Last year, a skinny old cat turned up one morning at our feline veterinary hospital. We are on a busy Portland street so it seemed like a particularly perilous journey. We brought her in and had a look. She wasn’t wearing a collar but looked clean and well cared for. She was quite sweet. We scanned her for a microchip and thankfully found one. The mystery grew deeper when her owner and address were in Washington DC.
The microchip company called the phone number listed with her chip. They were unable to reach anyone but found out that the owner was in the diplomatic corps. Our veterinary office manager, Wendy, called our embassy in San Francisco with the name of the owner and asked them to help us locate him. They found him for us in Belgium. Having tracked him down, they gave him the phone number of Cat Hospital of Portland. The next day he called and the mystery was solved. While he was away, his parents were taking care of Ophelia. They lived quite nearby but across a very busy street. When we called them, they were unaware that she had gotten out. She was a house cat they said; she never went outside. Until yesterday, of course.
Whether your cat is indoors or in and out, a microchip can save a life. We might never have found Ophelia’s owner without one. There are so many ways that cats are lost. Most of them are never heard of again. Fires are in the news this time of year and are one of the ways in which many pets are lost. The rushing around that comes with evacuation can spook a cat into disappearing. Hiding is an important feature of being a solitary hunter and is a natural response to perceived danger.
All of the veterinary practices, and animal shelters and many police and fire stations have universal scanners that can read microchips from almost any company. We think of vaccination and spay or neuter as important features of keeping cats healthy. A microchip is easily as important. Many cats are experts at losing collars and we humans often don’t put them on adequately. Collars can’t be counted upon to be present and identify your beloved kitty. They are helpful to show that your cat is an owned cat if she goes outdoors.
Cats without collars are often presumed to be unowned and maybe moved out of their home range by good Samaritans who take cats to shelters if they think they are on their own. People often tell me that they don’t need a microchip because their cat never leaves the yard. A loose dog, a new cat in the area, loud noises like fireworks, strangers and other perceived perils may cause homebodies to flee. It is never enough to presume that house cats won’t get out; that homebodies won’t leave the yard; or that collars are adequate identification. A microchip may be the only thing between you and a terrible loss.
We have recently made microchips very affordable for everyone. We will even register them for you at the time they are placed. If you’d like to know more, Please call us at Cat Hospital of Portland.