Saturday, June 15, 2024
rescue stories

Rescue Story: She Had a Microchip!

tabby cat
Her name was Lola.

Week before last I posted about a cat who had taken up residence at the house of a friend in the neighborhood, Leigh. The kitty had an injury, seen in the original photo below, and Leigh was concerned the kitty needed veterinary care. Also, the cat was hanging around pretty permanently which likely meant the cat was not owned by a neighbor but was lost or abandoned. Leigh couldn’t ignore the situation—nor could her pugs—so I dropped off a carrier and food for her to get the kitty accustomed to it. The Homeless Cat Management Team was having a clinic on Sunday and Kitty would be scheduled for whatever services she needed and then go to a foster home while I and a few others would look for her family, if there was one. Leigh offered to pay for any care the kitty would need. (Thanks to HCMT for providing space at the clinic and to Robin for offering to foster!).

Kitty was friendly, and the first time I visited she came right to me then posed for several photos. The next time she was sleeping in the hedge you see at the top of the wall in the photo below. No dramatic rescue, I picked her up and carried her to the porch and put her in the carrier. She wasn’t happy, but she didn’t give me any trouble. I took her home and she stayed in the carrier on my front porch to wait for her next human escort to take her to the clinic for treatment the next day.

Leigh wasn’t at home but messaged me that she was out for the day. “Sorry I should have caught her before we left this morning!! She and I had some cuddle time. Lol. Please feel free to gather her, if she is still there when we get home I’ll gather her and bring her over.”

I replied, “I have your kitty!”

“Dolly (our pug/lab) may be able to calm her heart rate now!!”

Originally, I thought the kitty too nice and wanted in the house too badly not to have been owned by someone. As soon as she arrived on my porch she began a litany of feline complaints, and when I added food in a dish to her carrier she threatened to remove my hand and eat that instead. Well, like many kitties, she was nice when she had her freedom, but didn’t like to be cooped up. Besides that, she knew she was in another kitty’s territory, several kitties, indoors and out.

    The injured stray tabby cat in question.
The injured stray tabby cat in question.

As she went to the next stop, landed at the clinic, then went to foster, I continued to hear remarks about her bad attitude.

“Wants to eat me. 🙁 “

Oh well, so much for the nice kitty! Finding a home would be difficult, but maybe she’d calm down.

It was discovered at the clinic, though, that she had a microchip! It was registered to the Western Pennsylvania Humane Society, and Michelle from HCMT would call and find out what she could.

I made a quick report to Leigh, “It turns out she’s a spayed female, the wound is healing already so nothing can be done but antibiotics–it actually looked clean to me, that’s why I didn’t try to do any more with it–but best of all, she has a microchip! We’ll be calling today. It’s not a guarantee that we’ll find an owner, but I’ll keep you in touch.”

“I’m so hopeful kitty goes home! Of course, if kitty just lives across the street, that will be hilarious…I’m glad to hear she’s healthy! Also, that kitty needs to be named something that connotes she has no fear. She truly doesn’t! I’m thinking Amelia! Funny enough, our oldest dog has been at our house for nearly 9 years and she would just sashay around him like she’d been here longer!”

What Michelle found was that the cat wasn’t adopted at WPHS, only spayed and chipped there. Michelle called the number stored with the chip…and got” a man who said he had never owned a cat, altered a cat, etc. Said he doesn’t know why we would have his information under a cat (he does own a dog though).”

But just a few minutes later she announced she’d found the owner! “WPHS went back thru their surgery logs and found the person who brought the cat in for surgery. The computer glitched on the Microchip number, but they had the surgery date when it was installed so they were able to find her,” she said. Her owner had been in contact with WPHS and had gone there, not realizing her cat was all the way across town. Would I like to call her?

Would I??!! But first I called Leigh in case she would like to make a pet owner very happy, though she gave it back to me.

