Some say that cats have nine lives; however, as cats cannot tell us about their past lives, we are only fortunate enough to know them in their present incarnation. If one is lucky, a human can live with their pet feline from birth through their last day. One such lucky owner, Christine Ball from Cheshire, England didn’t get to spend her cat Phoebe’s whole life with her; however, she did get to spend some treasured time with her pet before it passed. The curious fact is that Ms. Ball had not seen Phoebe since the year 2001 when her beloved pet was lost and/or stolen. The good news is that thanks to the RSPCA, Phoebe, terminally ill with a brain tumor, was able to spend her last days with her original pet parent…after a separation of over 20 years!
Where Pheobe had spent the last 20 years is anyone’s guess. As is the case with many found pets, those without identifying tags are considered “strays” even if the pet strayed from a loving home. Apparently, someone was taking care of the cat during its long absence. The cat was found, cold, wet, and quite ill, but it was not malnourished or displayed signs of mistreatment. Needless to say, Ms. Ball was totally “gobsmacked” when she got the call that her long-lost cat had been found, according to an article on metro news. As most owners do when their pet goes missing, she had scoured her neighborhood and put up posters. These can be the worst days of a pet owner’s life–the unknown of not knowing what happened to your pet. As days go on, the owner mourns and then learns to accept that the pet is gone, although they are never out of mind or heart.
So, as the article notes, Phoebe was able to spend the rest of her life with Ms. Christine Ball, who was so grateful to have her beloved cat back, if only for the few precious days to help her transition from this life. The recent happy hello turned into a sad goodbye; however, it provided comfort for Phoebe and a sense of coming full circle and finding closure for Ms. Ball. The end of a pet’s life on earth is as sacred as its birth. Some pet owners cannot bear to be with their beloved pets as they lie dying; however, that is often the time our pets need us the most. A cat or dog’s lifespan is far less than a human’s. A first-grader whose family adopts a pet will no doubt someday experience the loss of that animal. If it is a small breed dog or a cat they might have the pet with them till early adulthood. Part of the responsibility of bringing a pet into your home is seeing that pet lovingly rehomed, if no other options exist, or see it live to old age, whether that be 10 years for some large dogs or over 20 for some cats. Often a veterinarian will give the terminally ill pet a euthanasia shot to help it have a peaceful passage. To be there at the end, to hold and comfort a pet during its last hours is a divine privilege and solemn responsibility. Thanks to Phoebe being microchipped as a young kitty back in 2001, she was able to be with loved ones during her final days as a senior cat.
As is the case with many happy endings of pets being reunited with a heartbroken parent, it was all down to a microchip. Microchips contain vital information about a pet, and most importantly contact information for the pet owner in case it becomes lost or stolen. Many a heartfelt reunion never happened because the cat or dog either wasn’t microchipped, or the pet had been microchipped but no one scanned for it. Contrary to some misinformation out there, a microchip is not a tracking device. Microchips do not implant a tracking device on your pet. Some twenty years ago, microchipping an animal was something new–and quite expensive. According to Facts are Facts.com, one of the first customers to microchip their small animals was Queen Elizabeth II of England, who had the implant placed in her horses, and her beloved Corgi dog. A tool that was first implemented to track livestock has now decades later become a commonplace part of dog and cat adoption and routine veterinary care for a dog or cat’s first medical appointment. Most shelters now include microchipping in addition to primary vaccines prior to a pet becoming available to adopt.
The microchip implant is as small as a grain of rice. Implanting the chip is painless and the pet does not need any anesthesia and on the whole, they tolerate it quite well, as the actual procedure is faster than getting a rabies shot. Getting the implant; however, is only half the process. The pet parent is sent home with instructions to log online to a database such as Pet Microchip National Database, which holds the information about the pet including its owner’s contact information. It is important to register the pet’s microchip number right away and keep the paperwork with its number handy with other household medical records. Following the directions when the pet comes home is critical for the microchip process to work. This is not to mean that a microchip takes the place of pet licenses or identifying tags. If possible, attach a tag or some identification to a cat or dog’s collar or harness. This saves time so that the owner can be instantly identified and returned before being lost for too long. Tags and identifying collars also keep well-meaning Samaritans from assuming that a cat is homeless just because it is lost. It may have slept out in the cold–it may be hungry–or terminally ill–but somewhere someone might be hoping for their pet to come home–even if it takes twenty years.