Humane society officials are reminding the public about the importance of microchipping their pets after a missing cat was reunited with its owner after almost 10 years.
Cuddly was three years old when he went missing nearly a decade ago. The feline was found alone in a Woolwich Township field last week and was brought into the Kitchener-Waterloo Stratford-Perth Humane Society.
Officials said they detected a microchip and tried to contact the owner, but the main contact numbers that were registered weren’t valid.
“Luckily we were able to contact the owner through the emergency contact information,” a spokesperson for the humane society said in an email.
The cat’s owner, Julie Jackson-Sinclair, then got in touch with the microchip company before coming to get Cuddly and made a vet appointment.
“We actually thought that it was our current cat that we have, and I called my daughter to see...did we ever have a cat that was microchipped? That was the starting point. They sent me some photos online and I went oh yup...that's cuddly!” said Jackson-Sinclair.
His owners say he went missing off their farm in Breslau. A few years ago the moved to Elmira, assuming he was gone forever.
That is until about a week ago when he was found in a field in Woolwich Township and taken into the humane society in Kitchener.
“Emotional for sure. I didn't know what to expect honestly but as soon as they brought him out it was instant tears,” said Brooke Schaefer, Jackson-Sinclair’s daughter.
Cuddly the cat went missing when Schaefer was nine. After what calls an already been a challenging winter and a recent birthday spent in lockdown, getting their cat back has meant the world to her and her family.
“Long, exhausting, boring winter. It means something. It was a huge miracle for sure,” said Schaefer.
“My daughter who just turned 19 this week, to have her reunite after 10 years with her cat...pretty amazing,” said Jackson-Sinclair.
The medical notes said that the cat had a large mass in its abdomen, abrasions on its face, sores on its paws, a likely upper respiratory infection, suspected ear mites and minor dental concerns.
Despite his health issues, an email from the spokersperson contained a photo with the file name "Cat was purring."
Senior Animal Care Manager Amanda Hawkins said that last year there were 1,271 strays brought into the humane society, but only 281 were reclaimed by their owners.Officials said that it's likely that many more pets would have been reunited with their families if more of them had microchips.
Microchipping can be done at the humane society for $30. During the provincial COVID-19 lockdown, pet owners are asked to call in to make an appointment.
“Having your pet microchipped is really the absolute best way to get them back to you as quickly as you can. It’s a very quick, relatively painless procedure, said Dr. Laurel Gale, the Veterinary Director with the Humane Society of Kitchener Waterloo & Stratford Perth.
A new year, a fresh start and maybe even a new name.
“We're going to name him Dallas, after the Dallas Cowboys. So that my husband hopefully start to accept another animal into our family,” said Jackson-Sinclair.