This morning I got up early to go to my nephew's school and judge a forensics tournament and this afternoon I had election worker training, but I figured I could squeeze in a trip to the vet for our mystery kitty in between.
After rating seven extemporaneous presentations about various topics around the state of our union, I headed home and called the vet's office to make sure I could bring the kitty in for a quick microchip scan without an appointment.
They agreed that would be fine, so I cleaned out a cat carrier and loaded up our kitty friend, who was not a fan of being confined again or riding in the car.
After a thorough scan, it was clear that this cat has no chip. I found that very disappointing because it would have made things SO much easier. A 2012 survey on lost pets (which appears to be the first and only survey of its kind) found that 25% of lost cats never make it back home, compared to 7% of lost dogs. That's even more reason to microchip your cats, in case anyone's on the fence about it.
So on to Plan B: post the cat on various lost pet forums online. As I was writing out the posts, I realized I wasn't 100% sure that the cat we'd been referring to as "she" was actually female. After some buffer time to let the kitty get over the car ride and vet visit ordeal, I went back downstairs for a quick check.
Turns out, we're dealing with a neutered male. I think he's just barely past kitten age - maybe 6 months or so. He has good-sized feet, so his current smallness is probably a combination of youth and recent food scarcity.
So far there have been lots of shares of the posts, but no nibbles re: ownership. Several people have suggested that I make some flyers to post around the apartment complexes nearby, which I will try to do tomorrow.
In the meantime, he's safe and warm in our basement. I brought down a few toys and I noticed that he's tucked one of the catnip ones into the cat bed he's claimed for himself. He's finally eaten his fill to the point where he isn't snarfing down every morsel as soon as it's presented. I refilled his water, so he's fine to hang out as long as necessary to find his people.
If that doesn't happen after a reasonable time, I have resources to help him find a new home. But I hope we can get him back where he belongs, because he's so sweet and friendly that I'm sure someone misses him.