Microchipping and desexing your cat

In Palmerston North, it is mandatory to microchip and register your cat. You also need to desex cats older than 6 months. This is part of being a responsible pet owner.

These requirements only apply to cats born after 1 July 2018, when we introduced a new city bylaw. Cat owners are responsible for the cost of these procedures.

If you're a registered cat breeder, you are exempt from having to desex cats kept for breeding.

Why should I microchip and desex my cat?

A female cat can start reproducing from the age of 5 months, and can have as many as 4 litters of up to 6 kittens every year. We hope compulsory desexing will reduce the number of unwanted cats and kittens.

Cats which aren't desexed are more likely to roam and be a victim of road traffic injuries. They are also more likely to fight with other cats. This can lead to injuries and infections - and expensive vet bills!

Microchipping allows vets, animal shelters and councils to contact the owner of a cat. This increases the chance of reuniting a lost or injured cat with its owner. It's also important if there's a civil defence emergency.

What is microchipping?

A microchip is a permanent way to identify an animal. The chip is about the same size as a grain of rice and injected under the skin by a vet. Cats tolerate the procedure well.

Each chip has a unique ID code which can be read by an electronic scanner. When the vet microchips your cat, they will also fill in the paperwork to register your cat. They do this by recording the code alongside your details on the New Zealand Companion Animal RegisterThis is a national database operated by Companion Animals New Zealand.

There's a one-off fee to register your cat. It costs about $15 to $25 on top of the microchip fee and is a lifetime registration. There are no recurring annual fees. You can access the database to update details like your phone number and address.

What's the best age to get my cat microchipped or desexed?

All cats born after 1 July 2018 must be microchipped and desexed before they are 6 months old. Your vet will be able to provide advice on the best time to microchip and desex your cat.

How much will it cost me to microchip and desex my cat?

Vets determine their charges, so costs will vary. It's also good to check in with the SPCA if you are on a low income to see what help they may be able to give towards desexing.

How will Council be able to tell if cats are microchipped and/or desexed?

Council officers can scan cats for the presence of a microchip.

Vets can provide you with a desexing certificate once your cat has had the surgery.

Will Council fine me if I don't follow the rules?

There are currently no fines. But if we find out your cat isn't desexed, we'll send you a reminder letter.

If you repeatedly refuse to microchip your cat, we may prosecute you for breaching the bylaw.

There are provisions in the Local Government Act 2002 if your cat is found to be causing a serious nuisance or health and safety issue.