#FindNight - a happy story of a lost cat coming home
“Has she been run over?” That's the worst fear that goes through your mind when your cat is lost.
It's what I was starting to think after 11 days of my own cat being missing. My 4 year old black cat, Night, had disappeared. 3 years earlier, we had lost her mother, so when Night was born the first thing we did after having her neutered and vaccinated, was to get her microchipped.
Microchipping is a quick painless procedure that the vet carries out on his examination table in mere seconds. It implants a tiny device, smaller than a grain of rice, just under the skin of your pet cat. If a stranger were to find Night, and bring her to his vet, then the vet can use an RFID scanner to identify Night in an instant, so we could be reunited. After the heartbreak of losing Night's mother three years previously, we wanted to give Night every chance of safety.
So when Night went missing, we followed the advice on the Cats Protection Cambridge website:
- Contact all the local vets, rescue centres and if your cat is microchipped call the microchip company.
- Make up a leaflet about your cat to post in your neighbourhood.
- Check our Found Cat list at http://cambridge.cats.org.uk/cambridge/lost-and-found
- Keep calling him, even if he doesn't answer to his name he will recognise your voice, gradually increase your area of search.
- Above all, never give up. We hear of cats turning up after amazing lengths of time. When he returns, if he's been missing for several days,it is a good idea to keep him in for a few days until he re-establishes himself.
I began a twitter campaign using the hashtag #FindNight and asked local friends and contacts to retweet her information. If I couldn't find Night, then maybe my friends could help. Night became a celebrity in my street, with neighbours looking in their sheds and garages, and keeping their eyes open in the nearby streets. Leaflet after leaflet landed through their letterboxes, and I posted flyers in increasingly distant areas.
My deepest worry was that she had been injured or trapped, however I knew that if she was found by a stranger then a vet could identify her, even if her nametag and collar had fallen off.
Cats Protection advice “never give up” was the hardest to follow. My spirits were downcast. I heard the stories about cats reunited with their owners after years apart. Yet for cat lovers, every minute of separation is a minute of worry and feeling of uselessness.
Our story ends happily, on day 11. A phone call from Essex, and a story of adventure. My cat Night had got into the back of a contractor's van and travelled 50 miles away for a week. I was lucky that he was able to identify her and find my phone number. She was back home with her family that evening, and her brother and litter-mate Ninja was pleased to see her.
I thanked everyone on Twitter and Facebook for helping me #FindNight including Cats Protection Cambridge who helped a lot.
Alyzande Renard, August 2013