ECLECTIC RANT: A Cat Story with a Happy Ending

By Ralph E. Stone
Thursday March 20, 2014 - 05:59:00 PM

First a little background before telling this nice story about a lost cat. We have two three-year old feral indoor cats, one a male named Noche -- because he's black -- and Amber a small tortortoiseshell female. Both are now socialized. Both have been neutered. When cats are neutered, the tip of their right ear is clipped.

About three years ago, a mother and five siblings showed up in our backyard. We provided some kibble and water. They left, but returned shortly. Out of the six, three -- one grey and two blacks -- stayed and took up residence on our deck and backyard. My wife named them Azuli, Blackie, and Solo. We have cat houses for them and provide food and water daily. All three have been neutered. The remaining cats in the litter are fed by a neighbor. Why three stayed and three left is a mystery. 

Now the story begins. About a week ago, my wife and I noticed a small grey and white tuxedo cat near our back deck. Let's call her Gubi. Gubi ducked underneath the deck and had probably been living there for awhile. We put out some food and water nearby and she gobbled it up. Eventually, Gubi ventured forth onto our deck attached to the house and tried to eat the feral cats' food. Azuli, Blacky, and Solo were wary of this interloper, although they didn't attack her. And you've to remember that Azuli, Solo, and Blackie have become quite territorial. The deck and backyard are theirs and stranger cats are not welcome. We were somewhat apprehensive that if Gubi stayed in our backyard, Azuli, Blackie, and Solo might leave.

We assumed the new cat was feral too. However, when we approached her she immediately rubbed up against our legs and just let us pet her. We even picked her up without any fuss. Gubi turned out to be a sweet cat starving for attention. Our three ferals didn't like the attention Gubi was getting.

We tried to get her into the house, but on seeing Noche and Amber, Gubi let out a screech and Noche and Amber fled. This reaction indicated that a third cat would not be welcome by Noche and Amber.

On the off chance that Gubi had been microchipped, we took her to the Balboa Pet Hospital, who have a microchip scanner and lo and behold, Gubi is microchipped. The vet phoned the national registry, telling them that Gubi had been found and called Cruella and gave her our telephone number. 

Microchipping, by the way, is done by using a needle to insert a little chip under the animal’s skin, usually between the shoulder blades. That chip has a unique number on it that can be picked up and read by a scanner. Up to 8 million animals end up in shelters every year. Unfortunately, only 15-20 percent of dogs and less than 2 percent of cats are ever reclaimed by their owners. One of the ways to increase the chances of finding your lost pet is having it microchipped. If a cat is found and is microchipped, a scanner will show a number. By calling the national registry and giving the number, the owner's contact information is disclosed.

The owner -- let's call her Cruella -- did call. We were quite upset to learn that Cruella had tired of taking care of Gubi and put her out to fend for herself even though there are a number of more humane alternatives for unwanted cats and dogs. By the time we noticed Gubi in our backyard, she had been on her own for about five weeks.

Luckily, Mike, an acquaintance of Cruella, had told her that he would take Gubi, but was disappointed to learn that Gubi was gone. He tried in vain to find her. The good news is that once learning that we had found Gubi, Cruella notified Mike who then contacted us. We united Gubi with Mike, who turned out to be a friendly bachelor in his 60s..

The moral is do not just throw an unwanted cat or dog out to fend for themselves. There are shelters for unwanted animals in most cities. And it is advisable to have your cat and dog microchipped. And finally, your pets should be spayed/neutered.

Alls well that ends well.