Lost and Alone in Spruce Grove
Finding homes in Spruce Grove, Stony Plain, Parkland County and the Edmonton region of Alberta is what I do for a living. I think of myself as pretty good at it, but I learned a few new things about the process recently. The being in need of a home was not a person, but a cat who decided my home was a good place to live!
I like cats, and dogs too, but because both my wife and daughter have severe allergies, we’ve never been able to keep a pet. This sweet little cat arrived at our door and showed no signs of leaving, especially after we fed her. It seemed as though we’d have to keep her, even though my wife Paulette was covered with hives. What to do?
After the cat had been hanging around our house for a few days, becoming more skittish and scruffy-looking, I asked my cat-loving assistant if she wanted to adopt another cat. Regrettably, no, but she had a few suggestions. The cat has to belong to someone in your neighborhood, she said, so why not put a sign on the mailbox at the end of the street? Ring doorbells up and down the street and ask if anyone’s lost a cat. Put an ad in the local paper. Contact local vets or the local pet store to see if anyone’s reported a missing cat. Contact Parkland County Animal Control to report finding a cat. When I told her Paulette and our daughter Devan were on their way to deliver the cat to the Edmonton Humane Society, she was horrified. I was under the impression that the Humane Society tries to find new homes for cats. That’s true, she said, but many don’t find homes and are euthanized. I immediately phoned Paulette to get her to change her plans.
If the old legend of cats having nine lives is true, then this cat had at least one of her lives saved that day! Paulette had decided to take the cat to one of the veterinarians in town to see if they could help. The vet checked the cat and discovered that it had been tattooed. What’s more, the vet was able to match the tattoo information with the name and address of the cat’s owner. It turned out that the owner of the cat had recently moved to our neighborhood. The cat had not yet gotten used to its new surroundings. Lots of happiness all around when the cat was reunited with her family.
So, what did I learn from this experience?
- If you are a pet owner, don’t let your pet outside without supervision. This is especially true if you are new to your neighborhood. Cats in particular may act independent but they still need to be looked after. They should not be allowed to run free because there are many dangers to pets on their own: vehicles, toxic substances, other animals, people who don’t like animals.
- Get your pets tattooed or microchipped. If your pet should become separated from you, this increases the likelihood of it being returned to you. Because dogs are licensed, they usually wear collars, often with contact information, but many cats don’t so some other identification method is very important. Check out PetWatch’s website. You can also read the Wikipedia article about microchip implanting.
- The Edmonton Humane Society does incredible work in rescuing lost, abandoned or homeless animals but sometimes they have a hard time keeping up with the demand. An article in the May 11, 2011 Edmonton Journal reported that there’d been a 25% increase in admissions to the Humane Society during spring 2011 compared with 2010. Between 40 and 50 animals, ¾ of them cats, arrive daily at the shelter, with homes being found for 20 to 25 animals each day. Last September, the shelter was caring for about 500 cats, and that is a situation that strains all the resources. (If you are looking to adopt a pet, the Edmonton Humane Society is a good place to start. Visit their online adoption centre for cats and dogs. Check out also the Parkland County Animal Shelter’s Gallery of Found & Adoptable Pets.)
- If you find a lost animal, it probably has not strayed far from its home. Do what you can to make the animal comfortable and then be prepared to knock on doors in your neighborhood. Taking it to a shelter really should be a last resort.