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Ontario SPCA highlights importance of up-to-date microchip information

By Patricia Lebeouf

Posted on Thursday August 6, 2020


Stray cat in Petawawa reunited with owner; ongoing virtual fundrasier “Sweat for Pets” helping to raise funds for services like microchip clinics.

When an adorable grey and white long-haired cat showed up to the Ontario Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (Ontario SCPA) Renfrew County Animal Centre’s doorsteps, Heather Jobe was worried.

The Community Development Coordinator had noticed that “Stefan” was a well-groomed cat and clearly not a stray. When his microchip was scanned, however, the details led to a dead end.

But reuniting lost pets with their owners is one of the many things she and the team at the organization do. So after posting requisite “found cat” pictures on their Facebook page, they went about sleuthing using social media and their connections to locate his pet parent.

“At this point, we had no contact information, and nobody was really responding to the posts,” said Jobe. “So what do we do now?”

She noticed that the address was on the North Side of Garrison Petawawa’s housing area and decided to get in touch with the Canadian Forces Housing Agency (CFHA) to see if they were willing to help. While it did require a bit of legwork before they were able to receive the information, in the end it was a successful lead. The pet parent was still at the same house, just with different contact information.

They made the connection and reunited Stefan with his relieved owner.

“He was super happy to have him back,” said Jobe, “that was for sure.”

Stefan had been found on Doran Road, quite a distance from the North Side. According to the BBC’s Secret Life of the Cat, most cats who roam only travel 40 to 200 metres from home. 

“Who knows how he got from point A to point B,” said Jobe. “Whether he was in a vehicle or whether he just went on a little tour.”

Not all stories of lost cats have such a happy ending.

Though the Ontario SPCA staff and volunteers go out of their way to reunite lost pets and their owners, sometimes their efforts fail. Having a microchip with current, up-to-date information is one of the only ways to guarantee a safe return.

“We were lucky in this situation that we had a name of a pet parent, so we just had to do a bit more sleuth work, but it is possible that he would have never made it home,” said Jobe.

Identification such as collars and tags are a great start. However particularly rambunctious pets can manage to remove them, leaving them without ID. So a microchip with current information is critical.

“They don’t tend to be that expensive,” said Jobe. “It depends on the animal hospital that implants them, but we also have microchip clinics.”

At the moment, the animal centre cannot provide these clinics. They will be held as soon as the government regulations have deemed it safe to do so.

“It is a quick 10 minute visit and will make a huge difference,” said Jobe.

The Ontario SPCA has been critical in helping animals in the community. They do rely on donations to provide for all the animals in their centre. As such, they are holding a socially-distant fundraiser.

Sweat for Pets is their new virtual fundraising campaign. It starts on June 22 and is aimed at getting people active and have fun with weekly challenges. The OSPCA will kick off ten challenges over ten weeks to raise funds to care for animals in need.

“Help us move to make a difference,” said Jobe.

For more information on this fundraiser, please visit ontariospca.ca/who-we-are/events/sweat-for-pets-a-virtual-fundraiser.