Carlos Rodriguez
These are the major changes that all cat owners should know about when Spain's Animal Welfare Act comes into effect
Animal welfare

These are the major changes that all cat owners should know about when Spain's Animal Welfare Act comes into effect

The country's new pet protection measures will enshrined in law and be enforceable from 29 September

Jaume Lita


Monday, 4 September 2023, 16:41


Spain's new Animal Welfare Act will come into force this month on 29 September, bringing with it some major changes surrounding domestic animal ownership. But even within the world of pets, there will be a difference between animals. It will not be the same to own a dog, which will require completion of a responsible ownership course, as a cat - which will involve other requirements.

There will be several changes regarding kittens, the most important of which is that all animals will have to be sterilised before they are six months old, although there will be one notable exception.

The exception to the neutering requirement is that it does not have to be carried out when the cat is registered as a breeding animal and belongs to a professional breeder. Kittens will not be allowed to be sold in pet shops, and can only be bought from registered breeders. In the case of adoptions of adult cats, these can only be carried out at animal shelters or by means of a transfer between private individuals, which must be fully documented.

As already stated, it will not be necessary to pass a responsible ownership course, as will be the case for dogs, nor will it be necessary to have a civil liability insurance.

However, cats must also have a vaccination certificate and a microchip. There will be differences between them, as the regulations establish three different types of cats: domestic cats, free-roaming cats and 'community' cats. In the first case, it is established that they cannot live on terraces, balconies, roof terraces, basements and patios, among others. Furthermore, no cat may be left for more than three days without human supervision.

Euthanasia will also be tightly regulated as it will only be allowed in three very specific cases: to alleviate the suffering of a terminal illness, for reasons of safety for humans and animals or because the cat has become a threat to public health.

In addition, the new animal regulations will determine the steps to take after the death of a cat, as the owner will be obliged to notify the relevant authorities of the death in a document, as well as what has been done with the body, although cremation or burial must be done in a regulated way.

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