Patches' story: all because of a microchip
As a pet owner, having your companion animal go missing is devastating. It was for Allison, when her beloved cat Patches recently disappeared.
Like Allison, we all hope it will never be our beloved pet’s picture plastered to street posts around our neighbourhood, but the reality is… it can happen. If it does, it’s important to know you have done everything possible to ensure your pet can find its way home to you.
The incredible story unfolded in one of our Centres recently, and never would have been possible without a microchip.
A group of SPCA staff hike together every fortnight, and their recent outing saw them climbing the Port Hills outside Christchurch. The team had not quite reached halfway when what they describe as a “beautiful, friendly cat” appeared out of nowhere.
SPCA Animal Attendant, Sal, tells the story…
“We naturally stopped for some pats, and laughed about him knowing where we worked. When we carried on, he followed us. And followed…”.
“After a kilometre of this, we were getting really concerned. There were no houses in sight, we could see he was an older cat, and he was underweight. Suspecting he was lost and trying to follow us home, we turned around back to the carpark. He would have covered four kilometres just trotting along next to us like a dog!”
“We bundled him up and took him to the Centre, where the first thing we did was scan for a microchip. To our delight, he had one! Not only that, but he was flagged as being lost.”
“Thrilled we would be able to reunite this boy with his family who were clearly missing him, we gave him some much-needed food and settled him in for the night. By this point it was too late to make a phone call, and we wanted to give the cat a chance to rest. The poor thing was exhausted! He just seemed so relieved to not be on his own anymore.”
The next morning, our team called the cat’s owners who were absolutely ecstatic to learn their beloved Patches has been found!
Patches had been missing for six weeks, and when our team found him on the Port Hills, he was over 12 kilometres from home.
Allison was at the Centre the moment we opened our doors that day, and we were lucky to get a photo of the beautiful moment they were reunited.
At SPCA, one of the most common questions we receive is from owners of missing pets, asking if they’ve made their way into our care.
Microchipping pets is essential, as is keeping contact details up to date. For animals like Patches who get lost, it means the world.
All animals adopted from SPCA are microchipped... is your pet? Having current contact details registered on their microchip is the best thing you can possibly do to ensure that your missing pet finds its way home.
You can check and update the contact information on your pet's microchip easily online at the NZ Companion Animals Register. If you don't know their microchip number, ask your local vet to scan and tell you at your next appointment.
We know under high alert levels like New Zealand is currently under, this can't be done right now, but let Patches' story motivate you to put it on the to-do list for as soon as you can!
Every animal that comes into SPCA as a stray is immediately scanned for a microchip, and the registered owner contacted. So many joyous reunions have happened at SPCA Centres because of this.