Identification chips for cats

Ask Afpop
In this new monthly column, afpop, Portugal’s largest foreign residents’ association, aims to answer some of the most frequently-asked questions by members.

Question: We have heard that there is new legislation requiring cats to be microchipped. We feed a feral cat that comes to our garden area regularly. Are we obliged to have him microchipped?

afpop answers: The short answer to your question is no.

There is a project from the Ministry of Agriculture that requires all cats to be fitted with an identification microchip by 2021 (Dec. Lei nº 82/2019), as has been the case with dogs since 2008. According to the rules, owners of cats born after the law came into force on June 26 this year have three months to register cats and ferrets, whilst those which were born before that date must be registered within two years of the implementation date, i.e. before June 26, 2021.

According to the decree-law, cat owners who do not microchip their animals within the established deadlines will be subject to fines ranging from €50 to €3,740 for individuals and €44,890 in the case of companies/associations. However, the law says that simply being a person who feeds a cat, even regularly, does not make you the owner of it. The owner is someone who has “intent to act as beneficiaries of the right of ownership”.

The new measures cover not only domestic cats, but also those in pet shops awaiting sale or rescue centres awaiting donation, associations and stores. The identification microchip includes an individual 15-digit code which, if the animal is lost or abandoned, enables the authorities to identify its name as well as the owners, along with other details such as their address and contact details.

The device consists of an electronic capsule – a term used by law – which is introduced under the skin of the neck of the animal via an injection which is administered by a veterinarian. We have been advised that the cost of having the chip implanted is around €30.

For more information about the benefits of membership of afpop, the largest association for foreign residents in Portugal, you can visit their website; email them direct on [email protected] or call the afpop office on 282 458 509 or 938 252 100. Please remember to quote The Algarve Resident when contacting them.