It’s National Pet ID Week. And, I know what many people think – I have an indoor cat, my dog never leaves the yard or we always have our pet on a leash when we leave the house. A pet ID is a waste of time. So, I have a story for you that just happened to break on National Pet ID Week.
A familiar kitty face was on my Facebook page earlier today – Turtle the cat. She had come in through one of my friend’s rescues. I had been watching her story since she first came into Chicago Animal Care and Control, went to rescue, battled back from being sick and was adopted by her foster family. Yesterday, Turtle slipped out and now the family is on the look out for their cat.
Cats and dogs can so easily slip out an open door or a loose gate. It takes just a second and they’re gone. According to the ASPCA, each year an estimated 5 to 7 million dogs and cats arrive at shelters (about half as strays). Approximately 15 to 20 percent of dogs and 2 percent of cats are reunited with their family…many of the rest don’t have a happy ending.
Turtle’s story illustrates why it is so important to make sure your pet has some sort of identification. Since Turtle came in through rescue she has a microchip, which will be key in getting her back to her family when found. Since it is National Pet ID Week. Here are some steps you can take to get your pet up-to-date –
Microchip – Make sure your pet has a microchip and have your vet scan to make sure it’s there. Register your information through the microchip company and make sure they have updated cell, phone and other contact information. If you’re pet isn’t chipped, have this done at your vet or check with your local rescue.
Update their identification – Key information like your pet’s name, your cell number and medical conditions should be included on your pet’s ID tags. If they are wearing their rabies or local identification tags, it’s another way for people to find you if your pet gets lost.
Get a good photograph of your pet – Make sure you have a good photo to post on social media sites and for lost pet posters. They are vital in people helping to identify lost pets.
Know who to call – Create a list in advance of your local animal controls, rescues, shelters and nearby veterinary offices to alert them if your pet is lost.
Since it is National Pet ID week, it’s a great time to get all of this in order. If you take those steps before your pet is lost, it’s much easier to do the following when your pet does get away.
Publicize – Make lost pet posters and post in your neighborhood. The poster should have a clear picture of your pet, your number and approximate location. It needs to be easy to read, so don’t put too much information up. Reach out to as many people as possible to be on the lookout – friends, relatives, animal control, etc
Get Social – Social media has helped thousands of pets and families get reunited. Post a clear photo with your contact information and urge your friends to cross-post. Also use sites like Lost Dogs Illinois, Lost Cats of Illinois and Lost Dog affiliates in several other states. These popular sites have a great track record for connecting families and lost pets. There are also apps like Lost Pets U.S.A. and PetSpotter.
It’s also a good idea if your pet is on the loose, to put out food bowls around your front and back door. Also put out clothes with the scent of your family and check close by – under bushes, around dumpsters or other areas where he or she could be hiding.
As of Tuesday night, Turtle still had not returned home. She has a pink collar and microchip and her family is very worried. She is missing from Peerless Estates, Anderson and Peerless in Plainfield. She is wearing pink collar.
If you'd like to learn more about the dangers of leaving your pet tied up unattended, read this post.
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