Do I have to have my cat chipped or neutered in Germany?
No, the law does not explicitly require cats to be chipped or neutered.
Chipping or registering cats with a microchip is a quick and simple procedure in which a small transponder is implanted under the skin of the animal. This chip can then be read by the vet or the police with a special device. Cats can be chipped at the earliest when they are six weeks old. If you have your cat chipped, the transponder will last a lifetime in most cases. If you are planning a trip abroad with your cat, it is also required by law to register the animal with a microchip.The disadvantage of this method is that the chip can only be read by the vet or the police. The advantage of this method of identification and registration is that the owner of a lost cat can easily be found through various pet registries, e.g. TASSO , if the chip number has been registered there before.
Neutering is also not explicitly required in Germany. However, neutering may still be strongly suggested from an animal welfare perspective. According to the Animal Welfare Act, an animal owner must ensure that his animals do not reproduce uncontrollably. Since a cat can have up to three litters in one year, there is a very high risk that the reproduction of an unneutered cat will get out of hand. Unwanted offspring are still killed in a cruel way, especially in rural areas, or lead to feral animals that sooner or later become destitute. In addition, large cat populations in a confined space are sources of infectious diseases. As mentioned above, the law does not require cats to be chipped. However, since outdoor cats in particular can wander very far from their homes and often go missing, and since finding the owner without a chip can be difficult, it is still advisable to have your cat chipped on a voluntary basis.
In the meantime, there are more and more localities with amended municipal ordinances. On the one hand, these may have been created on the basis of regulatory law or on the basis of competence ordinances of the Länder according to § 13b Animal Welfare Act. In total, there are at least 1071 cities and municipalities with so-called spay/neuter, identification and registration ordinances for cats today (as of May 2022 – no claim to completeness).
Responsibility ordinances based on § 13b of the Animal Welfare Act now exist in the following federal states: Baden-Württemberg, Bavaria, Hesse, Mecklenburg-Western Pomerania, Lower Saxony, North Rhine-Westphalia, Rhineland-Palatinate, Saarland, Saxony-Anhalt, Schleswig-Holstein and Thuringia.
In order to curb the problem of ever-increasing cat populations, the German Animal Welfare Federation, together with its affiliated animal welfare associations, proposes a spay/neuter, identification and registration obligation for cats that is as comprehensive as possible.
Do you need legal help in understanding these ordinances? Are you a cat owner and you would like to talk to an international lawyer about your uncertainties? Write us an e-mail and we will get back to you. Horak Attorneys at law is a pet-friendly law firm with a special interest for animal rights.