El Paso Cat Reunited with Owner Two years after Going Missing

A story out of El Paso, Texas reminds us all of the importance of having our beloved pets chipped for identification. Responsible and loving pet parents Gilbert and Vickee Alvarado took their cat Diggs in to be chipped. This was an at that would later bring a happy return when the cat went missing. Here is Diggs’ incredible and moving story. Gilbert and Vickee believed in taking every precaution to ensure the safety of their beloved cat Diggs. KTSM shared the bittersweet story about how the cat went missing. The cat belonged to Vickee, who told her husband that she wanted to adopt the cat. She took good care of him but when he went missing in 2019, the couple wondered what happened to him. It’s not unusual for cats to get outside and become frightened, and run away. Sometimes they encounter obstacles that prevent them from returning home through no fault of their own. It’s still not known why he disappeared. Someone may have taken him into their homes or perhaps marauding dogs scared him further away from his home. He was gone for two years.

Sadly, Vickee passed away, still wondering what had happened to her beloved pet. Just recently, Gilbert was moved when he received a call from the El Paso Animal Services. The cat had received a call about a cat that was sick and responded to pick up the stray animal. As luck would have it, they scanned the microchip and learned about the true owners of Diggs. They contacted Alvarado to let him know that they had his cat. Because Vickee decided to have him microchipped, animal rescue authorities were able to trace down the cat’s original owners. Alvarado is filled with joy and shared that the cat means a great deal to him because he was Vickee’s pet as well as a part of the family. He’s thankful to have Diggs back home.

The case for microchipping

Diggs’ story reinforce the case for having your pets microchipped. True Care Veterinary Hospital explains the process and why it is so widely used. Pet owners have this resource available to help recover lost pets that may wander away from home. A stray cat that is found by a pet rescue or a concerned citizen can easily be lost in the system unless there are some means to identify the owner and get in contact with them. This is one of the reasons why so few pets have happy endings if they become lost.

Is microchipping safe?

Pet microchips are not very large. They’re only as big as one grain of rice. The microchip is small and it doesn’t cause the pet any discomfort. It’s placed just under the skin and most heal quickly. The process is performed in a vet’s office and is over quickly.

What the chip contains

Microchips each have a unique identification number that is recorded in a massive nationwide database. The number is associated with the registration number that contains all of the pertinent information about the pet stored in the database. This includes the breed, the name of the pet, the owners, and their contact information. The chip is read by a radio frequency identification reader, often referred to as an RFID reader or simply, a microchip scanner. Technicians at veterinary clinics and animal rescue shelters use these scanners to determine if a pet is chipped. The scanner is waved across the chip and it automatically detects the chip and reads the data that is stored in it.

How often must you chip your pet?

Pets need only be chipped once in their lifetime. Chips are durable and designed to last for the lifetime of the pet. They have been proven as a dependable and lifelong means of pet identification without fail. The chip is injected in the same way that your pet receives his vaccinations. It’s no more painful than a shot. It’s a non-invasive procedure, but most pet owners have their pets chipped when receiving vaccinations or when they have them neutered or spayed. It’s becoming a routine part of care for kittens and puppies, but animals of all ages can be safely chipped.

Return rates for chipped vs unchipped pets

The statistics show that dogs that are microchipped have a return rate of fifty percent. Dogs that are not chipped only make it back home to their original families 20 percent of the time. Cats with microchips are returned home at a rate of 40 percent. Those that are not chipped have a remarkably low chance of just 1 percent, which means that the odds are slim to none. This boosts the case for microchipping your pets.

Microchips vs collars/tags

Some pet owners still opt to use the old traditional pet identification method of using a collar and tags. While this is a good idea, it’s important to realize that collars can either come off or be taken off. To avoid the risk of having an unidentifiable pet in a rescue shelter, it’s best to go with a permanent form of identification that can help to bring your pet safely home if the unthinkable happens according to the Humane Society.

Final thoughts

The story of Gilbert and Vickee Alvarado and their beloved cat Diggs shows us how microchipping your pet can have a profound effect on your life. Sadly, Vickee left this world not knowing what happened to her cat, but in the midst of his grief and loss, Gilbert was comforted when a rescue shelter called to tell him that they found his cat. He had made his way back home and the two were reunited after two years apart. It may take a while, but chipping your pet increases the chance of finding your pet if he becomes lost.

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