When Don Schlitz wrote the lyrics to the song “You Can’t Make Old Friends” by Kenny Rogers and Dolly Parton, it was at the request of Kenny Rogers who wanted to pay tribute to the long-standing friendship he had with the country singer, Dolly Parton. The words in the song are enough to let you know how much it means to lose someone so close, our furry friends included. Therefore when one pet owner reunites with a pet cat, Gucci, after 12 years apart, it is a dream come true since, for Vicky, it brings back the joy she had as a teenager when she used to hold Gucci in her arms. So, what separated the two in the first place? Read on to find out.
Curiosity almost killed the cat
Vicky was only 19 when the family moved from Gildersome, and as they took the cat, Gucci, to help him get used to the new house, he decided it was time to do a little bit more exploration of the neighborhood he was about to leave. Therefore, Gucci jumped out the window of his room and into a nearby allotment. Unfortunately, none of Vicky’s efforts to lure him back worked, not even shaking Gucci’s favorite biscuits. Still, the teenager was not giving up easily, so even after moving to her new home, the family would walk two miles back to the old house hoping to spot him, but for six months, there was not a glimmer of hope. As Vicky told Yorkshire Post, they did not know if Gucci had been taken in by a Good Samaritan or something terrible had happened to him. All that Vicky could pray for was for someone to find Gucci and keep him safe.
Her prayers must have gone straight to heaven because a local cat lover saw the stray cat and kept feeding him for years. However, after noticing that the feline was losing weight, the cat lover took him to Abbey House Vets, where they discovered a microchip. On June 19, 2020, Vicky got a call that would leave her in disbelief; that her pet cat had been found. Without wasting time, she went to the vet clinic that afternoon, and from the moment she laid eyes on the cat, she knew it was her Gucci. Strange enough, it seemed that even the feline remembered her because he purred and cuddled with her. Unfortunately, she could not take him home with her since Larry, her other cat, may not have taken kindly to an intruder. Gucci and Vicky still got their happy ending because Vicky’s dad was more than glad to take the cat in, and Amirah, Vicky’s niece, helps look after him.
How long can a cat remember its owner?
One thing that we have come to understand about cats is that they choose who to let in their lives. So, you should not be surprised that they also pick who or what remains ingrained in their memory. According to PetChatz, while the short –term memory of a dog is five minutes, a cat’s can last for up to 16 hours. However, one thing about cats is they will be very selective about what they chose to remember. Therefore, you might wonder why even after calling his name, he does not bother, but once you open his favorite bag of biscuits, he comes running.
Still, research shows that a cat will form a much greater bond with its owners than with strangers. This is possible if you have been with it since it was a kitten, thus replacing the relationship it would have formed with its feline parent. Therefore for someone like Vicky whom Gucci associated with love, food, and shelter, then it was more than likely for him to forget her, even after the 12 years had passed. However, Gucci’s case is still rare because most felines’ memories fail with age as they develop feline cognitive dysfunction. The condition usually affects 50% of cats between 11 and 15 years and 80% of those between 16 and 20 years. All the same, regardless of the age, a kitten aged 2-7 weeks should be introduced to humans; otherwise, he may never learn to trust them since it is during this stage that the most impressionable memories are imprinted.
Why you should get your cat microchipped
Vicky has the testimony of how handy a microchip can come in when tracing a lost pet, and she urged people with cats to follow in her footsteps. However, microchipping is more than just helping stray pets reunite with their owners; it is also about saving an animal’s life. Most stray cats end up in shelters, and there is only so much that one rescue home can take. Consequently, once the pressure piles up due to overcrowding, the old and sickly ones will be the first to be put down. If your cat has been missing for such a long time, they may not be in ideal health; hence they become candidates for euthanization. By microchipping your pet, you will not only be performing the civic responsibility of easing pressure in rescue centers, but you will also be saving lives.
Moreover, unlike a leash that can either be caught up on something and strangle your cat, or a name tag that can be removed by a thief, a microchip provides permanent identification. It also does not cause discomfort in a pet; the much that your cat will feel is maybe a little pain during its insertion that takes a few seconds. The chip can last for up to 25 years, according to Animal Planet, therefore even if you move, as Vicky did, your only task is to keep the microchip company updated with the new address. Besides, even if your cat outlives its nine lives, it is not likely to live for longer than the 25 years; unless it inherited the genes of Crème Puff, the oldest cat in history who lived to be 38 years and 3 days old.