A new law regulating the microchipping of the nation’s cats is on the way, obliging all cats to be chipped by 2021.
Kittens born once the law is rubber-stamped will have only three-months to be chipped.
Explained reports over the weekend, the move is designed to stop people abandoning their pets and “increase safety and public health”.
The grace period for cats predating the law mirrors the time given to dogs which existed before the dog-chipping law came into effect.
These ‘older’ dogs still have until next year to be chipped – with owners facing stiff fines if they are found with unchipped animals.
Fines for the owners of cats who ignore the new rules will also be stiff – ranging from €50 to €3,470, says Jornal das Notícias, with ‘non-compliant’ businesses, kennels, breeders, associations and pet shops facing fines that could reach €44,890.
According to newspapers reporting on the law (promoted by the Ministry of Agriculture), opinions are divided over whether it will make a difference.
Online comments suggest many people think it might actually be counterproductive.
Said one, the microchipping system hasn’t worked with dogs, “why do they think it will work with cats?”
Other readers say there are villages in some areas that have ‘hundreds of cats’. “Who is going to pay for the chips for all of them?”
Says JN, so far there is nothing to suggest owners who can’t afford to get a chip implanted will receive any kind of financial support, “but there are certain municipalities that have agreements with the veterinary association (Ordem dos Veterinários)”.
ALGARVE CATTERY SAYS NEW LAW IS “BRILLIANT”
Out west in the town of Aljezur where stray cats and dogs are cared for by the AEZA assocation of local residents, ‘cat lady’ Jane Blum is delighted.
“This is exactly what I have been pushing for”, she told us. “It makes people realise the responsibility they are taking on when they adopt a kitten or a cat, and it is also so much easier for people like us to find the owner if the cats get lost.
The law “also starts to give cats a better standing in the community…right now they are very low down the line”, she said. “I see it all the time on Facebook: a post about puppies found in the rubbish bins gets so many more ‘sad faces’ than one about kittens found”.
As to the cost of the chip, AEZA only asks its adopters to pay €20, and all its cats and kittens this year “are already chipped”.