oliver Thansan
Oliver Thansan
08 December 2023 Friday 04:12
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Animal Welfare Law: why you must (mandatory) identify your cat

There are many aspects that have been affected by the entry into force of the Animal Welfare Law on September 29. The most notable is the toughening of penalties and sanctions for mistreating or abandoning an animal, although the law has activated various mechanisms to protect pets. Among them are the regulation of the breeding and sale of animals, the maximum time that an animal can be alone at home or other developments for which we will have to wait for the Regulation, such as the contracting of mandatory civil liability insurance and the Conducting a course on dog ownership.

The Animal Welfare Law is intended, on the other hand, to turn into a norm what were previously simple recommendations for pet owners, such as microchipping a cat. Specifically, among the duties and obligations that pet owners have and which are included in article 26, it includes "identifying by microchip and proceeding to surgical sterilization of all cats before six months of age." . But what are the objectives and benefits behind this measure? We detail them below.

Avoiding the loss of these animals is the most immediate benefit of identification. The microchip is a small device with a 15-digit number that is implanted under the cat's skin. To do it, you only need your cat to be of legal age and the pet's official documentation, passport or health card depending on the Autonomous Community.

Data such as the name, breed and sex of the animal, as well as the name, address and contact telephone number of the owner are associated with this number. It is essential to keep all this information up to date so that you can have peace of mind if your cat goes outside.

There are also non-profit entities such as the Spanish Network for the Identification of Pets (REIAC) that have the mission of connecting the databases of the different services of the autonomous communities to ensure the recovery of lost pets.

Both the Police and the Civil Guard as well as veterinary centers and some animal shelters and shelters are authorized to read this device. The ultimate goal is to prevent the cats from becoming homeless and return them to their owner in case of theft or identify them in the event of a possible crime of animal abandonment.

Thanks to identification, local administrations can carry out a census of the cat population within each municipality. The obligation to identify and sterilize all cats of legal age is a measure that is connected to other objectives of the law.

On the one hand, control the population and health status (deworming and vaccinations) of the specimens that are part of street feline colonies, which this regulation regulates for the first time in a specific chapter. On the other hand, guarantee the controlled breeding of cats, since only those animals registered as reproducers and in the name of a breeder registered in the Registry of Pet Breeders are exempt from mandatory sterilization.

De facto owners of a cat (or a dog or a ferret) who do not properly identify their cat face a fine of between 10,000 and 30,000 euros.