Willow is a gorgeous calico cat who vanished from her home in Colorado over 5 years ago. This September, she turned up 1,600 miles away in Manhattan, where a kind passerby brought her to a NYC shelter.
Thanks to the identifying microchip Calico's owners had their veterinarian implant when she was just a kitty, the shelter was able to contact the family and all were successfully reunited.
Even if yours is an "indoor" cat or dog, it is essential that your pet always wear a collar with identification tags, as well as having a microchip.
Inserted just below the skin, a microchip is a permanent and reliable form of identification which can be read by many veterinarians, shelters and pet rescue organizations.
But even in ideal situations, where a pet is identified properly and is only outdoors on a leash and with human supervision....things happen. Gates are carelessly left ajar, pets dash out the door when a visitor arrives; you get the idea.
Every year overcrowded "kill" shelters do just that to thousands of unclaimed dogs and cats who were brought in after being lost. Stray domestic cats and dogs who were once adored pets are often sold for purposes of scientific and cosmetic research. Other lost animals are killed by cars or cruelty.
So should your much loved cat or dog suddenly go missing, here are some tips for hastening a safe return:
- ACT FAST.
Don't wait around to see if your pet will return home on their own. Once an animal is missing from home, the longer you take to begin the search, the less likely you will ever see your pet again.
- HAVE A "MISSING" FLIER READY...JUST IN CASE.
Using 2 recent photos of your pet (a portrait of the face and another showing the whole body), write a simple and clear description of your pet. Mention size, age, color, breed, weight and personality (timid, jumpy, etc.) and of course, the name.
Post your flier EVERYWHERE; in shop windows, on telephone poles, car windshields. The more people who might recognize your pet and call with a sighting, the better.
Email your flier to friends, family, neighbors and animal rescue groups.
Give out a card to neighbors, delivery people, mail carriers with your email address on it, in case they happen to see your lost pet.
- CONTACT ALL SHELTERS, ANIMAL CONTROL AGENCIES AND VETERINARIANS.
File a lost pet report with all animal resource groups within a 60-mile area. VISIT the shelters in person and distribute your flier to employees. VISIT AT LEAST TWICE A WEEK: have friends and family help you to cover the most territory as as frequently as possible.
- CALL YOUR LOCAL POLICE DEPARTMENT.
Ask if anyone has found or seen a stray pet. Call local police departments for neighboring towns as well. Leave your missing pet flier with these departments in case a pet fitting the description of yours gets called in.
- CHECK OUT: WWW.PETFINDER.COM
First thing in the morning, last thing at night. Many lost pets turn up on Petfinder as potential pets to be adopted. Search your own area and others as well.
- THE INTERNET REALLY CAN HELP.
But you need to use it wisely. These sites can boost your search:
1. Center For Lost Pets
2. Craigslist Lost & Found Northern NJ
3. Fido Finder
- Contact The Rescue Group You Adopted The Pet From.
If your dog or cat was placed through a particular group (such as Greyhound Rescue, etc.) contact them immediately. Often rescue groups have volunteers at the ready who are willing to join in the search.
Willow is just one example of a pet whose microchip enabled them to be found after the passage of many years. Keep your search alive and MOST OF ALL: MICROCHIP YOUR PET!