So I called and found out the kitty’s name was Lola (she was not a showgirl, sorry), was about 2-1/2 years old and lived about two blocks from me! Lola had been a stray that her person had taken in and decided to keep. Ironically, it was her mother who had talked her into the microchip—at first she was against it, but Lola wanted to be an indoor-outdoor cat and when she had her spayed at WPHS she also got the microchip. “I’m so glad I did it now!”

When Lola didn’t return home one day or the next, they went looking for her, but three weeks went by before they got the call. “We thought we’d never see her again!” They may be working on keeping Lola indoors.

So that was an unexpected happy ending, and referring back to the article I’d written about microchipping, here we have one example where a microchip returned a cat home when, otherwise, we’d have had to keep her in foster and possibly find another home. A collar with tags would have been nice too.

I was prepared with the photos I’d taken to make flyers and post them around the neighborhood if no microchip had been found, and it’s possible her people may have seen that. I would have also contacted our police and the new animal control in our community, as well as searching lost pet boards at the shelters and posting her on Facebook and other social media.

However, a few lessons to take away from this for, hopefully, other successful reunions in the future:

Signs on the telephone poles are more powerful than you would know. If her people had put up signs, I would have seen them and recognized the kitty when I saw her. Possibly Leigh would have seen them as well.

If your cat goes outdoors, or even if your cat stays indoors, consider adding a collar and tags for quicker rescues.

Check the information on your microchip and make sure it’s correct! If the person at WPHS had not had the time to look back through the records, the chip would have been useless.

And it proves the point that most of the time cats don’t wander far when they are lost. Lola was about six blocks from her own home.

I hope to report other happy endings as more cats are microchipped, and soon I’ll tell you how signs on the telephone pole worked for me.

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12 thoughts on “Rescue Story: She Had a Microchip!

  • Steffi Bruninghaus

    Ah, another happy ending because of a cat being chipped! When Skinny Cat did not come home, I put up signs, and she had a collar with our contact info on it – but 3 years later, it was the microchip that brought her home. Please keep posting those stories.

    • Steffi, it reinforces my idea of microchips–if Skinny Cat could come back three years later, then they are a must-have.

    • Maggie, isn’t it funny she went to a house with a bunch of pugs?! I’m sure she knew Leigh was a friendly person who would take care of her, and it might also have been the only yard that wasn’t another cat’s territory.

  • YAY, what a great story=we’re so happy beautiful Lola had a happy ending!…She was very lucky to be found by good hearted animal lovers!…Happy hump, day, sweet friends!…xoox….Calle, Halle, Sukki, Mommy Cat, Daddy Cat

    • Jacqueline, it’s a good reason to have those microchips! Happy Wednesday to you and yours!

  • Colehaus Cats

    Awesome follow up story! Chips are so important! Thanks for posting this! Purrs…

    • Colehaus Cats, I was so happy to write this that I couldn’t wait to share!

  • I love this post, Bernadette. Both for the happy ending, and for the confirming heads-up to anyone who hasn’t at very least, got their cat/s microchipped. The price is minimal now over here.. n worth every penny. Great to hear you n your friends getting organise to get her sorted out, too. Good Work, One & All. Cheers.

    • Annie, it’s getting much more reasonable and available here too–our shelters are chipping cats before they are even adopted. Good to hear it’s happening over there too!

  • Great post, Bernadette. I can vouch for redundant systems – all ours are chipped AND have collars and tags, even though they’re completely indoors. One very windy day our front door blew open, no one was home, and several cats wandered outside. And because some folks do let their cats out, and people might not realize a wandering cat is not supposed to be so, our tags say “I’m lost if outside!” Another tip I’ve heard is, when at the vet for your yearly exam, have them scan for the microchip, just to make sure it’s still in place. And as you said – keep your info up to date. (I guess that includes jotting down the number that scans up, and comparing it to your records!)

    • Harry, that’s a great idea to have the vet scan for the chip during the exam! But what happened with your cats is the perfect reason to have several means of ID–cats who are typically indoors are often totally disoriented outdoors and more likely to run and hide and also not known by the neighbors.


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