Eight lives left

Dr. Jody Kaufman

Buttons came in for her yearly exam last November. She was a healthy and happy house cat who never went out, weighing 9.7 pounds. She was given a clean bill of health and went home.

Then she went missing one day in December. Her people combed the neighborhood, put up flyers, posted messages on Facebook and Craigslist, all to no avail.

Then six and a half weeks later, a call came. A volunteer for Safer, a feline rescue organization, had trapped a stray and brought it to a local veterinarian. She was weak, feverish, and emaciated (weighing 4.5 pounds). They scanned to see if she had a microchip and....she was reunited with her owners!

The most plausible story is that she had sneaked out through a loose window in the sunroom. A house in the neighborhood that had been foreclosed for over a year was having some work done, and then was closed up again. Workmen returned six weeks later. While the workers didn't see her, a “stray” appeared in the area.

She's been home for a week and has already regained a half pound. Except for being anemic, thin, and having frostbite on the tips of her ears, she's in fine shape, all things considered. She will probably lose the very tips, but it will only make her cuter, if that's possible.

It can be difficult to convince people whose cats are strictly house cats that microchips are necessary. It's always the unexpected: a house fire, burglary, an environmental disaster, or a broken screen that results in a lost pet. I have no doubt that the chip helped save Buttons's life. She was so weak and sickly that most shelters would have simply euthanized her. But instead she's home and on the road to recovery.