Here is a very personal story about the importance of updating your pet microchip info! I just moved in to where I live about 4 months ago. A couple of weeks ago I checked my mail, and opened a letter I received. I hadn’t checked the front of the envelope that well and just assumed this letter was for me. It turns out the letter was for a prior resident.
It was from the King County Animal Shelter saying that her cat had been impounded. It told where the cat was picked up, how long they had held it, and how long it would be held before being assessed for adoption or possibly “humanely destroyed.” (It was later explained to me by the shelter that the cat would only be destroyed if it were sick or otherwise not suitable for placement – not because they didn’t “have room.”)
The cat wasn’t licensed, so printed on this letter was the information they found when scanning the cat for a pet microchip. The microchip showed that the cat had been chipped about two years ago, the name of the owner, and this address. So hooray that the cat was chipped, but boo that the info had not been updated by the pet’s owner in the database!
Imagine the heartache of knowing you had chipped your pet in case it got lost, only to not receive notification that it was found, safe, where it was now, etc. because you hadn’t updated your info. Heart-rending. A few minutes updating your info can save you and your pet a lot of grief and frustration.
In this case, I did everything I could to find the owner. I Googled her to no avail. Then I looked her up in an online phone directory. It had her new number and address. Unfortunately, her number was disconnected and her apartment at the new address was standing empty.
In a last-ditch attempt to find out if my effots were in vain, I searched the Social Security Death Index and, sadly, she had passed away about 2 months before. Apparently her apartment manager just put her cat out to fend for itself. Or the cat had been out when its owner died and could no longer get back into its home. It must have wandered around the area and been picked up, eventually, as a stray and impounded, resulting in my receiving this letter.
I looked for an online obituary in an attempt to find this woman’s family and inform them of her cat’s whereabouts but found nothing. I thought it must be fate, so I decided to adopt the cat myself. I went in to the animal shelter on the day the cat became available, after calling them and explaining the situation. To my surprise, they told me that they had been able to contact a relative and that the relative was going to pick up the cat. Thank goodness!
But, we were already at the shelter and, standing amidst all of these beautiful, friendly homeless cats in cages, we decided to adopt another. We played with and petted a few different cats before finding one who is a good match for my 7-year-old son’s disposition. That was about two weeks ago, and we are very happy with our new kitty, who fate led us to! My son has named him Sparkles, and I will post about him soon.
And we will get him a pet microchip and I vow to keep his info up to date! If you have recently moved, update your info in the microchip database TODAY! And always remember – it’s good to microchip your pet – but if they can’t find you, they can’t reunite you with your pet, should that horrible day ever come that he gets lost!