Here is the info that we give out in English Hilary. Hope this explains and helps a little at least.
Identification is now mandatory for all cats.
Section L212-10 of the rural code was amended by Act No. 2011-525 may 11, 2011.
As from 1 January 2012, all cats born after this date must be identified.
Until now, it was obligatory only if the cat was sold or given (gift or sale) with the obligation being on the part of the person giving or selling. The Bill, brought by Nicole Bonnefoy, aims to reduce the number of animals euthanised in refuges, she states that euthanasia is carried out "sometimes in error, without identification of the cat, and therefore the inability to find its owner".
However, this Act enables animal pounds, the municipalities and the animal protection associations, better legal security in the management of the overpopulation of cats and their possible euthanasia in the absence of chip or tattoo. The unidentified adult cat will indeed be legally “without an owner”. Their euthanasia will be less easily challenged by any owner who has failed this requirement.
The lack of identification may even be punished by a fine of 750 euros.
since 3 July 2011, only identification by electronic transponder (microchip) will be recognized for travel outside of France.
There are also moral obligations for the protection of the cat
As a gesture of respect and responsibility you should give your cat an identity.
Normally, a cat lives within its territory, but this could include a wide area that overlaps and mixes with other cat populations. Cats, seen roaming freely can be the object of organised capture programmes (see Article L211-23 below), for neutering and, sometimes, euthanasia. Identification allows for owners of stray cats to be found.
Identification is invaluable for medical purposes.
An identified cat will most likely follow regular health checks.
After placement, the presence of a microchip is not normally felt by the cat and is detected only by the use of a reader. The chip is placed under the skin with special injector. This placement is considered a medical procedure, carried out by a qualified vet.
Once implanted, a provisional certificate is issued bearing the registration number in the form of a bar code. It states the species, the name of the animal, sex, date of birth, race and description, along with the contact information of the owner. The original of this certificate is sent to the central file (SIEV). The SIEV will send by return the original document for the owner to keep or to pass on should the cat change hands. The microchip is invisible to the naked eye.
This act dictates that the owner has ‘duties’ towards the cat. In the event of abuse, or mistreatment, the owner can be brought to justice under article L521-1 of the Penal Code.