Thursday, April 14, 2011

The Importance of Micro-Chipping: Squeaky’s Story

He was saying "cheese"
When not working for Alley Cat Rescue, I also help out a dog walking and pet sitting service. Well, one of my regular clients cares for a feral colony and she mentioned to me that a friendly cat, who she dubbed “Mr. Whiner” because of his constant chatter, started hanging around with her outside cats. She had been feeding him for about a week or two and asked all of her immediate neighbors if he belonged to anyone, but no one claimed ownership of him. She told me that he is super friendly and continually tried to get inside of her house, so she had a feeling that he used to be a housecat. From what she was telling me, I agreed he probably used to have a family but for whatever reason he is now a stray. (With this poor economy, ACR has seen a rise in animals being abandoned when people can no longer afford to care for them or when they must move.) So ACR agreed to take Mr. Whiner and place him in our adoption program to find him another home.

During his examination process, which all new cats receive when they first arrive at our shelter, it was discovered that Mr. Whiner had a micro-chip! Fortunately, we were able to track down the chip number and get the contact information of his previous owners. We also discovered that Mr. Whiner is actually Squeaky (another fitting name for him). When I talked to Squeaky’s dad, he was overjoyed to hear that his cat had been found and couldn’t wait to tell his children about his return. So after a long day, two car rides and a few complimentary pokes (vaccines), Squeaky was reunited with his family!

After the initial shock of having their cat returned, I explained to the family that it was the micro-chip that brought Squeaky home, so it is always a good idea to have all of their pets micro-chipped. They agreed and said that their other cat was also chipped. I also suggested that the next time Squeaky decides to escape and take a little trip, they should post flyers around the neighborhood, because he was found in the neighborhood right next door and if the pet sitting client had seen them, she could have returned him sooner and avoided a trip to a shelter.
ACR is always happy when we are able to reunite pets with their owners, however, this is not usually the case, since most of the cats that come to our shelter are not micro-chipped and there is no way to identify them or who they may have belonged to. Collars with ID tags are a great idea too, but this is not always the best idea for cats, plus collars and tags can come loose or be removed, leaving no way to identify the animal. So please consider micro-chipping your pet(s), so in the event that something would happen to separate them from you, there will be a greater chance of you being reunited.        

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