Lindsey Hobbs’ cat, Bella, went outside Hobbs’ home in Heritage Park, which wasn’t unusual. Bella, she said, has always been a cat that likes to spend a bit of time outdoors.
But then Bella didn’t come back.
“She never came home that night, which is uncommon,” Hobbs said. “We went looking and couldn’t find her. We thought she’d been hit by a car or had run off on her own.”
Two weeks later, however, Hobbs family got a call from the Daviess County Animal Shelter. A woman had brought in a cat and the microchip revealed the cat to be Bella.
Strangely, Bella was found across the river, in Spencer County.
“We never dreamed she’d been picked up and taken across the river,” Hobbs said.
The cat was returned because the family had a microchip with Hobbs’ name and phone number implanted when they adopted the cat. Ashley Thompson, director of Daviess County Animal Control, said people being reunited with lost pets thanks to microchips is not uncommon.
“We’ve seen it a lot more in the last few years,” Thompson said.
The shelter has helped people find lost cats and dogs with microchips, Thompson said.
“It happens all the time,” she said. “I could go on and on about cats being reunited” with owners because of microchips.
Bella was found at a decaying fireworks building near the foot of the Glover H. Cary Bridge by a woman who has been feeding a feral cat colony there, Thompson said.
“She saw one and had it brought over (to the animal shelter) and had it scanned, because it was not one of her normal cats,” Thompson said. “The owners had been looking for it.”
Hobbs said why someone took Bella to Spencer County and left her there is a mystery, but Bella was in good health.
“They think somebody probably picked her up,” Hobbs said. “Maybe they wanted a Christmas present. “I’m just thankful” Bella is home, she said.
Veterinarians can insert a microchip into a pet, and the animal shelter and “all veterinarian’s offices in Daviess County” have microchip scanners, Thompson said. Other businesses around town, such as Tractor Supply, periodically hold microchip clinics, she said.
It was a veterinarian who helped reunite Stacey Higdon’s family with their cat, Gibson, about two weeks ago. Gibson had been missing for more than a year.
“I’ve always microchipped my animals,’ Higdon said. “Fortunately, I haven’t had to use my microchipping too often, because our pets are normally at home.”
The family searched for Gibson without success. So it was a surprise when a local veterinarian called and told the family they had Gibson at their office.
Higdon said a veterinarian discovered Gibson had a microchip tattoo when someone brought the cat in to be spayed. The cat had already been spayed, which aroused the veterinarian’s concerns, so the office scanned the microchip and discovered Gibson belonged to Higdon.
The person who had the cat for more than a year was unhappy to learn it belonged to someone else. Thompson said people who find animals shouldn’t automatically assume they are strays and keep them.
If the person who found Gibson had the cat scanned, “it would have eliminated a lot of heartache,” Thompson said. If someone finds a stray animal, “that should be the first thing they do, get it scanned for a chip.”
Advertising a lost pet on Facebook or other social media should come after a person has had the animal scanned, Thompson said.
“If people would do that first, it would eliminate a lot of work on their part,” Thompson said.
Higdon said Gibson “is super happy to be back with us, and my son is super happy” to have the cat home. She said it gives her hope “that these chips do their job.”
“Animals for a lot of people are family members,” Higdon said.