Notes: Cat and owner reunited thanks to microchip

For those pet owners who still aren’t convinced that a microchip is needed for their pets comes this story from San Francisco.

Cat owner Chris Inglis, being somewhat ahead of the curve on technology, had a microchip put in his black feline Ted when they first became available, in the early 1990s. Ted, though an indoor cat, managed to escape out a window. Now if this was truly a perfect tale, Ted would have been located and reunited immediately with his loving owner.

Instead, it was 10 years before the two saw each other again.

Last week, Chris got a call from the Peninsula Humane Society in Northern California. They had found Ted and tracked his owner through the microchip, even though the information was outdated. (Let this be a lesson to pet owners who do microchip – keep your records updated!)

When the two were together again, Inglis told the Associated Press, the cat “rubbed his face on my hand, climbed right up and started purring.” Ted also had enjoyed riding in the car and on the way home from the shelter, put his paws up on the dashboard just as he had done 10 years before.

Where Ted has been and who took care of the cat for a decade and then lost him again is still a mystery.

Ted will have a slightly larger household to adjust to: In the 10 years, his owner Chris has married, has two children and other pets, including another cat.

Microchips, small scannable plastic chips inserted under the skin of a pet and encoded with an identification number, cost between $25-40 and can be obtained at any veterinarian’s office. If the pet is lost, shelters and many vet offices can scan the animal with a special tool, get the ID number, and call a registry for the owner’s information. That’s why you should keep your pet’s microchip information in a file with your most important household records, so you can remember to update that registry if you move or rehome the animal.

Even indoor pets, like Ted, can escape. A microchip is especially useful in those circumstances, although a collar and visible ID tag are also recommended for any animal, so that a person who finds the pet can quickly and easily return it.

And if you find an animal, even if you would like to keep it, please remember to take it to a shelter or vet office to be scanned. Nationwide only about 3 percent of stray cats make it back to their original owner. Thanks to a microchip, Ted is one of those pets – better late than never.

COLD WEATHER IS COMING: If your pet spends any time outdoors during the winter, now is the time to check its environment. If you have an outdoor shelter, start looking for leaks or cracks where cold air can come through. Caulk or seal those cracks while the weather is still pleasant.

This might be the year to bring your animals indoors for the winter. Don’t wait too long, as it takes some time for an animal to adjust to varying temperatures. If you move your pets indoors while the indoor-outdoor temperatures are similar, there won’t be a health risk as your pet moves from one extreme to the other.

Got a badly behaved pet? Make sure it is spayed or neutered, as doing so can eliminate most problem behaviors like marking territory with urine and digging. And you still have time to take an obedience class or begin working on reinforcing positive behavior with a pet that could be indoors.

MEET YOUR MATCH: Are you Lonely in Lebanon? Alone in Albany? Poochless in Corvallis? October is Adopt a Shelter Dog Month. The national campaign, sponsored by the ASPCA, uses the theme “Meet your Match … Adopt a Shelter Dog!” and local shelters are prepared to help you do just that.

About 25 percent of the dogs in area shelters are purebred, many are loving family pets abandoned because of a move or an owner health problem, and all are evaluated for temperment prior to being made available for adoption. Shelter staff at SafeHaven Humane Society in Albany and Heartland Humane Society in Corvallis can help you decide on a pet that is right for you and your family, whether you’re living on your own or have 10 kids. Both older and young dogs are available.

If your new pet has not been spayed or neutered by the shelter where you adopt, be sure to do so in the time period recommended by the shelter staff. An immediate vet visit is also a good idea, and many shelters offer temporary pet insurance that can cover any ailments found at the initial exam. Be sure to ask when you adopt.

Finally, an obedience class is always a good idea. Some dogs are in shelters because they did not receive the training needed to be ideal family members, and that situation is easily remedied with a simple class. It will help you and your new pet bond as you learn together.