The cat returned, showing up 150km from where it was lost

Three-year-old tabby Hobbes and his owners had just arrived at Kennedy Lake in June when a dog scared him and he ran away. On Sunday, they were reunited after he arrived in Nanaimo.

A cat who ran away from its Victoria owners during a camping trip to the island in June has just found its way home, thanks to a microchip the size of a grain of rice and BC SPCA.

Three-year-old tabby Hobbes and his family had just arrived at their campsite at Kennedy Lake, north of Ucluelet, when a dog spooked him and he ran into the bush.

His distraught family spent the next six days looking for him, to no avail.

On Saturday, they received a phone call from the Nanaimo branch of the BC SPCA – a call they thought they would never get. Hobbes had been found in this city, more than 150 kilometers from the place where he had disappeared.

“They were thrilled to hear the news,” said Wendy Kotorynski, Senior Manager of the BC SPCA Nanaimo Branch. “They had almost lost hope and were even preparing to donate their cat items because it had been so long.”

She said Hobbes was found by a local resident meowing in her driveway last Thursday. At first she thought it was one of her cats, but as the cat got closer she saw how scruffy it looked. He followed her into the house, wolfed down some food, curled up, and fell asleep.

He left the next morning, but returned the same evening.

Once the resident determined that her visitor did not belong to one of her neighbors, she brought him to the Nanaimo branch of the BC SPCA.

“Her cats were microchipped, so she hoped that would be the case with the stray cat,” Kotorynski said. “Staff scanned and we were able to call the owners, who picked him up on Sunday.”

In an increasingly popular alternative to an ID number tattooed on an animal’s ear, a microchip with a 9, 10 or 15 digit number is inserted under the skin – usually between the animal’s shoulder blades .

When a stray animal is turned over to an animal shelter or taken to a participating veterinarian, staff can scan for the presence of a microchip, which typically includes the animal’s identification and owner’s contact information.

It is not a tracking device, however, there is no way to find out how Hobbes got from Lake Kennedy to Nanaimo or what adventures he had along the way.

He was the second lost cat to come to Nanaimo this year, Kotorynski said. In July, a family in Victoria found their cat, Miri, two months after she failed to return home one night. In this case, she also had a microchip with her owner’s information.

Kotorynski has no idea why lost cats keep showing up in the central island community. “If only pets could talk,” she said.

Registration in the BC Pet Registry, Canada’s first centralized pet identification database created by the BC SPCA in 2015, costs $12 per year or $45 for life.

Those traveling out of province and into the United States are also covered, as microchips are traceable through the American Animal Hospital Association’s International Microchip Tracing Service.

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