Microchips: Keeping Games Of Hide-And-Seek With Cats From Ending In Misery Since 2009
Even though I grew up in a household that served as home to a bunch of rabbits, parakeets, cats and countless dogs over the years, I’ve always remained partial to the cool, sinuous and regal presence of felines.
Yes, the clumsy antics, high-pitched yelps, and the soulful, irresistibly huge and dewy eyes of a dog can melt anyone into a puddle in seconds, but cute and cuddly has never really been my cup of tea. If anything, an aloof and particularly haughty cat will amuse me more than an adorable ball of barking fur ever can.
Just a pair of introverts
Perhaps my tendency to favor cats over dogs stems from certain aspects of my own personality. Leaning over to the introverted end of the human behavioral spectrum, I find that engaging in high-energy socialization with other beings can easily wear me out — a lazy morning spent quietly losing myself in the pages of a book, staying toasty warm under a blanket on a corner of the sofa, with a cup of hot tea on the table next to me, is all it takes for me to say that the moment is extraordinarily blissful.
A cat would be the most likely companion in such a scenario — he’d be happy to curl up next to my feet and doze off after purring and kneading my leg for a while. Most dogs would be more interested in playing and going outside, where there are other dogs and (eep) more people. And that would be just a little more than what I could normally handle.
An unforgettable scare
Not all moments and memories I have with cats are the picture of peace and contentment, though. In fact, one incident from childhood remains quite raw and real today, and has spurred me to always act in the best interest of my pet cats at all times — so really, it was an eye-opening experience for my (hopefully, formerly) naive self.
Awareness about the importance of spaying and neutering cats was not as prevalent then as it is now, and one major result of that in our household then was the emergence of 10 kittens at around the same time — especially since we had more than one tabby. All I thought about then was how glorious it was to be constantly surrounded by such graceful meowing creatures, and I took for granted that they would always be with me — and made less and less effort to find other homes for the kittens so that each one could be well cared for.
One afternoon, however, my mom decided to drive a point home. While I was playing “hide and seek” with the kittens (with them being “it” and me hiding for them to find — silly, I know), only to emerge from my hiding place to find all of them gone. Mom had taken them out to find new homes for them. Not knowing where they’d gone, I waited in agony for my mom to come home.
And come home she did, much later that night, with only one kitten left.
Being the responsible “mommy cat”
Since the Great Kitten Heist, I’ve taken steps to place great importance on a cat’s well-being more than its ability to provide companionship and affection for its humans. Pets, after all, should be part of the family, so they needn’t be treated as mere sources of amusement.
The health of Sebastian, my remaining kitten, thus became top priority. Regular visits to a vet became the order of the day, to ensure that his vaccinations were up to date, he was dewormed, his diet was kept appropriate to his age, and that he was desexed when he came of age (to maintain his health and prevent the development of certain conditions).
And to prevent another incident involving missing cats and a bawling, sputtering human (me), I took a new kitten we welcomed into our home years later to get a microchip. It’s a permanent form of ID, about as big as a grain of rice, which can be injected under the cat’s skin like a vaccination. The chip contains an identification number linked to my contact details on a national registry.
Australia’s Animal Management Act (July 1, 2009) has made it compulsory to microchip all kittens born after April 8, 2009, before they turn 12 weeks old. Vets in Albany Creek like McDowall Veterinary Practice offer this service, and it’s something all responsible cat owners brimming with love and compassion for their pet must observe. My cat is part of my family, and anything that can keep him safe, healthy and protected is a priority.
Playing hide and seek, though? Not so much.