New bylaw on microchipping cats

In a new bylaw, all domestic cats over the age of 12 weeks in Wellington must now be microchipped by February 2018, and the cat's microchip registered with NZCAR.

A grey cat.

Microchip your cat

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The bylaw on microchipping cats was passed at the Environment Committee on 4 August 2016.

89% of all submitters and 82% of cat owners who submitted on the Animal Bylaw supported the introduction of compulsory microchipping.

All cats over the age of 12 weeks are covered by the bylaw.

The bylaw will come into place in early 2018, giving owners 18 months to meet the new requirement for cats to be microchipped.

Microchipping doesn’t hurt cats.

Benefits of microchipping your cat

Microchipping helps protect your cat and supports you as a pet owner. 

Microchips are reliable, unlike cat collars, which often come off.

Cats that are microchipped can be easily identified and returned to their owner if they become lost or separated. 

Following the Christchurch earthquakes, over 80% of microchipped cats were quickly reunited with their owners after the quake, compared with only 15% of non-microchipped cats

Microchipping is recommended as best practice by the Ministry for Primary Industries in their Companion Cats - Code of Welfare 2007.

Stray cats

Sometimes the Council gets complaints about stray cat colonies and the solution is to catch them. This work is done by Wellington City Council staff in conjunction with staff from Greater Wellington Regional Council, Wellington SPCA and local veterinary clinics.

If a domestic cat with a microchip is picked up by mistake, it will be released or - if reported as lost - returned to its owner.

What's involved

You can get your cat microchipped at your local vet.

You will then need to register your cat's microchip with the NZ Companion Animal Register (NZCAR). 
For more information, see Frequently-asked questions for owners - NZCAR

The Council is looking at how we can work with communities to help people microchip their cats.

Cost

Microchipping costs between $15 and $20, plus vet fees.

Registration with NZCAR is a one-off fee of $15.

Frequently asked questions

What is the minimum age to get my cat microchipped?

What is microchipping?

Why should I microchip my cat?

Will microchipping hurt my cat?

How will you enforce the cat microchipping bylaw?

Should I report someone if I know they haven’t microchipped their cat?

What happens to microchipped/non-microchipped cats when they are picked up?

How long does the SPCA keep microchipped/non-microchipped cats?

Where do you keep microchipped/non-microchipped cats?

What happens to microchipped/non-microchipped cats you find attacking birds?

If my cat is not microchipped and gets picked up, will I have to pay a fine?