A public service announcement: For the love of your pets, please get them a microchip

Yesterday, we found a terribly emaciated stray cat in our apartment complex. He was not microchipped and had no tags.

Let me pause here and BEG you to microchip your pet. This is the second stray we’ve found that had a collar but no tags. Even if the collar has tags, you can’t rely on them staying on. It’s better than nothing, but things happen.

This fellow is incredibly loving and 15+ years old. The vet says that he’s probably got kidney disease and a hyperactive thyroid. I think I found the owner in the Multnomah County Lost Pets database so this is likely to have a happy ending. . Can you imagine being the owner? If the ad is for this kitty, then he’s 17 years old and has been missing since mid-February. The owner is probably frantic. For the moment, the kitty is fed and in a warm place — quarantined from our cats, but warm

For the past month, he hasn’t been.

The main point here, in fact, is to point out that this poor guy was lost, hungry, and frightened. He doesn’t speak English or even Icelandic so can’t tell anyone where home is. He’s a geriatric guy who probably slipped out once.

Once is all it takes. Please, if you love your pets, please, please spend the money and get them a microchip.

Edited to add: Bones has been returned to his owner. It turns out that the ad from 2/18 was an old one from the last time he got out. This time he was gone less than a day. When I spoke to the boyfriend, he offered to pay the vet bill.  They knew all about the problems with him since they adopted him from a shelter, so I called the vet and cancelled the testing, although we still have to pay for the visit itself. When I brought the bill and the cat over, I met the owner instead who said, “Are you asking me to pay a vet bill? He was gone less than a day.”

I said, “Well…” and started to pick up our cat carrier.

And then she said, “Thank you” and shut the door on me.

Primary message remains. Please microchip your pet, particularly if it is a cat prone to escaping.

Further edited to add: One of our neighbors, who had also seen the cat, just came over to pay for half of the vet bill. Why? Because she is awesome.

9 Responses

  1. Mishell Baker

    Even indoor pets should be cared for and given inoculations/identification/etc. as though they will be going outside, because statistics and common sense about human error can tell you, at some point whether you like it or not they very well may be.  And indoor pets, once outside, are far more likely to get spooked and completely lost.

  2. Gwen Hill

    Yes, please. Even if you have an indoor cat, you can’t guarantee that they will never, ever get out – and once really IS all it takes. Consider the microchip insurance against potential future pain and suffering (yours AND your cat’s!).

    I’m glad this story has a happy ending. :)

  3. Hayley E. Lavik

    I gather the problem with microchips, at least in my neck of the woods, is that all vet offices and shelters don’t use the same technology for their chip readers, so an animal may be chipped but the chip won’t come up on that reader. Our vet recommended ear tattoos as a backup measure, just in case.

    Bless you for helping this poor sweet cat.

  4. gnpkowal

    Oh Mary, how rude of the ‘owner’.  Karma in operation will reward kindness – and rudeness.

  5. SCH

    I’m so glad you found this little guy!   Hopefully, if they’ve got him on the right thyroid meds, he doesn’t feel as bad off as he looks.

    It’s too bad the owners weren’t kinder to you… I work at a shelter (on the wildlife side, but we get spillover sometimes)  and it’s strange how pets can bring out the best AND worst in people.

    And re:microchipping, it’s true that there are different readers/brands out there, but there are actually some more universal ones that we use at our shelter.  They’re more expensive, so I wouldn’t expect all vet offices to spring for them, but most shelters will have either multiple scanners or the newer awesome scanners.

    For kicks and giggles, y’all should check out my friend’s blog:  http://cultofotis.wordpress.com/

  6. Kathryn Cramer

    All ours are chipped, except the tortoise. One of our cats was returned to us after 5 weeks missing. What we suspect happened is that the cat was deliberately rehomed by a neighbor who didn’t like cats. His new “owner” mentioned that he had been a stray to the vet. The vet scanned the kitty and a very nervous man called us from the vet’s office to arrange the cat transfer.

  7. Kathryn Cramer

    All ours are chipped, except the tortoise. One of our cats was returned to us after 5 weeks missing. What we suspect happened is that the cat was deliberately rehomed by a neighbor who didn’t like cats. His new “owner” mentioned that he had been a stray to the vet. The vet scanned the kitty and a very nervous man called us from the vet’s office to arrange the cat transfer.

  8. Dantzelc

    Her cat looks like that, and she’s surprised that you took it to the vet??? Yes he looks sweet, but good heavens! Don’t act so surprised when someone acts concerned for your cat at that age and with skin and bones like that!