My friend Elspeth recently lost her cat. The kitty is home safely now, but in the process of looking for her my friend learned a thing or two about how she could have been a better organized pet owner.
After her experience, Elspeth put together a list of emergency information and resources you should have on file if you have a pet:
- Have your pet microchipped and have on file the name of the company, the microchip number, and contact information for the company.
- Know the number on your pet’s rabies tag.
- Have documentation on all of your pet’s vaccinations and surgeries. Shelters and vets that take in lost pets will conduct blood tests to identify strays from non-strays. Knowing which vaccines are in your pet’s blood and locations of scars can help in identifying your pet.
- Take pictures of your pet at many different angles and of all unique pattern markings. Have these images in digital format. Many states and shelters will post pictures of lost pets online and you’ll want the pictures to print fliers.
- Most agencies will only allow you to report a pet that has been missing for more than 24 hours. Find out which agencies take these notices (usually shelters and animal control) and have their contact information in your address book.
- Even if your pet lives primarily indoors, you still need to have a collar on your pet with identification. Break away collars are best for constant wear so that your pet doesn’t accidentally choke himself/herself.
- Keep contact information for how to post messages to your neighborhood e-mail listserv and Craigslist community.
Ultimately, it was a couple who found the cat and also saw one of Elspeth’s posters on a bus stop in the neighborhood. We hope that you never lose one of your pets, but if you do, you’ll be prepared by having the above information at your fingertips.