ID tag could reunite dead cat with owner

October 9, 2009 at 4:46 pm Leave a comment

bigstockphoto_Zorro_1603141“I just saw something on the road that looked bad. We’d better turn around,” said my friend Jennifer. She was driving us home from our Italian class. I hadn’t noticed whatever it was because I wasn’t staring at the road, and it was dark.

She stopped the car in the center of the lane with her headlights on what we were afraid was an animal, and put on her hazard lights. I hopped out to discover it was an orange cat.

Last summer one of Jennifer’s beloved cats, Niblet, was found dead on a street.

There was a lot of blood on the pavement. I nudged him to see if there was a reaction; he was dead but still warm on a cold fall night. I panicked, wondering how I could possibly get this bloody cat out of the middle of the road where he would be run over repeatedly. I went back to the car, which now had a few cars behind it, to see if there was anything I could use to move the cat without actually touching him because that idea made me feel ill. While I was dithering, Jennifer was explaining to the cars behind us that there was a dead animal in the road. A minute later, with no other options and a growing line of traffic behind us, I gently took his back legs and pulled him to the side of the road.

He had no collar, no tags.

We didn’t know what to do. If we called the city to remove him, the owner would never know what happened to him. The shelter doesn’t pick up dead animals. I still don’t know if that was the right decision, but we left him there in the hopes his owner would find him. For me, a pet never showing up again is far worse than not knowing what happened.

I kept thinking about a day over a decade ago when I was driving in a lane adjacent to a grassy center island in which there was a completely still cat, and a woman was running towards him. I will never forget the look on her face. I kept thinking about that woman and the warm cat I pulled to the side of the road, and I trembled. Jennifer and I hugged each other and tried not to cry.

When Jennifer’s cat Niblet was found last summer, he was found by a neighbor who knew Niblet. I don’t remember if he had a collar and tags on. But this cat we found last night had no identification tag. He might have been microchipped, but that wouldn’t have helped in this situation.

Cats lose collars all too easily –  most are meant to break away if pulled too tight to prevent choking. That means that sometimes a collar is lost and not replaced immediately. It’s one of those things we mean to do that can just get lost in the shuffle of a busy life. I’ll get the new collar and tag tomorrow. Oops, forgot it, I’ll get it this weekend. Boy, I meant to get that new tag.

From now on, I’m going to have extra collars around the house, and extra ID tags for all of my pets. You just never know when you’re going to benefit from them, or how.…

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