When I woke up on Wednesday morning, my husband told me that he and another night owl friend had been eating at our local 24-hour Steak and Shake the night before and encountered a friendly stray cat. It had come up to them while they were chatting in the parking lot and made itself at home on the hoods of their cars. It was so sweet and nice that they asked around at the restaurant and nearby motel and learned that it had been hanging around for quite a while, making friends and presumably scoring food from anyone willing to offer some.
"Did I do the right thing?" my husband asked me, worrying that he had stolen someone's cat.
The fact that it had been cruising fast food dumpsters at 3:00 a.m. was enough to convince us both that it was in need of some help.
I went down and met the cat and decided that his neutered status and the skinny physique under all that fur suggested that he probably belonged to someone, but had been lost for a while.
My schedule wouldn't allow for me to get him scanned for a microchip that night, but I made sure to set tonight aside for a trip to my vet for a scan. In the meantime, he chilled out in our basement away from the other cats, gratefully accepting food and water as offered and mostly just staying curled up on the blanket and pillow we provided.
After work today, I stuffed his rather unwilling self into a carrier and my husband and I took him to our vet's office. The scan immediately revealed that he did indeed have a microchip. It was harder to look up the number online than I anticipated, but the vet assistant and I figured out which company it was from and I called them.
They discovered right away that he had been reported missing on the first of the month and put me on hold to try to contact the owners. They couldn't reach anyone and left a couple of messages, but because the owners had kept their registration current, the company was able to give me the owner's name, phone numbers and home address.
Since we were driving around with the cat in a carrier anyway, it seemed reasonable to stop by their house, which was within about a mile of where my husband had found the cat.
The GPS led us to their door and we got out and knocked. I asked the woman who answered, "Do you have a lost cat?"
She peered into the carrier and exclaimed, "Max!" Her daughter came out and retrieved him from the carrier, taking him inside to resume the food and snuggles that his disappearance had interrupted.
It turned out that Max (short for Maximus Prime) had actually been missing for several months, but they couldn't find his microchip paperwork right away to make the report to the company. Somehow he had crossed several very busy streets and couldn't find his way back on his own.
Luckily Max's natural charisma got the attention of a couple of cat lovers out for a late night meal and his microchip ensured that he made it back to his family.
A couple things to note about microchips:
- You have to make sure you register them and keep your information updated.
- Some brands (including the kind Max had) charge a renewal fee to remain activated. Obviously, it's worth it.
Hooray for Max and his family! I'm very glad to have been a part of their happy reunion.